Tom Hanks’s long gestating web series is coming to Yahoo. Electric City, an animated futuristic series Hanks has been developing for years, will premiere on Yahoo this spring (autumn here in SA). The series includes 20 episodes, each three or four minutes long.

Yahoo, along with Tom and production partners Playtone and Reliance Entertainment, formally announced plans for the series at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas recently.

For Tom, the release of Electric City caps his efforts to find the right avenue for the project. He first tried to make it using puppets and announced it would be released early last year.

The series is set in a seemingly peaceful city in a post-apocalyptic world. Many of its themes are socially conscious topics relevant to today, including energy consumption.

“It was always our intent to have this project live and breathe online, and we felt Yahoo would be the perfect home,” said Gary Goetzman, co-founder of Playtone.

Electric City is the first of its kind, a clutter-breaking, global 360 digital project.”

For Yahoo, Electric City is its first entry into scripted original programming. Yahoo has been beefing up its online video with reality series and wrap-up news shows, many of which rank among the most-viewed series online.

Electric City will be distributed online and through tablet devices, with the usual interactivity and social media connections, but also a few new features. Most notably, it will be available in several languages.

“On the surface, Electric City is utopia and under the surface Electric City is secrets and heavy-handed state control,” said Erin McPherson, vice president and head of original programming at Yahoo. “What we found compelling is that this is perfect for a highly digital audience, a lean-forward audience who likes to utilise the medium of the internet.”

Electric City is likely to presage further scripted ventures for Yahoo : “There are a number of other opportunities we’re looking at and I think we’re uniquely poised to build these sort of tent-pole event programs,” Erin says.

“I expect you’ll see us doing more of it.” – Sapa-AP