Melonie Diaz and Ethan Kent in Room 104
HBO (US), SoHo (NZ)
Release Date
July 28th, 2017 & August 4th, 2017
S01E01 “Ralphie” & S01E02 “Pizza Boy”

Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass (Togetherness) have a new anthology series (a la The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror) confined to a single hotel room where each story has a new cast of characters and week to week could be an entirely different genre.

Another anthology show released this month, The Guest Book, has a similar concept with new visitors staying in the same lodge every episode. Although in The Guest Book there are permanent residents of the town, Room 104 is much more disconnected and shifts in tone.

The first episode is about an unnamed babysitter (Melonie Diaz) who is tasked with looking after Ralphie, an unusual boy, you know the ones, they claim to have an imaginary friend that tells them evil things, and they have a tragic backstory. It soon comes apparent this first episode is a horror/psychological thriller along with its inevitable twists and turns.

James Van Der Beek in Room 104

The second story is about a pizza boy (Clark Duke) who has an encounter more than he expected as a husband (James Van Der Beek) and wife (Davie-Blue) ask for more than just pizza, it unravels into a psychosexual thriller.

These first two episodes fit more into the thriller category, but Room 104 promises more of a variety in tone, ranging from comedy to drama. On the same network as dragons and ice zombies, the Brothers Duplass finally got their ten-year-old idea of a TV show onto screens, albeit with a much tighter budget. Half the fun is not knowing what you’re going to get.

One and done in 25 minutes, Room 104 offers a new short story every episode. It’s a relief in this world of peak television where you can just come in at any point and enjoy a self-contained story.