Weird City: YouTube drops trailer for Jordan Peele anthology series

Things are about to get weird.

YouTube Premium released the first trailer for Jordan Peele and Charlie Sanders' sci-fi/comedy anthology series Weird City to its Originals channel this morning, and it looks every bit as bananas as its pedigree and title suggest. Peele and Sanders, who worked on all five seasons of Comedy Central's Emmy-winning Key & Peele, co-wrote all of the first season's six episodes.

As is Peele's wont, the series will examine a number of social issues through its own cracked sensibility, with each loosely connected episode taking on a different aspect of our modern existence. Its synopsis is as follows: "From the mind of Jordan Peele and Charlie Sanders comes Weird City, a satirical anthology set in the not-too-distant future metropolis of Weird. In this dystopian setting of our show, the middle class has completely vanished, dividing Weird City into two sections: Above the Line (The Haves), and Below the Line (The Have Nots). Presiding over the denizens of the city is the strange and mysterious Dr. Negari, who weaves all of our stories together. Each episode is a topic that pertains to present day life in America and the world: social media addiction, online dating, fitness obsession, etc. Weird City captures the unease of modern urban living, in a bizarre and peculiar lens."

The trailer helps to flesh out how this premise will be played for laughs, opening on a well-to-do couple lamenting about how sick they are of truffles before whisking us away "Below the Line," where a group of rich folks are taking a bus tour of some sort. "This is so vibrant!" exclaims one, while a wide-eyed young woman expresses her puzzlement at the sight of a coin-op laundry. "What is that?!" she asks. "Is this some kind of theme park?" One of her companions helpfully explains that it's called a laundromat, and that people Below the Line wash their own clothes, prompting moans of disgust from the entire group (which includes The Walking Dead's Steven Yuen).

We then get a series of shots highlighting key players in the series' cast (including Ed O'Neill, Rosario Dawson, and LeVar Burton) as a voiceover explains that the rich are assigned mates at birth based on DNA testing. (O'Neill's character gets a bit of a surprise upon the reveal of his assigned "one that's the one.") We see skewed near-future versions of smart homes, VR porn (which ensures that Above the Liners "no longer need physical intimacy at all"), and online wardrobe shopping (which is no longer quite so online as it is now). We also get a look at a security pat-down at The Line itself, one that ends — strangely — with a hugely unsettling laugh, much like the recent trailer for a different, highly-anticipated Peele project.

YouTube Premium, which scored its first major hit last year with the comedy/drama Karate Kid revival Cobra Kai, looks to have a sure-fire winner on its hands with this one. The rest of the first season's cast is revealed in blink-and-you'll-miss-it quick cuts, and what a cast it is: in addition to those previously mentioned, we have Dylan O'Brien (who recently voiced the titular Autobot in Bumblebee), Michael Cera, Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), Sara Gilbert (The Conners), rapper/actress Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians), veteran voice actress Yvette Nicole Brown, Auli'i Cravalho (Moana), and the great Mark Hamill all participating.

Weird City's behind-the-camera talent isn't exactly chopped liver, either. Last June, Deadline reported that Jose Molina (Sleepy Hollow, Marvel's Agent Carter) would be serving as showrunner and executive producer. Directing the first two episodes from Peele and Sanders' scripts will be Adam Bernstein, who has handled episodes of such lauded TV comedies as Scrubs, Fargo, and 30 Rock. Also executive producing through Peele's Monkeypaw Productions is Win Rosenfeld, who filled the same role on last year's critically adored feature Black KkKlansman and is currently at work on Peele's upcoming Twilight Zone revival for CBS All Access.

In a statement coinciding with the series' announcement, Peele had this to say: "Charlie Sanders and I collaborated on some Key & Peele sketches that took on everything from the 'Black Republicans' to 'Continental Breakfasts' to 'Family Matters.' Now, with YouTube we present a series of comedy driven, twisted-ass science fiction stories that take place in a world close to ours but just a little bit off."

YouTube's Global Head of Original Content Susanne Daniels likewise issued a statement in which she sounded truly pumped to have scored such mind-bending talent to shepherd the new series to the Premium platform. "We are thrilled to be in business with Jordan, Charlie, and Jose, who have brilliantly created a highly entertaining satire that will be a timely send up of modern society," she said. "We are excited to partner with… all of the innovative storytellers behind Weird City to push boundaries and redefine what a comedy series can be."

If you haven't checked out YouTube Premium's slate of original programming yet (Cobra Kai in particular), may we humbly suggest that there is no time like the present. Weird City will drop its debut season on February 13, 2019.