It’s time to binge season two of HBO’s cult anthology series Room 104, now streaming first and only on Showmax in South Africa. Set in a single room of a typical American chain motel, it’s designed to be nibbled on rather than devoured – the episodes are 24 minutes or less and not linked in any way beyond the room – the genre, the characters and even the era change every episode.
Here are five reasons you should add this to your watchlist – to consume at your leisure…
Season two is one star-studded affair
According to creators Jay and Mark DuPlass, there are just four rules tying Room 104 together: the filmmakers only have three days; can use three actors at most; the actors aren’t allowed to leave the room; and it’s the Acting Olympics.
It’s a challenging formula that’s attracted some of the best talent in the world this season, including 2017 Oscar-winner and 2019 Golden Globe winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Green Book); two-time Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals); two-time Emmy nominee Brian Tyree Henry (This Is Us, Atlanta); three-time Emmy nominee Rainn Wilson (The Office); and Teen Choice nominee Judy Greer (Ant-Man, Jurassic World).
It’s from The Duplass Brothers
The Duplass Brothershave been hailed as ‘an unlikely Hollywood juggernaut’ by Wired and ‘indie film darlings’ by Time Out New York.
They won an Emmy last year for executive producing Wild Wild Country, while their directing credits include the Critics Choice-nominated HBO series Togetherness; the SXSW Audience Award-winning feature The Puffy Chair; and the Berlin-winning short film The Intervention. More recently, the brothers have been just as successful in front of the camera, with Jay nominated for a Critics Choice award for his role as Josh Pfefferman in Transparent and Mark starring in Emmy-nominated shows like Big Mouth and The Mindy Project and Golden Globe winners like Goliath.
It’s one of the weirdest shows around
It’s hard to give you a sense of how weird Room 104 can get without giving away any of its twists. Let’s just say Refinery29 compared it to “the original weirdo anthology classic, The Twilight Zone.. bizarre, sometimes scary, and always deeply human… something completely new, and deeply weird.” So weird that Michael Shannon rapping – in a Russian accent – seems fairly normal in the bigger scheme of things…
Critics love it – and think it’s getting better and better
Season two currently has an 89% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. For example, Vulture called it “weird, surprising and packed with great actors.” Even people who didn’t love season one are raving about season two. As Film School Rejects put it “season two is bigger, weirder and well worth your time…. finally hitting its stride in its sophomore season, growing beyond a cool storytelling conceit into a star-studded, artistically prestigious endeavour.”
Burnt out on binge-watching? This is the show for you.
It can be daunting committing to seven seasons of your favourite show, knowing you’ll have to sit through cliff-hanger after cliff-hanger in search of a satisfying ending that may never come. Thankfully, Room 104 has no cliff-hangers; rather, it gives you a satisfactory ending every 24 minutes. What other show can claim that right now?
Watch the trailer: