Unlike the several celebrity made web series (like Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die or that thing Lisa Kudrow made), Electric City actually is a dramatic take on life and its consequences. Set in a post-apocalyptic time where electricity is limited, the new city struggles to define itself and become civilized as they once were before.
The main characters feature Cleveland Carr, a gird operative who works for Ruth Orwell, one of the founders of the secret knitting society. Hope Chatsworth is in love with Cleveland Carr and also the news anchor on the daily radio news. Her right hand man at the radio station is Frank Deetleman who also happens to be a wire technician that works for Dr. Loman. There is very little known about Dr. Loman, but he does run a revolution against the Electric City government and contacts his informants through contraband supplied by “Knobs” Butler, a black market dealer selling wireless devices.
The series leaves you wanting more after each video, which is generally less than 5 minutes long- and since there are only 20 episodes so far, it will take you around an hour and a half. The series really does provoke new thoughts about how previous generations will be perceived in the future, but it does have a subconscious feeling leaving you aware of the environment and what your toll is upon it. The series intrigues you within the first episode, leaving you wondering what’s more. If you think about it, it’s a sick cross between Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and Lost, where death and mystery are the real attention grabbers. Even the secret knitting society can’t help remind you of Madame DeFarge’s code-embedded knitting (Spoiler ahead: Madame DeFarge knitted the names of people she wished to kill in her knitting), even though we have no idea what their pure intentions are.
The city is a mess. You have the outsiders on the outskirts of the city, who are basically either the uncivilized, criminal runaways or social outcasts. Many of them work for Dr. Loman, who’s true motives are still unknown, although it has been hinted that he wants to take power from the government. You have the secret knitting society who basically have connections everywhere and have assassins (such as Cleveland Carr) that kill people for them, and then you have the government and the AMP, and most of the AMP report back to the secret knitting society anyway. Hope’s character comes in when she finds her employee (Frank) in a secret part of town that conducts the “wireless tests” for Dr. Loman and Cleveland is told by Ruth to find more information about the wireless technology. Cleveland bribes (or threatens, however you see it) Knobs into spilling his secrets about his transactions. Energy and power is key here- and in this case, power is literally what gives someone power. With illegal power usage and even more illegal power production, who knows how this tale can end.
In a Buzzsugar interview, Tom Hanks has said that he first came up with the idea in 2003, written on a portable typewriter. After web series started getting popular, he decided it was time to produce his idea. He wanted to stay away from comedy like most web series were, and chose actors who would fit the part of their character.
But there are some downsides to the series. Since the episodes are less than 5 minutes, there is barely enough time for you to get a story, a timeline out of it- which could also be a marketing strategy since it does leave you wanting more. Also, it does have all the post-apocalyptic clichés- the oppressive, seemingly free government, the rebels carrying out illegal activity, and even the handsome character with a mysterious past who works for an even more mysterious group of “good-doers.”
In the end, I give it a ★★★★★★★★★ (9/10) since it is very interesting and really does grab your attention from the start, but the episodes are a bit too short to get a real understanding of what has happened- unless you watch the entire series.
Don’t forget to view the episodes online with the new interactive map and character analysis.