Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

HBO Max announces celebrity-packed TV version of the Calm app

Keanu Reeves (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for LACMA), Idris Elba (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images), Nicole Kidman (Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
Keanu Reeves (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for LACMA), Idris Elba (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images), Nicole Kidman (Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
Image: The A.V. Club

Today in TV announcements that may or may not be a clever scheme to trick you into letting a streaming service run for hours and hours while you sleep, HBO Max revealed a TV adaptation of the popular Calm app. Titled World Of Calm, a press release says each half-hour episode of the show will take viewers on “an immersive visual journey to another world” through “scientifically-engineered narratives, enchanting music, and astounding footage” that will “naturally calm your body and soothe the mind.” Essentially, it sounds like the sort of thing the Calm app has offered, specifically its Sleep Stories feature, but with a new visual component created entirely during quarantine by production company Nutopia and its CEO Jane Root.

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Oh, also, the episodes will be narrated by people who are very famous. So it’s not just embarking on a soothing journey to calm your mind, it’s a soothing journey featuring the voice of Keanu Reeves, or Idris Elba, or Nicole Kidman. The full cast hasn’t been announced, unless some of them are covering multiple episodes, but World Of Calm will also feature Mahershala Ali, Oscar Isaac, Zoë Kravitz, Lucy Liu, and Cillian Murphy, with all of them using their famous voices and scientifically-engineered narratives to lull you into a perfectly pleasant state of calmness (and also possibly so you’ll leave HBO Max on all the time and some executive can point to how many people watch HBO Max for eight or so hours every night).

This conspiracy theory falls apart when you recognize that HBO Max doesn’t have ads, so it doesn’t really stand to gain anything by tricking its users into watching eight hours of programming, which means this probably is just a nice TV project about making people feel less anxious. Then again, the whole thing is an ad for the Calm app, so maybe they’ll be the ones highlighting how many people watched eight hours of this in a board meeting.

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