They are among six recent pilots on Hulu’s slate. Of the other four, two (dramas Reprisal, starring Abigail Spencer, and The Great, starring Elle Fanning) were just picked up to series. Woke is now wrapping filming, while Sweet Tooth is heading into production in May.
Less Than Zero, based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel, hailed from Ellis, Greenleaf creator Craig Wright and Fox 21 Television Studios. Adapted by Wright and directed by Brett Morgan, Less Than Zero followed Clay (Austin Abrams), a college freshman returning home for Christmas to spend time with his ex-girlfriend and his friend who struggles with addiction.
“It was a tonally very ambitious but ultimately it didn’t feel like the elements came together,” Hulu SVP Craig Erwich told Deadline.
Search and Destroy, set in the feminist and fiercely independent punk scene of the 1990s, came from Portlandia co-creator Carrie Brownstein and Annapurna Television. Written and directed by Brownstein, Search and Destroy was loosely based on her bestselling memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl. The pilot centered on Karen Wolff (Taylor Dearden), a 22-year-old from the suburbs of the Pacific Northwest. Karen’s unstable childhood has left her feeling disconnected and like a perpetual outsider, so she attempts to find a sense of belonging through creativity and community
“We loved working with Carrie. It was very special project but ultimately didn’t fit our needs at the time,” Erwich said.
While some premium/streaming networks like Netflix only do straight-to-series orders, Hulu employs both that and the traditional pilot model and is planning to continue to do so.
“The pilots versus series, a lot of factors go into that decision, and we make the decision based on the individual circumstances around each of these projects,” Erwich said. “There are some projects that require more tonal proof of concept; sometimes we prefer to do a pilot to see if we can get it right.”
As for when Hulu will pick up more pilots, “we evaluate the material as it’s ready,” Erwich said.