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ELECTRIC CITY: Tom Hanks Noir Online
The Internet has doomed us to bizarre times. LOL cats, Reddit iAMAs and Re-pins, the strangeness never stops and its never stops evolving. And weirdest of all, there’s going to be a time when we cease to notice this as novel. The thirty-somethings who grew up during this cultural shift will become out-dated sixty-somethings. Internet oddity will become as customary a part of life.
That’s the world Tom Hanks’ Electric City lives in – a cosmos where information soaks through every function of existence, and where much of that information is bizarre. Electric City is also a post-modern realm, as much a product of stylized gumshoe fiction as of cyberpunk. Imagine a fedora-wearing fusion of Dashiell Hammett and William Gibson, and you’re on the right monorail track.
And for me, Electric City is an underscoring of how dominant the Web is – how, in less than two decades, it’s gone from clunky gimmick to sinew of civilization. It isn’t just Electric City‘s message and plot that render this fact in bold. It’s the very existence of an independently produced, unconventionally funded Web series starring an Academy Award winner.
Part of this spontaneous series popping up on Yahoo! Screen is due to the sheer creative opportunity the internet poses. Just about anybody can have a Kickstarter, an Indiegogo, a self-published Kindle series. The question that struck me was, “Why on God’s green Earth would Tom Hanks want one?”
The answer to that’s just speculation, but we have to remember who this guy is: A pretty hip dude, by all indications. For me, he’s not just the ill-fated attorney of Philadelphia or the doomed Lieutenant who saved Private Ryan. Hanks is trying to save Splash. He’s shooting silly string from his nose in Big. He’s one of the Bosom Buddies.
Point being, this is a guy who’s got some wild to him that Oscars and a mountain of box office has yet to weigh down. And so, he’s snuck onto Yahoo! Screen and, with co-writers and producers Josh Feldman and Bo Stevenson, established Electric City.
It’s a dyed-in-the-wool Internet Age success story: Guy types 20-episode noir series on Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter. Guy trots his post-modern noir-sci-fi fusion around. Guy finds an online venue to embrace his vision. It’s being played out by the dozens every season. This guy just happens to be Tom Hanks.
And Hanks’ work on Electric City intrigues me. He voices Cleveland Carr, the underground law-enforcement that keeps the dangerous information in line, online. I want to see what paces Bo, Josh and Tom put Cleveland through.
With 10 of the 20 episodes of Electric City already available, we can plug in right now.
Better do it quick, before another social fad or flickering bit of media pops by to distract us.