Today, in "WTF, This Is Bizarre But Actually Kind Of Makes The Most Sense In The World" news, it was revealed that a baffling new TV series is in the works at Showtime. Called Omniverse, it comes from the unpredictable brain-space of mega-entertainer Kanye West. and at the head of the project, taking on the role of a young alternate-reality version of West, will be actor and rapper Jaden Smith. This is either all too perfect, or...well, there's no alternate for that.
Few will be surprised to learn that Omniverse's central hook is far beyond what traditional scripted series use as narrative foundations. Here's its base-level description, which doesn't really need expanding upon in order to cause people to scratch their heads with curiosity.
Omniverse examines the many doors of perception. Season One explores the Ego through an alternate reality Kanye West.
While CBS All Access has Jordan Peele opening up pathways into the subconscious on The Twilight Zone, Showtime is apparently game to take a deep dive into various levels of perception through the prism of Kanye West. (A sentence I didn't expect to write today, this week, this year, etc.) Only, it won't even be the "real" West, but rather a version from an alternate reality, which makes it impossible to predict what Jaden Smith is getting into. Besides "weirdness," in any case.
Jaden Smith is set to play Kanye West at an age before he blew up and became one of the most famous (and consistently controversial) rappers and entrepreneurs on the planet. Of course, it's possible that in this other reality seen on the show, West isn't destined to reach the same superstar status. Perhaps he's meant to turn into pure enlightenment at some point.
The plan is for Omniverse to be a limited anthology series that utilizes half-hour episodes, which isn't the normal route for most cable dramas. (I co-champion Amazon's Homecoming for trying to normalize short-form drama series.) Not that it's been confirmed that this will strictly be a drama. Considering how off-kilter both Kanye West and Jaden Smith can be, it might be smart to add levity Omniverse in applicable doses, so that the project doesn't come cause unintentional hilarity with an overly self-serious tone.
Maybe even some dance sessions?
Actually, the bigger creative force behind Omniverse might speak to the show's more comedic approach to its subject matter. The project will be written by Lee Sung Jin, whose past writing efforts have been for shows such as HBO's Silicon Valley. He's also working on Netflix's upcoming animated series Tuca & Bertie and BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg's new Amazon series Undone.
Even in Lee Sung Jin's statement about the project, per THR, it's hard to get a read on what Omniverse will be like.
I’m honored and thrilled to be collaborating with everyone involved to present an alternate world through the eyes of a young man somewhere in the multiverse who happens to also be a Kanye West. Omniverse is not set in our world nor about our world’s Kanye West as we aim to add a new spin on alternate realities, consciousness, and push the limits of half hour narrative.
He has his hands in a variety of different business ventures, but Kanye West is embarking upon his first behind-the-scenes television role with Omniverse, though he's been seen on screen plenty of times already this season on E!'s Keeping Up with the Kardashians. There's no telling at this time whether West will join Jaden Smith on screen at any point, or even if he'll supply the music for the series, but it's hard to imagine West holding himself back from those creative decisions.
On the half-hour front, Showtime recently renewed its financial crisis comedy Black Monday, giving Don Cheadle and Regina King another year of coked-up chaos, and the network also has the Jim Carrey dramedy Kidding coming back for Season 2. Otherwise, it's already cancelled all of its other half-hour projects from recent years, with SMILF most recently getting the axe after its behind-the-scenes drama.
Omniverse doesn't yet have a release date, or even a production start. But stay tuned to CinemaBlend as we learn more about this intriguing new project.