The Gorillaz have always been more than just a band. Their music is inseparable from the stories told about their four fictional band members: Russel, 2D, Murdoc and Noodle. Conceived by Blur frontman Damon Albarn and illustrator and Tank Girl co-creator Jamie Hewlett as a satirical dig at disposable, MTV-ready bands, The Gorillaz mix animation, digital art and music into a distinctive, tasty goulash. It’s been seven years since the last studio release by the band, but they’ve come at us with a three-pronged attack. Not only will we soon be seeing a new album and the launch of a Gorillaz music festival this year, they’ll also have their own 10 episode TV show.
The Gorillaz this may be, but The Monkees this ain’t. Although we know little about the proposed TV show, even when and where it will be shown, we do know two things: firstly, that it does exist in some form, and secondly that it’s likely to be bleak as hell. A feature-length Gorillaz movie was being developed by Dreamworks, but was dropped by the studio. According to Hewlett “It was too dark to spend a couple of hundred million dollars on.”
The TV show will probably be released alongside the upcoming album Humanz, the band’s first since 2010. The album is described as an imagined “end of the world party” following a disastrous presidential inauguration. ”How would you feel that night? Let’s make a party record about the world going fucking nuts,” said Damon Albarn. Dionne Warwick pulled out of her collaboration on the album, saying that it clashed with her religious beliefs. A TV show set in this apocalyptic vision, it’s safe to assume, might go to some pretty weird places.
We might be able to glean some idea of the content from looking at the promotional Gorillaz material released since 2016 in the form of multimedia “Where are they now” social media stories produced on each of the fictional band members. According to these, Noodle ended up in Japan and defeated a demonic crime boss, Murdoc was captured by the record label while at sea and forced to work on a new album, 2D was swallowed by an enormous whale called “Massive Dick” and washed up on the shores of Mexico and Russell, still a giant after his adventures in the Plastic Beach music videos, ended up in North Korea, where he was able to starve down to normal size. So we guess that this must mean that the TV show will be about…. Erm, no, we still have no idea.
Well, if there’s one band that we’d like to see a TV show about then this is probably the one. Guaranteed to have a wide-reaching creative scope and a jagged and biting satirical edge, the prospect is intriguing. Here’s hoping the project lives up to expectations.