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Syfy’s 12 Monkeys will mess with the lights in some viewers’ homes

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Syfy has announced that it’ll be giving certain viewers the option to let the network take control of their home’s lighting systems during broadcasts of its upcoming series 12 Monkeys. The new show—based on the 1995 Bruce Willis film, and set to debut on Jan. 16—will come with a “light track” that owners of Philips’ smartphone-interactive Hue lighting system will be able to use to view a custom light show, synced to the show’s content. (Presumably, warmer colors will be used during emotional scenes, while blues and greens will indicate that the viewer should feel a gradually growing unease at the power of corporations and networks to influence everything, down to the lighting in their very own homes.)

12 Monkeys will be the first time Hue has been integrated in this way with a TV series, although Syfy developed a similar light track for the 2014 debut of its TV movie Sharknado 2 (because nothing can ruin the delicate mise-en-scène of sharks chasing a subway car down a water-filled train tunnel like poor ambient lighting). Clearly, the network is committed to working with Philips and exploring what in-home light shows can add to its programming, and this whole thing definitely isn’t the result of some network executive desperately trying to justify his $200 lightbulb purchase to a frowning spouse.


A hundred years from now, when The Networks adjust the oxygen mix in our habitubes to induce gentle, spending-friendly euphoria during commercial breaks, and pump extra sugar into our nutrient slime when Pleasant Actress Alpha-6901 comes on our screens to bump up her Q score, this whole “voluntary ambient lighting control” thing will probably seem pretty quaint.