Every so often, a show comes seemingly out of nowhere and takes the world – and internet – by storm. Hulu’s Letterkenny is that series. The series spun out of a YouTube video by series star/creator Jared Keeso and was initially titled Letterkenny Problems. Since being ordered to series, there have been ten seasons of Letterkenny. It’s a simple concept that excels in great character development and storytelling. Which is why it is unsurprising then that Hulu and CraveTV opted to crate a spinoff focusing on the fan-favorite, wise-cracking, and often inappropriate hockey player that loves to give Riley and Jonesy a hard time. Shoresy has a lot to live up to and yet it succeeds with flying colors.
With a single episode, Shoresy proves Keeso isn’t a one-hit-wonder. After the blazing success of Letterkenny, a series that seemed to garner attention almost overnight, it’s no wonder why Hulu and Crave TV ordered the spinoff. Shoresy recaptures that magic from the first season of Letterkenny with such ease. In fact, while Letterkenny might’ve spent time on trying to get Wayne to fight again, Shoresy spends time trying to make the character more than a fighting asshole.
Those expecting Shoresy to talk about banging everyone’s moms will be delightfully surprised to learn the character is given room to be more than the naked handstand guy who thrives on torturing others. Yes, he’s still frustrating. And yes, his trademark “give your balls a tug” line is still very much there. But there’s also a heck of a lot more to the show. In fact, there are moments in which Shoresy feels like a more defined series than its predecessor. Unlike the original series, Shoresy doesn’t need to take time to establish itself – the series knows what it wants to be and delivers on its intent from the very beginning.
One of the things that makes the series all the more enjoyable is seeing how Keeso successfully navigates the character. Playing two characters that exist within the same universe can be a bit difficult; it’s also probably why Shoresy’s face is hidden in Letterkenny throughout his appearances. Trying to make viewers understand these are two very different characters despite Keeso playing both roles can be a hard sell. And yet, Keeso does such a great job at changing up his mannerisms and speech to ensure Wayne and Shoresy are not one in the same. It’s a pretty difficult task, given the characters do share a fair amount of character traits, but Keeso manages to do so with ease.
More impressively, though, the supporting cast manages to shine just as much as Keeso. When the series focuses solely on hockey players, it is vital that the show makes it a point to make the characters feel like a proper team. The sense of comradery needs to be felt by the audience. Sure, the other players don’t get as many lines as Shoresy, but the supporting cast is a delight and they do get in on the action. Unfortunately, those looking for Letterkenny actors to pop-up, don’t expect too many. There are a few that do appear – J.J. Frankie is one of them as he’s on Shoresy’s new team. However, there is a nice little surprise for fans of a certain chaotic Glen. (No, he’s not there as Glen, but the always great Jacob Tierney does make an appearance.)
On one hand, it seems wrong to compare Shoresy to Letterkenny. Yes, they are within the same universe, and yes, Keeso created both series. But they are incredibly different. There’s no denying Letterkenny is great – there’s a reason millions around the world have taken to the series – but Shoresy feels like an upgrade to an already great world.
The series is being billed as a limited series, however, by the end of episode six, it is clear that Shoresy isn’t over just yet. With most shows that bill themselves as a limited series, an open-ended ending could be frustrating. That isn’t the case with Shoresy, though, because by the end of the season there’s such a rich amount of character development that it becomes difficult to part with these characters. For leading man Keeso, balancing two hits shows could prove troublesome, but one thing is for certain: Keeso knows how to deliver a smart television series and Shoresy is proof that he’s one of the best talents on the small screen these days.