New Form Digital wonders what happens if everyone knew that time was repeating itself.
You wake up, only to discover you’re living your disastrous 25th birthday over and over again. Not only that, but your friends are realizing it too, except instead of trying to fix things, they’re going wild in a consequence-free reality.
That’s the premise behind RePlay, a modern take on the classic Groundhog Day concept from New Form Digital that premieres today on go90 with weekly episodes each Wednesday. Instead of just the protagonist realizing her world’s repetitive nature, the people around her start to realize what’s happening as well.
“As she’s trying to get [the day] right, they realize there’s no consequence to their actions,” explained series star Tyler James Williams, who plays Nate, main character Allison’s best friend.
“He’s one of those guys who’s the ultimate nice guy, who thinks that will lead him to what he ultimately wants,” Williams said. “He wants to be in a relationship with her. He has to deal with himself, about why he wants to be with her, and what it means to be in an adult relationship. He starts to find that his motivations are shifting for what he wants. He realizes he may not even know himself completely.”
Fans might know Williams from his time on The Walking Dead, his role in Sundance breakout Dear White People, or his other Wednesday series, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. Overall, the cast is filled with familiar faces, from Agent Carter and Nikita’s Lyndsy Fonesca as Allison to co-star Cyrina Fiallo, who’s appeared on Community and Glee. There are also appearances from digital-first stars like Mamrie Hart.
There’s a special set of challenges to a show that repeats the same scenes with new distinctions, especially in the shooting schedule. The series was shot in block segments, with repeating moments shot over and over again so that they could keep track of what was happening.
“We definitely had to take good script notes,” said Williams. “We had to remember which one is this one, what am I feeling here, what just happened the day before. The writer were really good with keeping track.”
For now, the series is shot as a contained unit with a set ending, but that doesn’t mean it can’t come back for a second season.
“There’s talk of it being an anthology series if it were to get a second season, with a different group of people each time,” said Williams. That type of storytelling has proven particularly successful with mainstream outings like American Horror Story.
Go90 is Verizon’s entry into the digital video platform, a mobile-only media outlet that’s drawn content from big name brands as well as digital celebs. Williams, who describes himself as an “old school, traditional actor,” said while he doesn’t aspire to become a “social media entertainer,” he does enjoy finding interesting projects regardless of medium.
“Although the releases are different, they’re all being shot the same way,” said Williams of his foray into mobile video, noting that a go90 release is like “cutting out all the middlemen and getting right to the consumer.”
“I know the world is shifting, so it’s something I’m getting accustomed to,” he said.
The premiere episode is on go90 now, and the Daily Dot has an exclusive clip of Fonesca and Fiallo’s characters dealing with the friendship fallout of Allison’s failed 25th birthday.
For Williams, working on a show like this further solidified his belief that all things happen for a reason. He’s not looking to repeat any days in his life any time soon.
“That’s kind of what this show is about,” he said. “If you go back to fix one thing, that butterfly effect could change it for something worse. It went down how it was supposed to go down, and I’d rather live with these consequences than whatever else could possibly be wrong.”
RePlay airs Wednesdays on go90.
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