These days, your television isn’t the only place for original programming. And with Hulu bringing us the best in imported television, that’s not a bad thing.
In ‘Moone Boy’, Chris O’Dowd (‘Bridesmaids’, ‘Family Tree’) proves he’s more than just an adorable face, having co-written this engaging series with regular collaborator Nick Vincent Murphy. It’s 1989 and O’Dowd plays Sean Murphy, the imaginary friend of 12 year-old Boyle, Ireland native Martin Moone (the scene stealing David Rawle).
Created from a comedy short O’Dowd made in 2010 for Sky1 HD’s ‘Little Crackers’, the series is actually based on O’Dowd’s own childhood. The auto-biographical nature is perhaps why the characters and situations feel so organic and true. Like O’Dowd himself, ‘Moone Boy’ is understatedly funny in an approachably real way. Whether it’s the relationship between father and son, brother and sisters, or husband and wife, each packs a punch that’s equal parts truth and heart. Though it’s hard to draw a parallel to an American series, it most closely resembles ABC’s ‘The Middle’ in how it portrays family realistically (for TV), but lovingly. However, what truly makes this a can’t miss is the duo of O’Dowd and Rawle. There isn’t a moment the two are on screen together that you can’t help but smile.
Beyond that, a number of small creative touches also contribute to this show’s watchability. For one, Marin is a doodler, and his doodles often come to life before his eyes (as they do in the opening credits.) Another fun touch comes when Martin is accosted by bullies (twin bullies, actually) and part of his shirt becomes untucked. As he walks with Sean afterward, we see that Sean’s shirt is untucked as well. The duos matching pajamas later on are also delightfully cute. And even though Sean is older than young Martin, his advice for the boy never advances past his creators age (not O’Dowd’s that is, but the character of Martin himself.) Which is as it should be considering that Sean is a figment of Martin’s imagination! This is especially adorable in a later episode when Sean tries to explain what might be causing Martin’s first erection.
New episodes of Season 1 will be released Wednesdays exclusively on Hulu, or you can watch the entire season now if you have Hulu Plus. Unless of course you live in England, where it premiered on British broadcaster Sky in September of 2012. It returns for Season 2 (what they call Series 2 across the pond) this year, with a third season already being written for 2014. So if you enjoy the first season on Hulu, you can expect more to come. But don’t expect the seasons to be the same length as an American TV show. ‘Moone Boy’ Season 1 is only six episodes, the common length of a series in Britain.
O’Dowd is reportedly in talks to adapt the series for American television, which hopefully doesn’t come to pass. Because aside from the fact that so much of the series ambiance is dependent on both the time and the place, nothing could surpass the original. And with the wonderful invention of the internet, it doesn’t have to.
BOTTOM LINE: O’Dowd is charming, but Rawle steals the show. Well worth your time and, if you don’t have Hulu Plus, the weekly wait.