A World of Calm

Let’s be real: the world sucks right now, and just making it to the end of another day can often feel like a struggle. HBO Max knows everyone is stressed the hell out, so the new streaming service is dipping its toe into the health and wellness arena with a new series where they get famous people like Keanu Reeves, Oscar Isaac, Nicole Kidman, and more to narrate over mesmerizing imagery. The series is called A World of Calm, but it might as well be called ASMR: The TV Show. Get the details below.

HBO Max wants to help you take the edge off living through this era with A World of Calm, a “totally new type of television experience”. Reeves, Isaac, Kidman, Mahershala Ali, Idris Elba, Zoë Kravitz, Lucy Liu, and Cillian Murphy will all lend their voices to the series, narrating over “mesmeric imagery” and immersing viewers in different worlds. Sounds like a great idea to me. I mean, who wouldn’t want Keanu Reeves to lull them to sleep?

Here’s how the show is described in a press release:

A timely antidote for our modern lives, each half-hour episode takes audiences on an immersive visual journey into another world. Building on the record-breaking success of Calm’s Sleep Stories™ – bedtime stories for grown ups with over 250m listens – each relaxing tale is designed to transform how you feel. Transporting the viewer into tranquility through scientifically-engineered narratives, enchanting music and astounding footage, to naturally calm your body and soothe the mind. Each story is brought to life by a different iconic voice.

The series is a collaboration between HBO Max, a sleep/meditation app called Calm, and a production company called Nutopia, which is responsible for a Nat Geo series called One Strange Rock, which featured the same breed of high-quality nature shots, slow-motion close ups, and drone photography that appears in shows like Planet Earth.

The co-founder of Calm referred to this as “visual Valium,” which is something I imagine holds intense appeal for lots and lots of people in an era in which every day brings a new barrage of depressing and fatalistic news.

The Calm Sleep Stories have been happening for years. If you’re not familiar with them, here’s a good example of one – and I suspect this will also be a template for what we’ll see in A World of Calm. In this video, actor Jerome Flynn (who played Ser Bronn of the Blackwater on Game of Thrones) reads a story about New Zealand:

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