Amit Bhalla and Lucas Jansen are no strangers to working together.
The pair are the creators of the Apple TV+ series, “Hello Tomorrow!” and serve as part of the writing team.
The series premiered on Feb. 24, and debuts a new episode each Friday on Apple TV+.
Set in a retro-future world, “Hello Tomorrow!” centers around a group of traveling salesmen hawking lunar timeshares. Emmy winner Billy Crudup stars as Jack, a salesman of great talent and ambition, whose unshakeable faith in a brighter tomorrow inspires his coworkers, revitalizes his desperate customers, but threatens to leave him dangerously lost in the very dream that sustains him.
The ensemble cast includes Haneefah Wood, Alison Pill, Nicholas Podany, Dewshane Williams, Emmy Award-winner Hank Azaria, Matthew Maher and Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver.
“We are both fascinated with salesmen because they are iconic,” Bhalla says.
The pair says they wanted to create a show that serves as a mirror for contemporary America.
“What really interested us in this story were the spiritual and psychic conditions of consumer capitalism,”says Bhalla.
Jansen adds, “We live in this age where dreaming about a better tomorrow has become a kind of relentless, universal pursuit – it sometimes looks like a deadly addiction and sometimes like our only hope. This is a show about an optimism that’s both so indomitable and so desperate, it has the power to eclipse reality itself – and leads our characters to do remarkable, ridiculous, and sometimes horrific things.”
That complicated notion of optimism is what creates the show’s unique tone. “It’s a show about delusional people in a delusional world – and that makes for situations that can be funny and heart-breaking and scary all at the same time,” Jansen says.
Setting the show in a futuristic version of the 1950s – nostalgia with a sci-fi twist – provided evocative context for the show’s themes.
Bhalla says there are a lot of obstacles to making any piece of television.
“I think that the fact that our show is an original idea, in a world where most things that are getting made are off of some existing idea,” Bhalla says. “It’s a deep testament to Apple for the trust they put into us. Once Billy got on the team, it got a lot easier. He gave us a new rush of energy as to what this thing could be and how perfect Jack could be conceived by him.”
Jansen adds that the things that made the production difficult are the same ones that made it joyful.
“We shot it out in New York and we had such a capable, talented crew from top to bottom,” Jansen says. “Everybody wants to work hard and do something that they haven’t done before. We’re trying to create a world that nobody has ever seen. It absolutely brought the best out of everybody.”
Both Bhalla and Jansen say they would buy a timeshare to the moon if the “Hello Tomorrow!” world existed.
Bhalla says the series is about the potency of dreaming.
“It’s about a collection of characters whose dreams are so desperate and so strong, that they can even transfigure the realities around them and inside of them and in between them,” Bhalla says. “We think of ourselves as two pretty delusional people and are glad of it because you know it the kind of delusions that make you say susceptible to or interested in a new life on the moon are the same kind of delusions that make you human. And the muscles that lead you to those delusions to us are not too dissimilar from the muscles that lead you to some of the other historically loaded delusions like love and forgiveness and fellow feelings. We were ready sell us anything.”