The Watchman: Hulu High on ‘East Los’, SundanceTV Scribe Hungers for a Hit

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There was much buzz about the fourth season of Orange Is the New Black dropping, but if we’re giving props to streaming series pioneers, let us not leave out East Los High. The Hulu original debuted a month before Orange in those rah-rah days of streaming back in ’13, and its fourth season rolls July 15. East Los is kind of the un-Beverly Hills 90210—Latino cast and real-world problems, not Brandon Walsh needs a Mustang convertible.

For the first time, a season of East Los High is set out of school, it being summer and all. But there’s still a lot of dancing.

Exec producer Katie Elmore Mota recalls those early days of SVOD. “When you think back to the start of House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, it really felt like a new era in content,” she says. “East Los High was excited to be at the forefront of that.”

Like its Netflix peers, and unlike most Hulu series, the whole season of East Los gets released at once. Mota does not see a series finale in sight. “As long as we stay current and relevant, the show could see many more seasons,” she says.

Many thousand miles from arid California is England’s Lake District, where a different kind of kid with a love of music is stepping to the stage. The A Word, an English import from Peter Bowker, premieres on SundanceTV July 13. The series is centered on Joe, a five-year-old on the autism spectrum who is happiest when singing along to Arctic Monkeys with his headphones on.

Before making it as a writer, Bowker spent 14 years as a special education teacher, giving him insights into what goes on among families dealing with developmental disorders.

And the Manchester man knows that trip from the north of England to Los Angeles. Bowker attended the Golden Globes a decade ago, when his Viva Blackpool limited series was up for a prize. He stood out among the Hollywood types at the Beverly Hilton. “The waiter said to me, you’re English,” Bowker recalls. “I said, ‘how do you know?’ He said, ‘you’re eating your food!’”

There was much buzz about the fourth season of Orange Is the New Black dropping, but if we’re giving props to streaming series pioneers, let us not leave out East Los High. The Hulu original debuted a month before Orange in those rah-rah days of streaming back in ’13, and its fourth season rolls July 15. East Los is kind of the un-Beverly Hills 90210—Latino cast and real-world problems, not Brandon Walsh needs a Mustang convertible.

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