HBO’s latest series – Room 104, an anthology set in a hotel - has just released its first teaser and announced its premiere date. The series, which is the brainchild of indie filmmaking duo Jay and Mark Duplass officially bills itself as: "1 room. 12 different stories. Infinite possibilities." The cast is predominantly made up of lesser-known actors, though there are some familiar faces here with James Van Der Beek (Dawson's Creek) and Karan Soni (Deadpool’s beloved Dopinder), as well as Jay Duplass himself and Philip Baker Hall (Bojack Horseman), to name but a few.
So far, there isn’t a lot to go on with regards to the series’ storyline but the basic concept is that a small room in a typical American hotel chain has a lot of stories to share. Each of the series’ 12 episodes will focus on a different tale and at present it seems that the majority of the series’ cast will only appear in a single episode each – though there are a handful of characters who will make an appearance in at least two episodes. For the most part however, this appears to be a rather strict anthology with the room itself being the focal point.
The teaser (which can be viewed above) comes to us directly from HBO, revealing the series will premiere on July 28th. The teaser hints at a series with loads of chaos and humor, though exactly what these situations that take place in Room 104 are is anyone’s guess. HBO had previously announced the series late last summer, as reported by Deadline, just prior to commencing production in Los Angeles. At the time, Jay and Mark Duplass had this to say about Room 104:
“We’ve all seen stories set in seedy motels and high-class international resorts, but for years we’ve been fascinated by the funny, weird, sad, scary, absurd things going down in that corporate chain hotel near the airport. That’s what Room 104 is after… finding some magic in the seemingly mundane.”
The series is part of an overall deal with HBO that the Duplass brothers signed, the likes of which was responsible for the comedy/drama Togetherness (canceled last year by HBO) as well as the adult animated series Animals, which just finished up its second season last month.
Fans of the Duplass brothers know that the pair is capable of creating warm, realistic, funny content and many were very disappointed to see HBO cancel Togetherness after only two seasons. But given that anthology TV arguably hasn’t found substantial success for decades, it’s hard to see Room 104 faring much better. If HBO wasn’t willing to give Togetherness – a series that had a lot going for it in terms of acting, story and direction – a little more time to build its following, then a decent lifespan for the anthology driven Room 104 doesn’t seem that promising, either.
Then again, as we’re all aware, trends can develop at the most unlikely of times in the most unlikely of places when it comes to film and television. Perhaps the lengthy drought that anthology programming has experienced just needs one smartly crafted example to pull it back up into the mainstream once more. That remains to be seen and for those who find themselves drawn to Room 104’s apparent quirk and uproarious style, its premeire can’t come soon enough.
Room 104 premieres July 28 at 11:30pm on HBO.