Hulu, Netflix Launch Original Programs
Both Battleground and Lilyhammer get mixed reviews, as streaming services branch out
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2012 10:52 AM CST
Lindsey Payne, Jordan T. Maxwell and Ben Samuel portray campaign workers in "Battleground," a mock documentary about a third-place political candidate in Wisconsin.   (AP Photo/
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(Newser) – Online streaming sites Hulu and Netflix both launched original series this week, as both services take baby steps toward competing with regular television, reports Gigaom. A look at each:

  • Hulu's Battleground is the more conventional of the two, a 13-episode comedy about a Senate campaign in Wisconsin that started today, with a new 22-minute episode airing each Tuesday. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has solid praise for Battleground, saying it is "a smart, well-written comedy series you might find on a premium cable network." The AP is less kind, however, calling it "a light, watered-down knockoff of The Office," while the New York Daily News comes down somewhere in-between.

  • Netflix's Lilyhammer, featuring Steve Van Zandt as a mobster who goes into a witness protection program in Norway, is a little more unusual. It was produced for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, with all eight of its 50-minute episodes getting posted online at once on Feb. 6. The AP calls it "more intriguing" than Battleground, although "one gets the sense that Lilyhammer would be funnier to Norwegians." The Examiner says Lilyhammer is "quaint," "charming," and "more laid back and askewed, which is refreshing," if a little dry.