The Roman Empire never fell in Bryan Singer's new series August One

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Apr 24, 2017

The veteran director of four X-Men films is bringing an alternate universe thriller to a new digital platform.

According to Deadline, Bryan Singer is producing a new series called August One that takes place in an alternate future where the ancient Roman Empire did not crumble and instead grew into a technologically advanced civilization that is now on the brink of collapse. It's also a pretty dark society where concepts such as slavery, sin and corruption have been "culturally normalized."

That description comes from the entity that's backing the production, a new French digital streaming platform called Blackpills. The company is described as a "mobile-first" distributor specializing in short-form series that are usually comprised of 10 episodes each, with the segments running anywhere from five to 10 minutes. In other words, it's perfect for attention-deficit millennials who have their eyes all but surgically attached to their phones (I'll go back to shouting at clouds in a moment).

In any case, the series is the creation of John Cabrera, who previously created H+: The Digital Series for Singer's Bad Hat Harry production company. A release date, along with a cast and other details, have yet to be announced.

Alternate history stories have been a staple of sci-fi forever, and the success of a series like The Man in the High Castle could probably inspire other takes on these kinds of scenarios. Of course, the original Star Trek did the Roman Empire idea first, in a 1968 episode called "Bread and Circuses," where Kirk, Spock and McCoy fought in televised gladiatorial battles on a planet where the Roman Empire had evolved technologically to the equivalent of Earth's 20th century.

As for Singer, he's leaving the X-Men feature films behind for now to concentrate on his Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, although he's still a producer on the acclaimed X-related TV series Legion. Do you think this August One series sounds interesting, and will you watch a digital short-form series like this?