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H+
December 19, 2012 11:00 AM   Subscribe

This past August, producer Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) launched a new digital series: H+. The premise: in the near future, 33% of humanity has retired their smartphones, tablets and computers in favor of an implanted computer system, H+, which connects them directly to the internet 24/7. The story begins as a computer virus attacks the implants, killing billions. In intersecting storylines across four continents (told in part through flashbacks,) the series then unravels what happened, who caused it and why.

In the storyline, the H+ System was developed by Nano Teoranta, which was originally a medical device company.

H+ has financial backing from Warner Bros (reportedly $2 million USD,) was shot in Santiago, Chile and is almost done airing its first season.
The first season of the series takes place over 48 episodes lasting between four and eight minutes, for a total running time of 255 minutes. Though Warner Digital Distribution plans to release the series on a weekly basis, like any regular series, the episodes are meant to be viewed differently than anything on TV.

"We set out to write a nonlinear story," explains series co-writer and co-creator John Cabrera. "The big question for this disjointed story was whether there were ways to view it that felt good. At a certain point we started to realize that might be something we put into the hands of the audience."

The fragmented nature of the short episodes means viewers are encouraged to mix and match to create episodic playlists that may better illuminate the show's intricate, ongoing mysteries. Instead of making watching a passive experience, being online encourages interaction.

New episodes premiere Wednesdays at 12pm PST. The series is broken up into ‘chapter’ playlists of 20-30 minutes each:

Chapter 1: The Beginnings (Also see a new annotated playlist for Chapter 1)
Chapter 2: Foreign Bodies
Chapter 3: Connections
Chapter 4: Malfunctions
Chapter 5: New Visions
Chapter 6: Convergences
Chapter 7: Residual Effects

Cast Interviews and Behind the Scenes Footage

YouTube Channel / Official Site / Facebook (requires login) / Wikipedia (Includes cast list)
posted by zarq (66 comments total) 123 users marked this as a favorite

 
So, back in October TubeFilter posted an article about the "in and out" jump points in the H+ series. It's an interesting look at some of the new things you can do with playlists on the site.

(I especially liked their Doctor Who playlist example, showing only sections of The Doctor getting angry in existing YT videos)
posted by zarq at 11:07 AM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


ERMEHGERD Kirk is in it and it was co-written by John Cabrera!



(needs a Gilmore Girls tag!)
posted by Kitteh at 11:12 AM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


(needs a Gilmore Girls tag!)

Added! :)
posted by zarq at 11:16 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kirk is in it

*Sudden excitement, mouses over link*

Hopes for Shatner performance: DASHED.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:16 AM on December 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


across four continents

I like that, because the way people disparately use very unevenly distributed technologies across the world is pretty fascinating. I've noticed a lot of people from first/developed world countries tend to think that other parts of the world either have and use the same technologies in the same ways or there's a total absence of modern/complex technology in other regions, and that's not really true.
posted by byanyothername at 11:18 AM on December 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Huh, I wonder if they really built it with threading in mind or if they just wanted to do a bunch of vignettes?

Having a bunch of shorts that each contained some subset of a total group of main threads would be really cool. Each thread could be an official way to watch the show.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:23 AM on December 19, 2012


Oooooh
posted by odinsdream at 11:26 AM on December 19, 2012


Tell Me No Lies: "Huh, I wonder if they really built it with threading in mind or if they just wanted to do a bunch of vignettes?

Having a bunch of shorts that each contained some subset of a total group of main threads would be really cool. Each thread could be an official way to watch the show.
"

Dunno, but it beats the hell out of anything I can do. Is shiny.

And I would so be a dead man from having one of these.
posted by Samizdata at 11:28 AM on December 19, 2012


Just watched episode 1. Very intense...
posted by Strass at 11:31 AM on December 19, 2012


I love this series. The foreboding of the pre-disaster, together with the attempts to organically reboot the system post-disaster are all very well done. Clever how the first world is basically wiped out, and Africa keeps chugging along uninterrupted.

HOWEVER: I can't imagine that they can properly resolve all of the threads still hanging with the little time they have left.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:35 AM on December 19, 2012


I'd imagine that if that many people were using something, that the jailbreakers would've figured this out long before anybody else.

That being said, I'm going to try to watch this when I'm not at work. Perhaps on my drive home. It's mostly traffic anyway.
posted by Blue_Villain at 11:37 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


At what point in the show does Major Kusanagi make her appearance?
posted by Atreides at 11:40 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Checking all 12413915592536072670862289047373375038521486354677760000000000 possible orderings would only take 3165548476096698531069883707080210634822979020442828800000000000 minutes. I don't see the problem.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:41 AM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kirk is in it

*Sudden excitement, mouses over link*

Hopes for Shatner performance: DASHED.


Seriously. There Can Be Only One.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:47 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fragmented nature of the short episodes means viewers are encouraged to mix and match to create episodic playlists that may better illuminate the show's intricate, ongoing mysteries. Instead of making watching a passive experience, being online encourages interaction.

Um...Sorry, but, no thanks. I just can't see getting that invested in an entertainment. I'll just watch it in order. When I get around to it.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:53 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


It starts off innocently enough with self-check-out...pretty soon we're editing our own features. Un-like.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:02 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The uploader has not made this video available in your country. Can't watch it in the country it was shot. Irony anyone?
posted by defcom1 at 12:09 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The first episode is very engaging.

Thank you.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:22 PM on December 19, 2012


The region restriction checker says that these videos can't be viewed in the following countries: Chile, Germany, Spain, France and Italy. Sorry about that.
posted by zarq at 12:32 PM on December 19, 2012


IF THIS WERE A VIRUS
YOU WOULD BE DEAD NOW
FORTUNATELY IT'S NOT
THE METAVERSE IS A DANGEROUS PLACE;
HOW'S YOUR SECURITY?
CALL HIRO PROTAGONIST SECURITY ASSOCIATES
FOR A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION

posted by xedrik at 12:49 PM on December 19, 2012 [19 favorites]


This reminds me of a William Gibson essay I read recently in which he opines that we'll probably never have implants, because we won't need them.

From the article:
The physical union of human and machine, long dreaded and long anticipated, has been an accomplished fact for decades, though we tend not to see it. We tend not to see it because we are it, and because we still employ Newtonian paradigms that tell us that “physical” has only to do with what we can see, or touch. Which of course is not the case. The electrons streaming into a child’s eye from the screen of the wooden television are as physical as anything else. As physical as the neurons subsequently moving along that child’s optic nerves. As physical as the structures and chemicals those neurons will encounter in the human brain. We are implicit, here, all of us, in a vast physical construct of artificially linked nervous systems. Invisible. We cannot touch it.
---
The real cyborg will be deeper and more subtle and exist increasingly at the particle level, in a humanity where unaugmented reality will eventually be a hypothetical construct, something we can only try, with great difficulty, to imagine -- as we might try, today, to imagine a world without electronic media.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:52 PM on December 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


Those wooden televisions sound pretty dangerous.
posted by biffa at 12:57 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The electrons streaming into a child’s eye from the screen of the wooden television are as physical as anything else."

Somehow, I missed this as a kid. Did it hurt?
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 12:59 PM on December 19, 2012


@biffa Heh ;)
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 1:00 PM on December 19, 2012


Basic physics, Phyllis Harmonic - Gibson's point being that we tend to ignore the subatomic world when we consider connectivity between humans and machines.
posted by eustacescrubb at 1:01 PM on December 19, 2012


Sorry about that.
-zarq

Not your fault. Just find it insanely stupid that the country the stuff is made in, where I'm sure we paid for it somehow in tax breaks etc, we are not allowed to watch it. Though I guess the Canadians get it all the time when they can't watch american content, filmed in Vancouver of course.
posted by defcom1 at 1:02 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Basic physics . . ."

Oh, OK. The one with electrons AND photons- got it! ;)
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 1:10 PM on December 19, 2012


o_0
posted by eustacescrubb at 1:51 PM on December 19, 2012


o_O

Urban dictionary tells me that that expresses confusion. Let me try to explain.

Gibson refers to "electrons streaming into a child’s eye from the screen of the wooden television". It seems that he's trying to describe the everyday process of vision in a scientifically precise way that emphasizes the physicality of the process, but his description doesn't seem accurate — seeing an image on a television screen depends not on electrons moving from screen to eye but on photons doing so. biffa and Phyllis Harmonic were obliquely pointing out this apparent error, by pretending to take Gibson's description at face value.

Do you have a different understanding of Gibson's words?

(The only alternative interpretation I can think of is that he's thinking of cathode ray tubes, which do indeed have electron guns which spew electrons in the direction of your eyes. Those electrons are supposed to hit the screen and cause it to in turn spew photons, but... maybe some of those electrons get through the screen and to your eyes, and that's what he meant to refer to? I'm reaching here, trying to find some way to make him right, but he doesn't make it easy, because a few words later is another apparent blunder: "neurons subsequently moving along that child’s optic nerves". Neurons are fixed; they do not move along nerves carrying information.)
posted by stebulus at 2:18 PM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is not a pipe.
posted by Pudhoho at 3:32 PM on December 19, 2012


Huh. How could I have never heard of this until just now? Seems like something right up my alley and that I would enjoy.

The first episode was quite compelling and well made. I look forward to seeing the rest over the next while. Something great to do with a 4-day weekend ahead for some random holiday I don't celebrate happening all around me!
posted by hippybear at 3:41 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay these are like popcorn, is there a complete cut if chapter one without the credits?
posted by The Whelk at 3:46 PM on December 19, 2012


This looks really cool.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:59 PM on December 19, 2012


is there a complete cut if chapter one without the credits?

If you use the playlists, you get the individual episodes with beginning and end credits edited out of the playable timeline. Or at least that is how it is working for me.
posted by hippybear at 4:02 PM on December 19, 2012


H+ is also the title of a magazine about transhumanism published by the Humanity+ non-profit organization.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:15 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


H+ Magazine article on brain-computer interfaces
posted by mbrubeck at 4:17 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good story and neat experiment in shooting an entire series in shaky camera!
posted by yoHighness at 4:18 PM on December 19, 2012


Okay that long steady pan over the bodies in the airport in 12 was pretty freaking cool.
posted by The Whelk at 4:28 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh. The chip cut out of the kid's wrist in Episode 9 is oddly reminiscent of these images from NIN's Year Zero album packaging.
posted by hippybear at 5:10 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man I do not care about future Italy, more Doctor Crazy Face!
posted by The Whelk at 5:20 PM on December 19, 2012


Only up to 10, but these are super great so far.
posted by odinsdream at 6:41 PM on December 19, 2012


I've watched the first 18 episodes now. Wasn't intending to, but as The Whelk says, they are like popcorn.

I'm saving the rest for later. Fantastic find, thanks so much for posting!
posted by hippybear at 7:30 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Basic physics, Phyllis Harmonic - Gibson's point being that we tend to ignore the subatomic world when we consider connectivity between humans and machines.

Saying that a kid watching television is a transhuman cyborg is pretty much the same as saying that Proust was a neuroscientist, and we all know where that gets us.
posted by pullayup at 7:54 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Saying that a kid watching television is a transhuman cyborg is pretty much the same as saying that Proust was a neuroscientist, and we all know where that gets us.

It gets me nostalgic for pastries I smelled as a child.
posted by hippybear at 8:23 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


biffa and Phyllis Harmonic were obliquely pointing out this apparent error, by pretending to take Gibson's description at face value.

Yeah, I picked up on that.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:56 PM on December 19, 2012


As a side note, I really like how creepy the using written notes to commicate secretly feels, it's a nice, cheap high/low hybrid that turns something everyday into something alien.
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 PM on December 19, 2012


Oh look at my total lack of surprise that James Urbaniak is in this. Damned key eater.

OTTH this also feels like something Micheal Hogan would be in.
posted by The Whelk at 9:46 PM on December 19, 2012


Yeah, I picked up on that.

In that case I don't understand your confusion and hope you will explain.
posted by stebulus at 4:46 AM on December 20, 2012


Saying that a kid watching television is a transhuman cyborg is pretty much the same as saying that Proust was a neuroscientist

Well, no, because the latter is a real profession with some hard requirements for achieving membership. The former is still undergoing some definition, and there's a lot of disagreement as to whether it signifies having an artificial limb or three or simply getting a microchip stuck under your skin. Gibson is simply acknowledging that, with the most popular fictional representation of virtual reality arguably being Star Trek's holodeck, the concept doesn't necessarily require special implants or even funky glasses.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:55 AM on December 20, 2012


Wow, this is going to suck when it's finished, due to the inevitable loose ends. With the exception of the comic-book-esque antitech leader who uses tech to walk, I love the world building and would be really glad to see a full-length movie exploring the results.
posted by odinsdream at 10:15 AM on December 20, 2012


Thanks for the link. I claim my place in history as the 4951st person to watch to the end of episode 48 - it doesn't seem to have wide reach so far.

A fairly entertaining yarn.
The H+ gestural interface is nicely done, and interesting, overall there is a sense of a very plausible bit of science fiction so far.
Characters seem a little 2D (as normal for TV), over heavy use of stereotypes, and the usual baddy goodie cliches.

It's good that they are experimenting with a new format. (I found that bite size chunks are perfect for bottle feeding a baby - my current occupation), but ultimately I would enjoy it more at 8 shows, rather than 48 mini stop-start of youtube.
posted by Dr Ew at 12:11 PM on December 20, 2012


Dr Ew, where did you find episodes above 44?
posted by odinsdream at 8:19 PM on December 20, 2012


Thanks for posting this, I caught up with the existing (44) episodes. I like the multiple short eps because, together with the different time points and POV, often from a first person view, they add to the chaotic feel of a societal breakdown. On the other hand, waiting for a week (the next ep is Jan 9 due to the holidays) for 3-6 minutes is a less appealing proposition. It's cool that this is a web series.
posted by ersatz at 4:54 PM on December 22, 2012


Alright, here's the episodes split up into stories, with a rough view order.

Car Park Stream
1,2,13,4,8,10(break, start Kenneth),12,16,24,28 (break, finish Kenneth),36,44

Kenneth Stream
25,27,29(break),37,33,41,43

Leena Stream
5,7,15,19,21,23,30,34,42

Italy Stream
6,14,18 (break, start Finland),20,22.31(break, finish Finland), 40

Finland Stream
3,11,9,17(break),26,32,38(break, back to Italy),

Africa Stream
39

The car park and Kenneth streams are designed to alternate, as are the Italy and Finland streams. Leena's story is a bit stand-alone, and can be watched in 2-4 episode spurts.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 1:21 PM on December 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oops, missed one. 35 should be watched directly before 36.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 1:43 PM on December 23, 2012


Chapter 8: Full Circles
posted by zarq at 6:55 PM on December 23, 2012


And yet for all their tech saavy they couldn't choose a name that you could easily search for on Youtube/Google. I've just spent 15 minutes trying to get episode 3 to show up on my XBMC Youtube plugin. Two Million bucks and a cat who likes boxes kicks their asses in terms of SEO.

C++, G+, H+. These are not handy names in this day and age.
posted by srboisvert at 12:53 PM on December 24, 2012


Tip: Search by uploader name instead: hplusdigitalservices
posted by srboisvert at 12:55 PM on December 24, 2012


Google search for H+. Youtube search for H+. Both seem to work fine. Maybe you're seeing a limitation of/bug in XMBC?
posted by stebulus at 1:20 PM on December 24, 2012


cool, just watched the first episode and I think I may really enjoy this. I love the idea.
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:22 PM on December 24, 2012


Maybe you're seeing a limitation of/bug in XMBC?

Definately! But the point is that the name makes these limitations a problem when they don't have to be. Why choose a name that is likely to trip people or api consumers up?
posted by srboisvert at 1:33 PM on December 24, 2012


For artistic reasons, I assume. I definitely see your point, but letting others' errors have a chilling effect on our own expressiveness seems... unhappily suboptimal.
posted by stebulus at 1:59 PM on December 24, 2012


I don't know which is more cruel to me right now -- knowing there are only 3 episodes of Fringe left, or knowing there are only 4 episodes of this left.

I'm a lot more invested in Fringe over the long haul, but this was really nicely done and well made and I enjoyed the presentation a lot. I will be watching on Wednesdays starting in a week or so for the wrap-up of the season, perhaps the series.

Great stuff, I've been passing it along. Thanks for posting!
posted by hippybear at 2:05 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Odinsdream - Sorry I meant 44 - lack of sleep. Wouldn't have made that typo if I had my own H+. (Oh for edit on Mefi.)
posted by Drew Glass at 3:30 PM on December 26, 2012


This is OK, but I'm finding the cutting back and forth in the story fairly annoying.

The studio is looking to make its money back purely through sponsorship and ad revenue driven by traffic.

Do youtube views pay that much? What do they mean by sponsorship? I didn't see any ads. But maybe that'll come later if the show gets popular. The view count drops off after the first few episodes.
posted by DarkForest at 5:17 PM on December 31, 2012


Wow, just binge-watched this. Watching the episodes by plot line as listed above really helped. Really enjoyed it, and I definitely want to watch more. Seems like there has been very little press on this since the summer -- are we the only ones watching it? I have questions I want the internet to figure out for me.
posted by armacy at 7:57 PM on January 1, 2013


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