Tom Hanks' animated, anti-dystopian Star Trek-inspired Web series

When you think Tom Hanks, you probably think World War II, astronauts, desert islands, that weird Da Vinci Code hair, and life being like a box of chocolates. But now we guess we should be thinking Star Trek and Robert Heinlein, too.

It's been six years in the planning, but Hanks is finally getting ready to launch his Web-based animated series Electric City, which he described to the New York Times as "a very gripping, almost film-noir, very serious look at a future that was not a dysfunctional dystopia, that an awful lot of the future things are." His original idea involved marionettes, which we're glad to hear he abandoned, because we don't know that the world is ready for another Fireball XL5.

Hanks said that the series would be modeled on the original Star Trek, which he called "an awfully good adventure" with "a bunch of cool stuff that you can latch onto." Here's how he described the world we'll be visiting in next year's 20 three-minute webisodes:

"Without a doubt, everything has changed, but not necessarily for the worst. ... In fact, a good life and good world has been created out of the usual end-of-life scenarios. It hasn't degenerated into an Orwellian society—just the opposite."

It turns out that Hanks isn't just watching Star Trek, but reading the classics as well:

"I remember the first story I read by Robert A. Heinlein," said Hanks, "which was Have Space Suit—Will Travel. I literally thought, where has this guy been? Then I read everything of his that I came on, and I discovered this whole new racket. This is the most fun you could possibly have with a typewriter."

So what do you think? Will you be checking out Electric City when it debuts next year?

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