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Logline: An ambitious, but solitary tech support lackey forms an unlikely friendship with a Siri-like assistant who he unwittingly upgrades into a crass sentient A.I.
Comps: Silicon Valley, Wilfred
This script received an 8 from The Blacklist. Here’s the full review.
Locations: New York
An ambitious but isolated customer support worker makes a new friend, MARTHA: a Siri-like AI whom he inadvertently transforms into a crass misanthrope and unleashes onto the world.
This script is incredible. It takes close to full advantage of its wacky concept. The writer smartly plays off of the audience’s expectations of a “rogue AI” trope shown in countless sci-fi movies to craft a truly hilarious and surprisingly deep character in Martha. The humor is varied and biting; the lambasting of both tech-bro culture and New York improv is darkly funny to anyone familiar with those worlds. The escalation of the plot and the growth of Martha’s chaotic personality are both presented in succinct and darkly funny ways; Martha’s exposing Micheal and getting him fired is a hilariously smart way to set up the potential series that will, presumably, see Peter rise to power with Martha’s help. It’s incredibly impressive how this script ultimately ends up being a two-hander between Peter and Martha. This script so effectively sets Peter up as a loner, someone who is more comfortable in front of a computer than interacting with another human being, that it makes a kind of twisted sense that, by the story’s end, his new best friend would be an AI. This script is hilarious, but it’s also incredibly relatable to anyone who has felt lonely or isolated in the social media age.
There are some areas that might benefit from minor revisions. Those with no knowledge coding or program development might lose track of what, specifically, is happening in the scene where Peter “upgrades” Martha. Given that the factory version of Martha can speak, there are opportunities for Peter to talk with her and thus explain via dialogue what it is he’s doing and how it is going to change her. The character of Alisha is given a lot to do, story-progression wise, but the script feels like it forgets about her in the back half. Peter’s relationship with Michelle could also be more developed. As written, it feels like Michelle’s function is to get Peter to the improv show, rather than be a dynamic character in her own right.
TV series potential: Incredibly strong. This is a great concept that, more importantly, is executed in a smart and fun-to-follow way. The comedy potential is evident on every page.
Overall - 8
Premise - 9
Plot - 7
Character - 8
Dialogue - 8
Setting - 7