Web Series Watch: H+
Editor's note 01/30/2015: Daniel DeFabio originally wrote this for the now-defunct Geek Magazine. Thank you, Daniel, for offering this to us. It appears here for the first time..
H+ is easily the most ambitious and well made web series I've seen to date.
It's almost unfair to call this a web series. The term web series sort of implies a lower budget, DIY production. H+ has Bryan Singer as a producer and shoots with cast and locations from around the globe.
Shot over twenty-nine days in Santiago, Chile, it's not hard to imagine this was intended as a three hour feature or TV pilot and later chopped into web-sized episodes, but that's a bit unfair, too. H+ uses the the medium's interactive capabilities at a higher level than most web series.
Episodes can be viewed in release order (which is non-linear), chronologically, or based on geography from an interactive map, or by playlists grouped by characters.
Co-creator and co-writer John Cabrera tells us H+ was born as a "storyworld" with no particular medium in mind for its execution, "it could have been a comic book, a TV show, a film. We really didn't know. … I think from the moment we started viewing this as a web series, we knew it would be very interactive and complex... almost like a video game. We always talked about the episodes, not as episodes, but as puzzle pieces. In fact, I didn't even want to call them episodes. I wanted a name like Fragment."
So what is H+?
H+ is a new technology that wires your head directly into the internet. Which is great until it stops working and starts killing people. The story begins with only those people out of signal range surviving the epic fail. A movement of Neo-luddites is determined to destroy the technology and rebuild a lower tech world. Flashback scenes show us how this transhuman tech evolved and hints at how it went wrong.
But in one way H+ is ill-suited to the web-series format: its disparate locations, characters and timelines demand some sustained focus. Five minute episodes don't easily allow for that, even if you do have 48 of them to binge-watch.
Cabrera says a second season is in pre-production, "I'd say at this point enough work has been done on season 2 that we all feel pretty sure it's coming. Warner Brothers has invested a lot in its development process. We turned in the first draft of H+2."