20th Century Fox just committed to producing a television pilot called All Together Now about six twentysomethings who promise to unplug from their mobile devices and engage with each other as long as they can possibly stand it.
Seems like all the networks are jumping on the high-tech bandwagon, with heavy dramas like AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, lowbrow reality shows like Bravo’s Online Dating Rituals of the American Male and now this sitcom.
We can’t help but think turning off your mobile is a pretty thin excuse for a television series. Here are six other tech-themed pilot ideas the TV studio moguls might want to try.
Survivor: Digital Edition: Let’s take the tech-deprivation angle to the max, rounding up 10 gear fanatics and forcing them to go on a “digital sabbath,” unplugging all their devices for a week. No laptops, no smartphones, no tablets, no wearables — just natural human interaction for an entire week. Who will crack first, sneaking in an iPod shuffle or Pebble smartwatch? At the end of each episode, we’ll let the tech-heads vote off one of their number for some extra Lord of the Flies-style drama.
Share and Share Alike: Think you have what it takes to live using only the much-touted sharing economy? Let’s follow several people as they try to feed themselves, find places to sleep, get rides and create some sort of meaningful life only by sharing. The winner is the first one to make it out alive without any crime or food poisoning.
Halt and Catch Jobs: Let’s focus on a time traveler from a dystopian future where the world is run by the same type of totalitarian state we’ve seen in those old 1984 commercials, only with Apple at the top. The protagonist travels back in time to stop the production of the original Mac and, failing that, maybe even farther back to stop the two Steves from getting together in that Los Altos garage.
Stranger in a Stranger Land: How about a misfit comedy about a young man adopted into a family that only uses Apple products? What’s funny here is that the young man has been a Windows PC and Android user his whole life in the foster care system. This could be classic fish-out-of-water storytelling, with tons of opportunity for Gary Coleman-style catchphrases. “What you talkin’ ’bout, Siri?”
Digital Cyrano: Some people are just so bad at finding a date, they’ll try anything. Let’s get a Dog Whisperer-style dating consultant who uses only apps and the Internet to find, woo and secure a date for the poor schmoes who can’t do it on their own, and then make the date revolve around some awkward family event, like a wedding or funeral. Pure situational comedy gold, right here.
Life via Bitcoin: Think Bitcoin is the best thing in currency since the banknote? Prove it by competing with other digerati to live an entire week using nothing but Bitcoin. Let’s see how far our contestants can get using nothing but an ephemeral, digital-only money source in, say, Akron, Ohio, for the first season.