There's no lack of mockumentaries on TV (see: The Office, Modern Family), but the producers of the upcoming My Generation plan to push the model one step further.
"This is the first real show of the Internet era," creator and executive producer Noah Hawley said at the Television Critics Association's fall previews. "It's a mash-up of scripted and unscripted material."
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The show, which tracks nine students from an Austin, Texas, high school over 10 years, will incorporate home videos, photographs and other evidence to introduce the characters to the audience.
Adapted from a Swedish half-hour mockumentary series, On God's Highway, producers decided to make each episode an hour and to elevate the drama and mystery elements of the stories.
"You really are investigating who these people were and what their journeys are, sometimes pushing these characters further than they want to go," Hawley said. "There's a feeling that you're invading their privacy a little bit and that, as a viewer, you're seeing stuff that they don't necessarily want you to see.
Producers acknowledge that they have a lot of narrative gaps to close between the 2000-era high school students and present-day adults.
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"I think there's an emotional linearity, if that makes sense, to the show. Because we're able to jump around and use home movies or documentary footage from the year 2000 or a still photograph or a character being interviewed about a time in their life, everything that we use in the show helps to tell the story in a meaningful way that really fills you in on all the details." Hawley said. "There's no arbitrary jumping around. ... We do solve these character mysteries."
Additionally, producers incorporated real-world footage from important events of the last decade as they relate to the characters' journeys.
"We sort of looked at the sea change that had occurred around the world in the last 10 years," Hawley said. "And that seemed like really fertile ground to tell stories not just about these characters' personal lives, but putting it in the context of the larger world around them."
My Generation premieres on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 8/7c on ABC.