A group of strangers uncover a game that transforms their lives and alters their perception of reality, but the further they dive into the conspiracy the more they distrust its true intentions. However, the wildest thing about the first trailer for AMC’s Dispatches From Elsewhere might be that it’s based on a true story.
AMC has released the first trailer for Dispatches From Elsewhere, a 10-episode anthology series that stars Jason Segal—who also developed the show—Sally Field, André Benjamin, and Eve Lindley as a group of strangers brought together by a mysterious game helmed by the Jejune Institute and its enigmatic leader (played by Richard E. Grant). Each of them have been invited to become “agents of nonchalance,” discovering a hidden world of puzzles underneath the humdrum of everyday life. Much of it surrounds the disappearance of a girl named Clara, whom Segal’s character and the others are desperate to find.
Dispatches From Elsewhere might sound like the Twilight Zone mixed with Stranger Things, but it’s actually based on a true story. Between 2008 and 2011, over 10,000 San Franciscans became obsessed with an alternate reality puzzle game created by artist Jeff Hull and his company, Nonchalance. Centering around the fictional Jejune Institute, players were initiated into the game at a secret headquarters (in a similar vein to the television series) and tasked with completing a series of puzzles and social experiments, some of which were connected to the so-called disappearance of a girl named Eva.
The experiment was the subject of the 2013 documentary The Institute, which itself blurred reality and fiction to tell the story of this game that had enraptured thousands and for some felt like a bonafide religion…or a cult. Check out a trailer for the documentary below, so you can see the strange reality that inspired this equally strange bit of fiction.
Dispatches From Elsewhere debuts on March 1 in the U.S. as a two-episode event, with the second episode airing on March 2. It does not currently have an Australian release date.
Segel previously indicated that the series could continue into a second season with a new cast, keeping it an anthology that changes characters every season, but the series hasn’t been officially renewed yet.