Bryan Singer wants you to picture a world where technology endangers the planet, where being connected to the internet is not a luxury but a hazard.
That is the premise of “H+,” a web series produced by the "Usual Suspects” director that debuts on YouTube Wednesday. Humans now carry a chip (H+) implanted into their bodies, one which connects them to the web 24 hours a day — device-free.
At the start of the show, a virus breaks out among those carrying the chip, killing millions.
Despite this apocalyptic view of technology’s potential, Singer (right) and his cast believe this show will have a lasting, positive impact on the way people view video content distributed on the web.
“H+” is ambitious, starting with a climactic event, mass death, and then tracing all that happened both before and after. It has massive cast; follows at least six different stories, which eventually will connect together; and though it was all shot in Chile, the storyline roves from Helsinki to India to Dublin to Turkey in a matter of minutes.
Produced by Warner Premiere, Dolphin Digital Entertainment and Singer's Bad Hat Harry Productions, it also is one of two web-based shows from high-profile filmmakers about the dangers of a connected world — the other being Anthony Zuiker’s “Cybergeddon,” which Yahoo is distributing.
Singer believes it is only natural for web series to start getting self-reflexive.
“H+ was first brought to my company as a potential TV series, but I felt that the subject of trans humanism and tech going wrong and the structure of the show were better suited as an internet series,” Singer told TheWrap. “There is a real opportunity to create something cinematic for the internet.”
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The plot for the 48-episode series is non-linear, but viewers also have the option of piecing it together as they please. They can follow an individual story line or watch it all chronologically.
“You can reorganize the episodes, collect them and interact with the show,” Singer said. “It’s very much catered to the internet, and yet it gives you something cinematic.”
Actor Alexis Denisof, whose character is married to a woman who helped create H+, agrees. People will look back and identify the show as what “set the bar for what’s possible and now expected with a web series,” Denisof told TheWrap.
“It raises questions,” Hannah Simone, who also stars on Fox’s “New Girl. “Technology is accelerating so fast that sometimes we are a society aren’t taking time to stop and think about it – from big questions of what if a virus happens to smaller questions of, ‘Does this change the nature of what infidelity is?'’”
Of course, one of the bigger questions surrounding “H+” is whether it will make money. Denisof said he believes the production value of the series alone will drive more dollars to the industry.
“The only thing that hasn’t existed with video online is advertising money, and that’s changing now,” Denisof said.
“It doesn’t mean grassroots projects are going away, but it’s a bigger move to elevate production values because a lot more money will find its way in.”
Video of Denisof and Simone: