If you enjoy current events and issues in a digestible format, you’re likely to enjoy B.J. Novak’s anthology series “The Premise.” Airing originally on September 16, 2021, “The Premise” is an experimental show looking to tackle large-scale current events and moral issues in a fictional way. Each episode follows a single character and tells a different story focused on large issues like social justice, gun control, sex, social media, and feminism. Each half-hour episode features an opening clip with creator B.J. Novak, where he introduces the issue the topic focuses on. 

Currently, the show has five episodes and has been called “Smart, thought-provoking, and worth watching. An anthology of now.” Whether you’ve seen all of the episodes of “The Premise” or are looking to learn more about it, here’s what you need to know about the show.

The Premise | Official Trailer: Anthology of Now - Season 1 | FX

Main Characters of “The Premise”

Each episode features a new set of characters in order to create a provocative story on a current issue. Here are some of the well-known characters starring in the show: 

Ben Platt

Ben Platt

After playing in “Pitch Perfect” and “Pitch Perfect 2,” Platt stars as Ethan Streiber in “Social Justice Sex Tape.” His character is a 29-year-old man whose sex tape is now in the public eye. 

Tracee Ellis Ross

Tracee Ellis Ross

Currently playing in “Black-ish,” Ross plays Rayna Bradshaw in “Social Justice Sex Tape.” Her character is a whip-smart mentor to Eve, coaching her through the trial after seeing the sex tape.

Ayo Edebiri

Ayo Edebiri

Popular for her voice acting in “Big Mouth,” Edebiri plays Eve in “Social Justice Sex Tape.” Her character is a young lawyer set on freeing her client amidst the sex tape scandal. 

Jermaine Fowler

Jermaine Fowler

Known for his work in “Coming 2 America,” Fowler plays the role of Darren Williams in “Social Justice Sex Tape.” In this episode, Williams is falsely accused of assaulting a police officer and is going to trial for his supposed crimes. 

Jon Bernthal

Jon Bernthal

After playing Shane Walsh in “The Walking Dead,” Bernthal plays Chase Milbrandt in the second episode called “Moment of Silence.” Milbrandt is a grieving father who is now the PR director for the National Gun Lobby.

Boyd Holbrook

Boyd Holbrook

Starring in Netflix’s “Narcos,” Boyd Holbrook plays the role of Aaron in “Moment of Silence.” Aaron is one of Milbrandt’s new coworkers at the National Gun Lobby.

Lucas Hedges

Lucas Hedges

After playing in multiple films including “Boy Erased,” Lucas Hedges plays the role of Jesse Wheeler in the third episode, “The Ballad of Jesse Wheeler.” Wheeler is a famous pop star who returns to his hometown to offer to build a new library, even though his intentions soon change. 

Kaitlyn Dever

Kaitlyn Dever

Starring in “Unbelievable” and “Booksmart,” Dever now plays as Abbi in “The Ballad of Jesse Wheeler.” Abbi is a student at Wheeler’s former high school and is drawn in by Wheeler’s fundraising proposal. 

O’Shea Jackson Jr.

Known for portraying his father in “Straight Outta Compton,” Jackson Jr. plays Jesse’s manager in “The Ballad of Jesse Wheeler” while advising Jesse not to go through with his new promise.

Lola Kirke

Lola Kirke

After playing Greta in “Gone Girl,” Kirk plays Allegra in the fourth episode “The Commenter.” Allegra is highlighted in the episode for her obsession with an online troll.

Soko

Soko

Soko is a French singer and actress who plays Beth in “The Commenter.” Beth is Allegra’s partner who does not understand why Allegra is so desperate to find the online troll. 

Daniel Dae Kim

Daniel Dae Kim

Playing the role of Jin-Soo in “Lost,” Dae Kim stars as Daniel Jung in the fifth episode of the show, “Butt Plug.” In this episode, Jung is a child of immigrants who evolves to become one of the richest men in the world. 

Eric Lange

Eric Lange

Starring in “Escape at Dannemora” and “Narcos,”  Lange now plays Eli Spector in “Butt Plug.” Spector is Daniel Jung’s old high school bully, who is finally looking for redemption after Jung’s major financial success.

About “The Premise” Creator B.J. Novak

BJ Novak, Creator of "The Premise"

B.J. Novak, the host and creator of “The Premise” was born in 1979 in Newton, Massachusetts. He attended Harvard University where he majored in English and Spanish literature. He was also a featured member of the “Harvard Lampoon” during his undergraduate years. 

Novak has been in a variety of films and television shows including “Punk’d” in his early days. However, Novak is best known for his role as Ryan Howard in the hit television show “The Office” starring in nine seasons. He has also held roles in “Inglourious Basterds,” “The Founder,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” and “The Smurfs.” 

When asked why he created the show “The Premise,” he stated, “These are stories about our time the way I see them. It was ‘The Twilight Zone’ without the sci-fi, ‘Black Mirror’ without the dystopian technology.” 

About “The Premise” Executive Producer John Lesher

John Lesher, Executive Producer of "The Premise"

John Lesher is the executive producer of “The Premise.” He was born in 1966 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Harvard University and began his production career at Bauer-Benedek. Later he worked for UTA before going to Endeavor. At Endeavor, he worked with big names like Martin Scorsese, Paul Anderson, and Judd Apatow. 

In 2005, he became the head of Paramount Vantage and then President of Paramount Pictures in 2008. He has worked on films including “Star Trek,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Birdman” and various other movies and television shows before “The Premise.” 

Where Can You Watch “The Premise?”

“The Premise” was originally licensed through FX streaming every Thursday evening. Now, you can watch all five 30-minute episodes of season one on Hulu. 

Here are the highlights of the current five episodes of season one. If you are interested in additional clips, unseen footage, or interviews and extras from the creators and cast, you can watch them on FX’s dedicated webpage for “The Premise”.

Is “The Premise” Worth Watching?

“The Premise” takes some of the hardest topics in current events and breaks them down into a bite-sized tv show. The show has been highly ranked for its unapologetic and necessary view into common topics of race, class, violence, and mental health. Here are the highlights of the current five episodes of season one. 

Episode One: “Social Justice Sex Tape”

This episode is the pilot of the series. It features Ben Platt as Ethan Schrieber. Schrieber’s startling sex tape is released and may be the exact thing needed to exonerate Jermaine Fowler of his supposed crime of assaulting a police officer. This episode focuses on the racial inequities in the criminal justice system as well as police brutality debates.

The Premise 1x01 Promo "Social Justice Sex Tape"

Episode Two: “Moment of Silence”

This episode features Jon Bernthal as Chase Milbrandt, who is a grieving father who just lost his young daughter to gun violence. After the death of his daughter, Milbrandt becomes the new PR director for the National Gun Lobby and works with his new associate Aaron, played by Boyd Holbrook. This episode takes a deep dive into the nation’s split on stricter gun control and increasing gun violence toward young adults. 

The Premise 1x02 Promo "Moment of Silence"

Episode Three: “The Ballad of Jesse Wheeler”

This episode focuses on Lucas Hedges’s character Jesse Wheeler, who is a pop singer and media sensation. Wheeler originally returns to his hometown and high school with a fundraising promise to build the dilapidated school a new library. However, with the media attention, his promise then shifts to offering the valedictorian sex as an achievement prize after graduation. This episode focuses on consent, safe sex, and media portrayals. 

The Premise | The Ballad of Jesse Wheeler - Season 1 Ep.3 Preview | FX

Episode Four: “The Commenter”

This episode focuses on Lola Kirke’s character, Allegra, who becomes fascinated with an internet troll who has a secret identity. As she tries to win over this troll, she sacrifices her own life and relationships. The main focus of this episode is how social media affects young minds and our perceptions of reality. 

The Premise | The Commenter - Season 1 Ep.4 Preview | FX

Episode Five: “Butt Plug”

In the final episode of season one, Daniel Dae Kim stars as Daniel Jung, a poor immigrant child who has now become one of the world’s richest men, while his high school bully tries all that he can to win back over the former victim. This episode focuses on mental health and the lifelong effects of bullying. 

The Premise | Butt Plug - Season 1 Ep.5 Preview | FX

Will There be a Season 2 of “The Premise?”

After watching season one of “The Premise,” plenty of viewers were left wondering if there would be a season two. Season one finished airing on October 7th of 2021, and as of now, there are no updates on whether season two will be released. There have been some speculations that if season two is released, it will feature some of the famous faces from the last season — as well as discuss some even more intense social issues. If season two is renewed, it will likely release around the same time as season one, in September of 2022. 

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