Series (online): Electric City
Created by: Tom Hanks
Cast: Tom Hanks, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Holland Taylor and others
It’s not unheard of, a series meant only for the web, but it’s still quite a new concept. Electric City, produced by Playtone and Reliance Entertainment is an attempt at a “digital blockbuster”.
This series, that was conceived and conceptualised by Hollywood star Tom Hanks, is animated but definitely not meant for kids. There is nothing funny, cute or fuzzy about it. It is mature, creative and intense. The series highlights various social and political issues such as, energy consumption, freedom of information, authority etc.
Behold Electric City, a post-apocalyptic world in which the city stands as symbol for peace and security. The main occupation in the various settlements that make up Electric City is production of, surprise surprise, electricity and whatever natural resources remain on earth are used in this pursuit.
The city, masquerades as a utopia but is far from it, which is revealed as the series progresses.
The citizens live in a society where all channels of communication and travel are rigidly controlled; usage of electricity by individuals is monitored by the AMP (Allied Municipal Patrol) and as an answer to this, a system of underground secret activities are carried out by the “Knitting Society”, a revolutionary group run majorly by hardened old ladies who have been through the worst in life.
EC is centred around Cleveland Carr (voiced by Hanks), a former AMP employee turned member of the Knitting Society, and his activities to rid the city of undesirable elements.
The nature of the society and the violence portrayed in the series is faintly reminiscent of what you see in Hunger Games, just lacking the pomp of Capitol (and the circus-like makeup).
Each episode in this 20-part series is 3 to 5 minutes long and moves quickly, a little too quickly maybe. It has all the elements to achieve the level “awesome” but falls short. The narrative does not allow for enough character development and ends up being unconvincing. The episodes whizz by and before you can make sense of what is happening on-screen, it’s over.
With no time for character development, the stories seem superficial, especially the romantic angle Hanks tries to introduce between Cleveland and Hope Chatsworth (voiced by Jeanne Tripplehorn).The dizzying speed and inter-weaving of too many stories makes EC confusing and sometimes hard to follow.
Staying true to the Sci-Fi genre, though, EC questions the present society and what it stands for by giving the audience a glimpse into a dystopic future.
Electric City is a series that needs to be experienced by one individually to find out whether or not it’s their cup of tea. All said and done, it is thought provoking and definitely worth buffering. You just might have to watch it more than once in order to understand it completely.
Indian audiences can watch Electric City online on bigflix