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Recommended: The Kardashians on Hulu

Some smart format updates and a self-aware tone make for engaging Kardashian Kontent.
  • Khloé, Kendall, Kim, Kris, Kylie, and Kourtney return to the small screen in Hulu's The Kardashians. (Photo: ABC)
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    The Kardashians | Hulu
    Hourlong Reality Series (10 Episodes) | TV-14

    What's The Kardashians About?

    The Kardashians invite cameras back into their lives as they celebrate major family milestones, embrace new career challenges, and continue to grapple with the pressures of life in the spotlight.

    Who's involved?

    Less than a year after Keeping Up with the Kardashians wrapped its 20-season run on E!, The Jenners (Kris, Kendall, and Kylie) and the Kardashians (Kim, Kourtney, and Khloé) return to television to kick off a new partnership with Hulu. Much like its predecessor, The Kardashians follows the famous sisters and their Momager through their daily lives, and the new series picks up at a pivotal point for each of them. As Kim works through her separation from Kanye West, Kourtney looks to the future with new boyfriend Travis Barker, while Khloé and Tristan Thompson face yet another infidelity scandal and Kylie announces her second pregnancy with Travis Scott. Each of these storylines — and others, like Kim’s SNL hosting gig and her subsequent relationship with Pete Davidson — play a large role in the first season, and the cast’s candor contributes to the sense that The Kardashians goes beyond tabloid headlines and Instagram posts to give viewers an inside-look at the famous-for-being-famous family.

    Beyond the core cast and their significant others, a host of Kardashian-adjacent personalities pop up over the season. Scott Disick, Kourtney’s ex-boyfriend and the father of her children, makes frequent appearances to voice his displeasure with her new relationship, while Khloé’s best friend Malika Haqq continues to serve as a sounding board and quasi-therapist. (Caitlyn Jenner declined to participate in the series). The first season also boasts a few fun cameos, including an appearance from Amy Schumer, who helps a very anxious Kim rewrite her SNL monologue.

    While the new show feels like a continuation of KUWTK when it comes to subject matter, much has changed behind the scenes. After a decades-long partnership with Ryan Seacrest Productions, the Kardashians brought on Fulwell 73, the company behind The Late Late Show with James Corden and Adele One Night Only, to help with the transition to streaming. Ben Winston, Corden’s executive producer and the director of HBO Max’s Friends: The Reunion, serves as an executive producer.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    If video killed the radio star, then Instagram popped the reality TV balloon. In its later years, KUWTK struggled to present the goings-on within the family without rehashing drama that had already played out on social media months prior. Hulu’s new series faces the same problem — how do you make the events of last fall feel new and exciting? — but thanks to some smart format updates and a more self-aware tone, The Kardashians breathes new life into the overexposed clan.

    Unlike so many of its genre counterparts, The Kardashians plays with convention by encouraging its stars to reference the show itself. In a particularly inventive moment, Kris tells the family that Kendall is missing their barbecue because she’s “got the flu,” and the show smash-cuts to Kendall lounging on a white sofa. “I actually didn’t have the flu," she tells the camera. "I had COVID, and it sucked. But you know what? You’re going to get me for the rest of the season anyways. And I will be here, so don’t you worry.”

    Kendall’s COVID diagnosis is new information — her boyfriend, NBA star Devin Booker, revealed he had COVID in late September, but Kendall never announced she was also sick — and letting her speak directly to concerned viewers is a novel idea. With so much drama now happening outside the bounds of the television show, it makes perfect sense to eliminate the fourth wall. It's a strategy that other franchises, particularly Real Housewives, would be wise to adopt.

    Pairs well with

    • Keeping Up with the Kardashians (Hulu, Peacock), the show that launched it all, spawning — among many other things — an unlikely cottage industry within academia.
    • The D’Amelio Show (Hulu), another examination of how overnight fame changes family dynamics.

  • The Kardashians
    Premieres on Hulu April 14. New episodes Thursdays through June 16.
    Produced by: Ben Winston, Danielle King, Emma Conway, and Elizabeth Jones.
    Starring: Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Travis Barker, Scott Disick, and Tristan Thompson.
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    TOPICS: The Kardashians, Hulu, Ben Winston, Danielle King, Elizabeth Jones, Emma Conway, Kendall Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Scott Disick, Travis Barker, Tristan Thompson