Type keyword(s) to search

Recommended: Reboot on Hulu

A stacked cast and the creator of Modern Family deliver an exceptional new comedy.
  • Then and Now: Reed (Keegan-Michael Key) holds a "vintage" cast photo from Step Right Up, the fictional '90s era sitcom at the heart of Reboot. (Photo: Hulu)
    Subscribe to Primetimer's Recommended newsletter and get our guide to the very best series, movies and specials in your inbox every Friday.
    Reboot Season 1 | Hulu
    Half-hour Comedy (8 Episodes) | TV-MA

    What's Reboot About?

    When a cheesy family sitcom gets an edgy Hulu reboot, the cast has to deal with issues they never worked through the first time around.

    Who's involved?

    The actors playing the actors include:

    • Keegan-Michael Key as Reed, a Yale-trained thespian who's only coming back to his old show because his character has a dark secret now.
    • Judy Greer as Bree, who married a duke and spent the last 15 years as a monarch in a very cold European country. She and Reed used to date, but that's not going to be a thing now. Definitely not.
    • Johnny Knoxville as Clay, an aging bad boy who barely remembers the original series because he was always wasted on the set.
    • Calum Worthy as Zack, who was a kid on the old show and then starred in a string of teen movies with names like Minor Miner and Teenstronaut.
    • Alyah Channelle Scott as Timberly, who gets cast by Hulu execs because she was so popular on the reality series F*ckboi Mountain.

    The actors playing the folks behind the scenes include:

    • Rachel Bloom as Hannah. It was her idea to create the edgy reboot, and since she just made a feminist film that got into festivals, she's obviously ready to be in charge.
    • Paul Reiser as Gordon, who created the original show. He still owns the rights, and he's damn sure going to be in the writers' room now.
    • Krista Marie Yu as Elaine, who got promoted from data analytics to be a Hulu junior executive in charge of comedy.

    Meanwhile, the real-life creator of Reboot is Steven Levitan, who also created Modern Family.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    Reboot is the best-case scenario for a series created by A-list talent. From Levitan to the impossibly stacked cast to the murderer's row of directors that includes Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia) and Beth McCarthy-Miller (30 Rock, SNL), the new series arrives fully formed. We immediately understand the comic tone (cringey, with a chaser of genuine heart), and we instantly grasp the nuanced relationships among characters who have known each other for decades.

    Because the show doesn't need time to figure itself out, we also jump right into stories that balance sharp, one-off gags with tour de force comic plots. In the second episode, for instance, there's a slow-burn bit about popcorn stuffed into a dryer that pays off so well you may want to stand up and applaud. Likewise, there's a season-long storyline about the writers' room, which is filled with a mix of hip young scribes and politically incorrect old-timers. Slowly but surely, they go from distrusting each other to becoming a cracked family, and by the final episodes, viewers will be yearning to hear more of their inane banter.

    That's the secret of this show's success: It might seem like it's going to be a sarcastic battle between Boomers and Gen Z, or a knowing evisceration of our nostalgia-obsessed culture, but it's actually about how different generations can come together to make things, take care of each other, and make each other laugh.

    The fundamental belief in cooperation drives the comedy and makes it surprising. Take Timberly: At her first rehearsal, she's as terrible as you'd expect a reality star to be on a sitcom, but then she stumbles into a method for being brilliant. This not only showcases Alyah Channelle Scott's impressive acting chops, but also makes us laugh while an underdog succeeds. It's a nifty trick to be this heartwarming without getting soppy or sentimental.

    Meanwhile, every performer delivers, from Rachel Bloom serving flustered anxiety to Johnny Knoxville slowly revealing a jerk's softer side. They help make Reboot a series full of people we can love, even when (or maybe because) they behave like lunatics.

    Pairs well with

    • Ugly Betty, another show with a flawless ensemble that was charming from the first second. (Streams on Prime Video.)
    • The Mary Tyler Moore Show, whose workplace rhythms and massive heart clearly inform what's happening here. (Streams on Hulu.)
    • Mo, Netflix's new comedy about a Palestinian refugee living in Texas. It's got a similar knack for long-form jokes that pay off in interesting ways. (Read our review.)

  • Reboot (Season 1)
    Three episodes premiere September 20 on Hulu. New episodes Tuesdays through October 25.
    Created by: Steven Levitan.
    Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer, Johnny Knoxville, Calum Worthy, Alyah Chanelle Scott, Paul Reiser, Rachel Bloom, Krista Marie Yu, Fred Melamed, and Eliza Coupe.
    Directed by: Carrie Brownstein and Beth McCarthy-Miller.
    People are talking about Reboot in our forums. Join the conversation.

    TOPICS: Reboot, Hulu, Alyah Chanelle Scott, Beth McCarthy-Miller, Calum Worthy, Carrie Brownstein, Eliza Coupe, Fred Melamed, Johnny Knoxville, Judy Greer, Keegan-Michael Key, Krista Marie Yu, Paul Reiser, Rachel Bloom, Steven Levitan