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Recommended: The Dropout on Hulu

Medtech flim-flammer Elizabeth Holmes gets the prestige docudrama treatment.
  • Naveen Andrews as Sunny Balwani and Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout. (Photo: Beth Dubber/Hulu)
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    The Dropout | Hulu
    Eight-Episode Limited Series (Docudrama) | TV-MA

    What's The Dropout About?

    Based on the ABC News podcast of the same name, this docudrama chronicles the meteoric rise and crash of Elizabeth Holmes, who took millions from investors and Wall Street by claiming to have developed a breakthrough medical device, which she hadn’t.

    Who's Involved?

    • Amanda Seyfried, an 2021 Oscar nominee for her role in Mank, plays Elizabeth Holmes.
    • Naveen Andrews (Sayim from Lost) plays Sunny Balwani, Holmes's Svengali-like advisor and lover.
    • William H. Macy (Shameless) plays Richard Fuisz, a medical entrepreneur and friend of the Holmes family, who tries to develop a rival product to the one Elizabeth is hawking, landing their companies in litigation.
    • Laurie Metcalf (The Conners) plays Phyllis Gardner, the Stanford professor who was among the early skeptics of Elizabeth Holmes.
    • Stephen Fry plays the chief scientist of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes’s company.
    • Among the many other familiar faces who turn up as guest stars are Kate Burton (Grey's Anatomy), Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why), Alan Ruck (Succession), Sam Waterston (Law & Order) and Michaela Watkins (Casual).
    • Liz Meriwether wrote the show's first and last episodes, and serves as the show's creator and showrunner. Meriwether is best known for creating and showrunning New Girl on Fox.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    It’s not hard to see why Kate McKinnon, who was originally cast as Elizabeth Holmes, left this project. Though there are comedic notes to this production, in the end it’s basically “what if Nightline made a docudrama?” (McKinnon is much better suited to an outsized role like Carole Baskin in Joe v. Carole, also premiering this week.) Seyfried, whose modeling career comes in handy here, plays a villain who is remarkably bland on the surface as she shapes her image and her message to give venture capitalists what they’re looking for. Pushing down her suffering, her secret relationship with Sunny and, above all, the truth about her non-operational device, Holmes managed to string along a lot of folks with her promise that “one tiny drop changes everything.” To some degree The Dropout is just a re-enactment of the public record — re-enactments of Elizabeth’s court deposition do a lot of the series’ expositional heavy lifting — but there is something strangely compelling about watching an actor portraying the purveyor of this audacious corporate fraud.

    Pairs well with

    • The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (HBO Max) is the documentary film version of this story, with top-notch storytelling from documentary king Alex Gibney (who also covered another massive corporate fraud in Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room).
    • Dopesick (Hulu) is another dramatization of a real-life medical scandal, starring Michael Keaton as a kindly rural doctor caught up in the opioid epidemic and Rosario Dawson and Peter Sarsgaard as federal agents out for justice.

  • The Dropout
    First three episodes premiere on Hulu Thursday March 3rd. Subsequent episodes drop weekly through April 7th.
    Created by: Liz Meriwether. Based on the ABC News podcast The Dropout.
    Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Naveen Andrews, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Kate Burton, Stephen Fry, Michel Gill, LisaGay Hamilton, William H. Macy, Elizabeth Marvel, Laurie Metcalf, Dylan Minnette, Alan Ruck, Sam Waterston, and Michaela Watkins.
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    TOPICS: The Dropout, Hulu, Alan Ruck, Amanda Seyfried, Dylan Minnette, Elizabeth Marvel, Kate Burton, Laurie Metcalf, LisaGay Hamilton, Liz Meriwether, Michaela Watkins, Michel Gill, Naveen Andrews, Sam Waterston, Stephen Fry, Utkarsh Ambudkar, William H. Macy