Throughout its 46-year existence, HBO has been a leader in acquiring new talent. Recently, the premium cabler has invested in proprietors of savvy podcasts, and now the dystopian themed podcast Lesser Gods has become one that HBO will consider. On the surface, the premise of Lesser Gods is akin to many collapse-of-society stories, as revealed in the following synopsis:
The series is set in a future where men and women are no longer able to reproduce. The five youngest people on Earth indulge in parties, affairs, rivalries, and fame while contending with the struggle to save the species.
Yet, what piques the interest of this HBOWatch writer, is that the format for this is to be a 30-minute comedy. The creator, writer, and main voice actress of Lesser Gods is Colleen Scriven. With the exception of her entertainment industry peers, Scriven is a relatively unknown rising star. Nonetheless, there is no need to doubt her ability to write and develop high caliber material. She has served as a writing assistant to showrunners on series at Showtime, and SYFY. Currently, she is an assistant to Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects) on the upcoming Utopia, a potentially groundbreaking series at Amazon TV, which was previously at HBO to be helmed by Flynn and David Fincher.
After listening to eight hours of podcasting, it is clear that Lesser Gods has a great balance of satire, bleakness, and discernment. The characters range from nihilists to pontificating zealots. To get an idea of the feel of Lesser Gods podcast, think Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men, a film that effectively showcased dwindling hope for future generation on Earth, but also had characters who maintained charisma that transcended even the direst circumstances.
Scriven will write and executive produce the series, but no other co-showrunner or executive producers have been named. Lesser Gods is one of several podcasts, and the second science fiction based comedy HBO has optioned within a year’s timeframe. Regarding the latter, Veep seasons 1-5 showrunner Armando Iannucci, is currently writing the pilot for Avenue 5, a 30-minute comedy centered on a space tourism company, set 20-30 years in the future. We will see how this develops.