From the trailer you get the idea that Tyranny is a distant relative of 70’s American thrillers, where corporations rule the world and your mind. From the three episodes I’ve screened, I was convinced it was another dystopic, post-apocalyptic thriller. Dystopia, I know, but I think timing wise, this is more pre-apocalypse. At any rate this series from creator John Beck Hofman is gripping while still competently executed for its scope.
Hofman plays Daniel McCarthy who in 1999 volunteers for a Berkley Grad student’s experiment that records his every thought and action throughout the day. Shortly thereafter he realizes he has lost memory of the last eight days and can now see the future from 2011 to 2013. And it ain’t pretty. Food shortages, bio-engineered pandemic, and picketers galore…future? Hmm, that sounds awfully similar to a certain planet I know right now. The rest of the cast is impressive, with Bond girl Olga Kurylenko starring alongside Hofman and web series standout Bitsie Tulloch from Quarterlife and lonleygirl15.
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Daniel becomes part of the resistance against a shadowy corporation that we will eventually learn is controlling this chaos, presumably to get richer, while the poor get poorer. Power, money, mind control, you know the drill. Maybe a little too well. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how I feel about the show and this somewhat familiar concept, but I guess the bottom line is that after three eps, I want to know more. And that’s about all a creator needs, right?
The show, which premiers today on Koldcast TV, is technically good. It has a kind of gauzy look that seems to have become the staple of the post-apocalyptic genre, though it reminds me a little too much of daytime soaps. Lots of camera movement and relatively simple double-exposure effects are surprisingly effective in getting me on board with the inherent anxiety of the concept. Basically, good production value on what I’m going to assume is a modest budget.
Episode one (above, top) had me locked in as it opened with some amazing imagery of a tubed-up man floating like a full grown fetus in a greenish solution, intercut with a blue orbs, mathematic chicken scratches, and flashes of a woman in various locations. “This is going to be mindbending,” I’m telling myself…and from then on, the show gives so little information with each episode that it truly becomes mindbending, without being confusing, or boring. Like I said, I want to know more.
Each ep of this 22-episode thriller hovers somewhere between less than seven minutes and greater than three and at that rate will easily be able to sustain the mystery, which I’m hoping feels as complex, though not as complicated as a show like Lost. The look, length and what seems to be some intelligence in the writing conspire to make for what I hope will be a sustaining show. I also like the fact that its discussing a not-so-distant, and not-so unrealistic future that is nonetheless scary as hell. Take a look at it and I have a feeling you’ll be coming back (it’s a weekly series) and maybe, just maybe Hofman will show us some fresh insight into something we’ve seen before in one way or another.