The ever popular, two time Oscar winner, Tom Hanks has created a new animated web series about a post apocalyptic future where information is power and power is protected. (No there are NOT any toys involved!) He has been working on the idea for years and now Reliance Entertainment and Yahoo will host the series on July 17th. Comprised of 20 five-to-seven-minute episodes, the first 10 will premiere on July 17. The remaining episodes will then be shown on July 18-19, completing the 90-minute saga.
Woody, I mean Hanks, will add his voice to the cast, along with the voice talents of Jeanne Tripplehorn, Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men), Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Antoon, Chris Parnell (SNL), Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Georg Stanford Brown.
Just what is “Electric City” you ask? The world as we know it has ended and out of the rubble, the Electric City stands as a symbol of peace and security. Yet under the veneer of order lies a world full of secrets and violence. Secret police, back-alley dealings, daring chases, and murder all find a home in the “Electric City.” Through the lens of a functioning, yet dystopian metropolis, “Electric City” touches upon relevant global issues and themes including energy consumption, freedom of information, crime and punishment and more. The story unfolds gradually, layering mystery upon mystery, inviting viewers to interact with the content and each other. Metaphors and symbols are woven throughout, creating a perfect environment for puzzle-solving and community interaction. Like good science fiction, “Electric City” raises provocative questions about our own way of life and value systems. Short-form connecting storylines combined with vivid animation and a compelling score will keep audiences watching, while metaphors and a range of subject lines will keep them guessing—and reflecting. Watch the trailer here.
Yahoo, which is collaborating on the project with Hanks’ Playtone production company, is building an interactive experience around the show, with multiple digital and mobile components. “Every now and then, storytelling and technology unite in a fun and surprising way,” said Playtone partner Gary Goetzman. “Electric City brings viewers into a totally unique world through a truly immersive online experience whether they’re at home on their computers or mobile on their tablets and smartphones.”
“The much anticipated ‘Electric City’ is here – we at Yahoo! could not be more thrilled to be the digital partner for this unparalleled, groundbreaking series,” said Erin McPherson VP & Head of Video at Yahoo!. “Partnering with Playtone, Reliance Entertainment and one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Tom Hanks, is an important milestone for Yahoo! in paving the way to becoming the global destination for premium online content from the best storytellers in entertainment.”
Jump Games, which is part of Reliance Entertainment, will be releasing an interactive mobile application on iOS and Android. Mobile audiences will also be able to play an original Role Playing Game featuring a key character from the online series, read digital comic-books that expand on the mythology of the online series, get behind-the-scenes sneak peeks from its development, and access other exclusive content. The app will be available on July 17th.
In addition to superior quality, high-end graphic animation designed specifically for the Internet, “Electric City” on Yahoo! Screen will feature an immersive and interactive online experience featuring a 3-D map of ‘Electric City,’ behind-the-scenes footage of the cast, games and more. The “Electric City” experience can be found HERE.
To create buzz for the debut of the web only series, Yahoo! brought in San Francisco ad agency Pereira & O’Dell and Venice-based production company B-Reel to concept and developed the ARG and blog “Tap Joint“.
The website is a first person view of someone in front of a “tap kit”, a similar device to an old Morse code transmitter. Typing certain phrases will yield coded responses or break to a video clip where site visitors learn that the unidentified correspondent on the other end of the telegraph is a member of an underground movement committed to resisting their city’s sentinel, the Allied Municipal Patrol. The resistance is hard at work assembling Wave Units—single-channel, one-way broadcasting devices in time for Illumination Day, an annual holiday taking place on March 9th. On this day, visitors who were able to break the code were given an exclusive preview of the show.
Yahoo!’s interactive and social features will allow viewers to:
- Navigate non-linearly and learn more about the world of “Electric City” through a 3-D interactive map
- Dig deeper into the character’s back-stories
- Watch exclusive behind-the-scenes footage
- Post reactions and commentary directly to Facebook and Twitter
- Engage members of their social networks in discussions and debates about societal themes, events and characters
- Engage in casual games and other content related to the series