“I’m sorry viewer, the TV show you’re searching for cannot be streamed in your reality. Please stand by for reconnection.”
Those are the opening lines of Hulu’s new show Dimension 404, a show that explores “the wonders and horrors of our digital age” in six one-hour episodes.
If that makes you think of Black Mirror, you’re not alone. But Dimension 404, which debuts on April 4, is not as similar to the BBC series (which Netflix distributes in the U.S.) as you might think.
“When we started developing this show, Black Mirror emerged on BBC as an original … we absolutely loved it,” Desmond Dolly, Dimension 404’s co-creator, said. “But we were also completely relieved that it was so dark and nihilistic because we realized, ok, this is fine and good — but thankfully it’s its own thing.”
Dolly’s show, co-created with Will Campos, Dan Johnson and David Welch, is indeed also a TV anthology series that revolves around technology. But he describes it as more of a “outrageous horror comedy” mixed with “mind-bending action adventure,” rather than a straight up horror show.
Each episode has a theme.
The “Matchmaker” episode, for example, explores what happens when one lonely guy thinks he has met his perfect match thanks to a new dating app.
“I don’t want to necessarily frighten people and leave them walking away feeling awful about the world we live in,” Dolly said. “I want them to question the nature of humanity and leave folks with a sense of hope that sure maybe all these terrifying things are happing but humans are resilient and capable of wonderful things.”
The team at RocketJump — the brainchild of Dolly, Freddie Wong, and Matthew Arnold — came up with the idea for the anthology series about four years ago while brainstorming over coffee.
The company, founded in 2010, has a catalog of hundreds of original videos — including popular YouTube series Video Game High School — that have gained more than 1.2 billion views and nearly 8 million subscribers on YouTube.
Last year, RocketJump debuted its first seres on Hulu, RocketJump: The Show, which showcases the production team behind the scenes as they create action-comedy short films.
However, Dolly called Dimension 404 the “the biggest project” RocketJump has undertaken to date. It took roughly one year to put all of the episodes together.
Luckily, they had the help of Hulu and Lionsgate, who helped them lure in big name Hollywood actors.
The series is narrated by Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.
The anthology also stars Lea Michele, Joel McHale, Constance Wu, Sarah Hyland, Megan Mullally, Patton Oswalt, Ashley Rickard, Robert Buckley, Lorenza Izzo, Malcolm Barrett and other favorites.
“Quite frankly we live in a crazy world,” Dolly said. “Technology is a wonderful and horrific. We have self driving cars, new movie technology, drones … all of that makes for interesting fodder in the writers room. We asked ourselves: What does this mean to people? Everything starts in a place of reality before the weird sci-fi hook . I want people to be able to laugh at the madness around us.”