If you’re finding it hard to escape the constant tug of your iPhone, iPad, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Skype or Instagram, just wait until we’ve all got tiny computers implanted in our brains. It will happen, and it’s not that far in the future. That is, according to “H+ The Digital Series,” which premieres today on YouTube.
Produced by Bryan Singer, directed by Stewart Hendler (of the 2009 horror flick “Sorority Row”), and distributed by Warner Bros., “H+” asks the perpetually relevant question: What happens to us when technology goes very wrong? The HPlus of the title is a chip that can be installed into the human nervous system, giving its owner ultimate access to the Internet all day, every day. When a computer virus attacks, a third of the world’s population is literally — and permanently — switched off.
The series was created and written by John Cabrera and Cosimo De Tommaso. Cabrera came up with the concept in 2006, after losing radio reception in a parking garage. “I got this overwhelming sense of being sort of disconnected,” Cabrera told MTV News. “Somehow it just turned into this idea of the technology being a part of us.”
Unlike most of the original online content offered these days, “H+” is big in budget and in scope. When co-star Alexis Denisof first read the script, he couldn’t imagine how it would get made. “I thought there was no way in hell they could shoot this thing, it just looked so huge on the page,” he said. “You have this cataclysmic event right out of the gate, and then stories that take place in Finland and San Francisco and Chile and Mumbai and Dublin — and I just thought, how on Earth can a Web series afford all of this?”
Warner Bros. took care of that, with a little help from creative location scouting — the entire series was shot in Chile, which provided all the different looks that the script required.
“H+” jumps around in time as well as place. The story encompasses events that occur years before and after the virus and is seen through the eyes of dozens of characters. Denisof plays an Irish writer in a faltering marriage. “My character and the people in my storyline are exploring, in a very domestic way, what this technology does to relationships — how it can benefit them, but also how it can be an avenue to harm them,” he said.
An advantage of placing “H+” on YouTube is the audience’s ability to control their viewing experience and share it with others. Episodes can be watched in scripted order or chronological order, or based on storyline, character or location.
“People are going to be able to create their own curated playlists, out of as many or as few episodes as they want,” said Cabrera. “What we’re hoping that creates is a new form of what I like to call social distribution, where the actual audiences themselves become a part of the storytelling process.”
Cabrera noted that when he started developing “H+” there was no such thing as an iPhone. But technology has, of course, moved very quickly since then.
“If you’re talking about a world in which everybody is connected by computers 24 hours a day, that exists right now,” he said. “The only difference is they’re not in our bodies yet, but they’re in our pockets.”
Will you make your own “H+” playlists? Let us know your ideas in the comments!