As TV audiences shift from cable to the world of streaming over the Internet, content providers are scrambling to stake claims on this burgeoning frontier. Netflix is now known for its relentless blizzard of original shows, but YouTube still finds itself straddling the line between network-grade vehicles like Cobra Kai and a legion of creators churning out short clips covering everything from cooking tips to car reviews.
Today, YouTube (download for iOS or Android) moved the needle one notch further towards premium programming with Weird City, the Jordan Peele show for YouTube whose trailer came out this morning. For those of you who live under rocks, Peele was the writer and director of the smash hit Get Out, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director for good measure.
Proving himself to be much more than one half of a successful comedy duo, Peele has stepped out from that shadow in a big way, with developments for a horror show on HBO, a Blumhouse horror-thriller film starring fellow Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o, a reboot of the Candyman film series, and a reboot of The Twilight Zone for CBS All Access. (Disclosure: Download.com and CBS are owned by the same parent company.)
But while the tone of these projects is uniformly sober and spooky, Weird City feels like the comedy version of Netflix's notoriously dark Black Mirror. The YouTube trailer is full of punchlines, gags and comedic actors like Michael Cera, Ed O'Neill, Sara Gilbert and Laverne Cox. LaVar Burton also features heavily as some kind of mad scientist.
As an anthology series, a show can get more high-profile actors than a serial, because they only have to commit to one episode. So there may be more cameos waiting in the wings. But we can say for sure that Weird City will align more with Peele's comedic sensibilities that the ones he demonstrated for Get Out.
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As one of Hollywood's hottest tickets lately, Peele can also attract talent that may otherwise have gone with other productions.
Peele is listed as executive producer for Weird City and most other projects to which his name has been attached, so he may not be involved in the day-to-day development of the show. But in that role, you are normally a major contributor to the overall vision regardless, with veto powers on casting, screenwriting, and other critical decisions.
Weird City debuts February 13, 2019 on YouTube Premium, which costs $12 a month with a 30-day free trial. In addition to original content, the subscription includes YouTube Music Premium (the company's competitor to Spotify), removes ads from YouTube, enables background listening and integrates downloading for offline viewing.
YouTube Premium also has a family plan for $18 per month for up to six people, and an individual student plan for $6 per month.
- The sci-fi comedy anthology Weird City debuted its first trailer on YouTube today. The show is executive produced by Academy Award-winning screenwriter, director and actor Jordan Peele.
- Weird City will be exclusive to YouTube Premium, the subscription-based original content arm of YouTube that costs $12 a month and removes ads, enables downloads and background listening, and comes with YouTube Music Premium, the company's competitor to Netflix.
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