It’s the not too distant future. Denton Sparks is an elite, covert, one-man assassin squad. He’s on a secret mission to rid both the on and offline worlds of the Spam King, a dangerous computer hacker responsible for the financial collapse and ensuing destruction of at least two island nations.
The assignment would be suicide for you or me, but for Sparks, it’s just another day on the job. He has the paramilitary training of a Jason Bourne and the Twitter presence of an Ashton Kutcher. Dude’s addicted to social networking.
Created by Jesse Cowell (who online video fans will recognize as the creator of the mixed live-action/animated series, Drawn by Pain, and Red vs. Blue forum members will recognize as Jeskid), the show is equal parts action flick, clever comedy, and social commentary.
In the world of Status Kill, special operations units are given access to TweetFacester, the world’s biggest social network. It’s the government’s attempt to keep isolated individuals sane with at least some semblance of human interaction.
Sparks (played by Ayinde Howell) logs into the social network via a portable user interface. With a simple voice command, a Minority Report-inspired screen (designed by Chris Dimino) automagically appears before Sparks’ eyes, illuminating his friends list. Sparks beams in the glow of this holographic display, content to immerse himself with the fickle obligations of a virtual world while at work and under heavy enemy fire.
It’s a fantastic premise that stems from Cowell’s own internal struggle with how to approach the ever-evolving rules of communication in a digital age. His love/hate relationship with Facebook and Twitter spawned a character that takes social network obsession to an extreme. When you watch the show, you can’t help but think about and evaluate your own real world and virtual connections.
I’ll be surprised if the show doesn’t gain any traction. It’s too relatable. As Cowell says, “You either are Sparks, you know a person who is Sparks, or you hate Sparks, but like the show’s critique on social networking.” If the show does do well, expect to see further installments focus on other hot button technology topics, like privacy or contextual advertising.
Before the official online debut next Wednesday, be sure to connect with Status Kill on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. And yes, Cowell understands the “hypocrisy of ‘discussing’ all that’s right and wrong” about social networking and then asking you to become fans of or follow his show on those very same social networks. As I said before, Cowell has a love/hate relationship with modern methods of virtual communication.