Must-See Cyberpunk TV: Wild Palms #cyberpunk

Here’s a cyberpunk/cyberpunk-adjacent TV series you might have never heard of. In 1993, Oliver Stone produced a 5-hour TV miniseries for ABC called Wild Palms. The show featured an all-star cast including Bebe Neuwirth, Angie Dickinson, Dana Delany, James Belushi, Kim Cattrall, and Robert Loggia.

Wild Palms takes place in a near-future LA of 2007 🙂 A right-wing cult called The Fathers (which bear many similarities to the Church of Scientology) control large segments of the government and media. They are opposed by an organization of libertarian freedom fighters called the Friends.

The show explored the potential abuses of synthetic realities and the surreal horror of living in a world where you can’t tell simulations from the real thing. It also explored a future in which bizarre and powerful cults have infiltrated the government. Welcome to the cyberpunk now.

Wild Palms was a lot like a cyberpunk nighttime soap opera. Think: Dallas in mirrorshades. The show’s plot and 15-minutes-into-the-future tech explorations were so convoluted that ABC was afraid viewers wouldn’t be able to follow it all. So, they produced a Wild Palms Reader, a book that was published before the show premiered. Contributors included sci-fi author Norman Spinrad, musician and artist Genesis P. Orridge (anonymous), roboticist Hans Moravec, VR evangelist, Brenda Laurel, and the cyberpunk all-father himself,
William Gibson.

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