Streaming service Hulu is banking even more on virtual reality technology with a new, interactive comedy series called Door No. 1, Deadline reports.
The series, which is being developed by the same team behind Virtually Mike and Nora, a five-party sketch VR comedy that also launched through the service, functions as a sort of choose-your-own-adventure, taking viewers into a fictional 10-year high school reunion. It will include integrated advertising and will star Nora Kirkpatrick (The Office) who will also serve as director for the pilot episode.
Molly Swenson, co-founder of the media company Ryot, who also serves as an executive producer for the series, likens Door No. 1 to a throwback of iconic movies like Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Except now, viewers can actually walk right into the show and interact with the cast, adding different storylines and dropping into scenes through the discovery of what she refers to as “Easter eggs.” (Any TV fan knows that TV Easter eggs typically consist of hidden bits of information or details that only keen-eyed viewers might catch).
“The level of interactivity we’re attempting with Door No. 1,” she adds, “has never been done before in this medium.”
As the first VR comedy series on a network platform, Virtually Mike and Nora, which also stars Kirkpatrick alongside Mike O’Brien (Saturday Night Live), includes short, five- to eight-minute segments for each episode. And while it has a level of interactivity, Door No. 1 will add entirely new elements, including a potential shift in the plot depending on how the viewers interact and react.
In total, there will be about 55 minutes of footage, 15 to 20 minutes of which will be interactive for the viewers. Casting is underway and filming will reportedly begin in September.
“Most of the VR I’ve seen are animated games or documentaries,” Kirkpatrick said. “No one is doing live-action comedies.”
Last summer, Hulu confirmed that its virtual reality app was compatible with Oculus Rift headsets in addition to Samsung’s Gear VR, which is powered by Oculus. Hulu’s virtual reality app was first announced in March 2016.
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