We've been excited about Bryan Singer's new webseries H+ for a while now, based on the cool premise: Tons of people get a chip called H+ implanted, which connects their brains to the Internet. And then a virus strikes, and a third of the world population dies instantly. And Angel's Alexis Denisof stars!
H+ is debuting on Youtube on August 8, but Comic Con attendees will get a sneak peek on Friday — and there's already been a screening in L.A. Io9 reader (and independent filmmaker) John V. Knowles was there, and he sent us this report. Spoilers ahead...
If you're a geek about near-future scenarios with strong flavors of transhumanism, embedded computers and a splash of cyberpunk flavoring then you'll be all over this thing (I sure was.) We got to watch 24 episodes back-to-back, which is half the season. They organized them into two "playlists" for us, about an hour and a half of content.
The concept ... is that a biotech company invents a tiny chip called the H+ which can be injected with a syringe that, once inside you, will monitor your health and connect you to the net. It becomes a version of augmented reality, with a hub of windows and apps in your field of vision that you interact with. They show it in action during a slick sales video at the start of the first episode (which could have almost passed for a legit video at TED or something, it's really well done) and we occasionally catch glimpses of it in the character's POV.
But mostly you see people talking out loud in conference calls or using a series of hand gestures (like a mid-air multitouch that Apple might have come up with) so you know they're interfacing with it without having to show the little floating icons all the time, which is very effective for the story. An interesting old-school touch is the use of pen and paper in some scenes, which is used to convey private notes to the people watching your feed without anyone else in the room knowing about it. It's clear the creators really thought through the technology and how it would be implemented in the real world, and how once the novelty wore off it would be used for everyday, mundane things like checking in for your flight or secretly watching a football game while your wife is talking to you.
This is a big, sprawling show with lots of plot threads and characters to follow.
And here's the thing: there is NO set order. After the first episode, you can watch these in any random order and it will (hopefully) still hold together as a show. The producers were very keen on the idea of Youtube playlists and hope that fans will roll their own combinations of episodes as they try to figure out which pieces of the puzzle fit together best.
Anywhoo, that's my take on it. I'll be looking out for it in August when it premieres and hopefully they'll mix up the order so some of the back 24 eps I didn't see will come out early. They plan on releasing six eps the first two weeks, then two eps every Wednesday after that. They're writing Season two, but obviously that will depend on how well this season does. They left me hungry for more and there's always that nagging hope that they'll get far enough to bring some closure to all the mysteries they've put forth.