I knew nothing about Weird City other than the fact it was premiering, which is partly because it is from YouTube Originals. Usually, if I’m in that situation, I bop between thinking I’ll look at IMDB for a basic description first or alternatively, preferring to be surprised. Tonight I went for surprise, and well, yep, it was a surprise.
The show’s premise is somewhat allegorical satire, set in the future, where the Haves and the Have Nots are separated by a border. Episode 1 deals with a young guy who grew up as a Have Not, his mother got rich, he’s now a Have, and struggling with dating because all the Haves follow a regimen of mandated dating, casual sex and then assigned marriages, leaving unassigned people floundering a bit. A matchmaking site that guarantees the use of science to find “the one” for everyone hooks him up with his “the one”, except his match is a dude but he’s not gay. They intend to blow off the date, but end up hanging out and really getting along, like they are in fact each other’s “one” except for the whole not being gay thing. Long story short, they’re not gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but they end up following the science, it’s a match made in heaven, and 1 year later they’re married and completely happy until the company comes back, says “oops” they weren’t a match (since they wanted women) and their two real matches are still available. They’re not interested, since they’re happy, but the company lawyers insist. Instant unassignment. It goes on a little longer, and I won’t spoil things, but it’s a decent ending.
The whole Ep is done a bit in soft satire, or allegory as I said, like Erewhon by Samuel Butler, except dumbed down for easy consumption. The great part is that while there is a hint of fish out of water juxtaposition, everyone stays in complete character. They don’t know that it’s really weird, just seems normal to them. Lightly touched, almost like a really long SNL skit not played for giggles. And it more or less works.
The problem is that anthology series are challenging. Twilight Zone had a hook; this one doesn’t really. Future City isn’t really very meaty. And while the actors in the first episode do a great job — Dylan O’Brien and Ed O’Neill — they’re not in Episode 2. Their story is done. No hook, and no recurring characters? Not sure there’s enough there to recommend it. Or to think it will get renewed.
I’m going to predict CANCELLATION.