Dimension 404, debuting Tuesday on Hulu, is not quite the American answer to the acclaimed British drama series Black Mirror, which airs on Netflix in the States, though it is understandable why one would assume that to be the case.
On paper the two shows are connected by a similar format and theme. Both are sci-fi anthology series featuring a new cast each episode and both explore the weird and terrifying world made possible by the digital age. But while Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror is darkly satirical and frequently offers a bleak look at our modern reality, Dez Dolly’s and Will Campos’ Dimension 404 takes a different approach and won’t leave viewers in a state of existential despair for hours after the credits roll.
But the ability to watch an episode and not feel terrible about your life is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are four reasons to check out the new series, debuting Tuesday, April 4 (4/04, get it?) on Hulu.
1. It’s not just fun, sometimes it’s even funny
This isn’t to say that Dimension 404 is always bright and cheery — one episode features a brain-sucking inter-dimensional monster that attacks unsuspecting theatergoers via a mysterious new 3D video format. But the series also isn’t terribly upsetting on a regular basis, with some episodes even daring to be called funny. So for those who couldn’t stomach the terrifying potential of the cold realities featured in Black Mirror, Dimension 404 is a great alternative offering everything from horror comedy to action adventure.
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2. It focuses on the wonderful as well as the terrifying
In addition to Black Mirror, Dimension 404 shares DNA with such iconic anthology series as The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. It proudly wears its influences on its sleeve as it leans on several staples of science fiction to tell its varied stories and finds joy in twist endings. But perhaps the show’s greatest asset is its ability to bring new life to its familiar material, which it does by alternately exploring both the wonderful and the terrifyingly bizarre worlds made possible by the constant evolution of technology.
Each episode is grounded by the relatable people at its center and focuses, on the most basic level, on how they ultimately deal with an increasing reliance on technology in a world where it’s impossible to keep up with all the changes. Sometimes the story it’s telling is creepy, sometimes it’s playful, but it’s always interesting, and that’s what makes it enjoyable hour to hour.
4. The cast is pretty darn great
The series is narrated by Mark Hamill, which is pretty cool in itself, but each episode of the series is also littered with familiar faces. Viewers will recognize Patton Oswalt, Joel McHale, Robert Buckley, Lea Michele, Megan Mullally, Constance Wu, Ashley Rickards and Sarah Hyland, just to name a few. But the fact that the cast is familiar isn’t as important as the fact that nearly everyone appears to have been perfectly cast, too. Oswalt plays a classic movie loving purist who doesn’t want the movie-going experience to be ruined by constantly changing technology, while Buckley gets to show off the self-deprecating humor and charm that has made him a fan favorite on The CW’s iZombie.
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3. It’s easily bingeable
Despite their self-contained nature, Dimension 404’s hour long episodes will have an interesting roll out on Hulu. The first three episodes will be released April 4, with the remaining three episodes following in the subsequent weeks. And for those who prefer to binge their television, the series is easily downloadable in large chunks.
The show’s aforementioned ability to tell stories that won’t leave viewers despondent on the couch and the variety of the stories being told is what also allows for multiple viewings at a time. For instance, one episode features a new dating app that’s definitely too good to be true as one man quickly discovers, while another explores time travel and the power of our relationships to pop culture. So if you don’t have time to watch the series right away (April is an incredibly busy month for TV), it’s OK to let this one build up before digging in.
Dimension 404 premieres Tuesday, April 4 on Hulu.
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