First announced in 2019 under the name Platform, B.J. Novak’s FX anthology series project has always seemed kind of baffling. At the time, all we knew is that each episode would have a different tone and that they would address “the boldest issues of our times” through “singular, character-driven stories about the world we live in today.” To sell the concept, Novak (who is at least co-writing each episode and directing some of them) filmed two pilots, one a dramatic episode and the other a “more comedic episode.”
Now, with the show retitled The Premise and FX officially announcing the cast and some specific episode details, we have a better idea of what the heck this is: Black Mirror but with contemporary issues instead of scary cellphones. Instead of taking place in the future and exploring a concept like “you have a thing in your eye that can record every moment of your life for fun” in the bleakest possible way, it takes place in the present and explores a concept like “you see a cop beating someone up in the background of your sex tape.” (That’s one of them, and it involves an ensuing court case.)
There’s an episode about a guy taking a job for pro-gun lobbyists just after his daughter is shot, an episode about the child of immigrants becoming a super rich adult and then forcing his old school bully to pitch investors on “a very specific product” (the episode is called “Butt Plug”), an episode about a pop star promising to have sex with the valedictorian of a local high school to try and encourage everyone to get good grades, and—in the closest thing to a sci-fi concept in this lineup—a completely hilarious and unrealistic scenario about a woman who sees a mean comment about her online and decides to do everything she can to win the commenter’s approval (rather than blocking them, feeling bad about herself because of what they said, and then downloading a browser plugin that automatically removes the comments section from all websites).
The cast includes Ben Platt, Tracee Ellis Ross, Daniel Dae Kim, Lola Kirke, Soko, Jermaine Fowler, Ayo Edebiri, Eric Lange, Lucas Hedges, Kaitlyn Dever, Jon Bernthal (he’s playing the guy in the gun episode, Punisher fans), O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ed Asner, George Wallace, Boyd Holbrook, and Beau Bridges. The first two episodes (out of five total) will premiere on FX On Hulu on September 16.