New comedy series shot in Singapore revolves around tech blunders

Alaric Tay (second from left) is director and producer of Sent, which features (from left) Haresh Tilani, Carla Dunareanu and Alan Wong.
Alaric Tay (second from left) is director and producer of Sent, which features (from left) Haresh Tilani, Carla Dunareanu and Alan Wong.PHOTO: HBO ASIA

Singapore cast, crew, locations showcased in TV series Sent, HBO Asia's first foray into comedy

If you have ever e-mailed or texted the wrong person, you would identify with the premise of HBO Asia's new TV series Sent.

The eight-part comedy series - HBO Asia's first foray into comedy, which was shot entirely in Singapore - is about a meek office worker named Jay who contains his anger at people by drafting aggressive fake e-mails to them. His life is turned upside down when the e-mail drafts are all accidentally sent out.

The cast of the show, which premieres on HBO (StarHub TV Channel 601) on Sept 17, certainly have had their share of similar technology-related boo-boos.

Actor Alan Wong, who plays Jay's friend Max in the show, recalls the time when he sent an e-mail meant for a girl he was dating at the time, to his boss instead.

"They had the same first name - and that's going to get you. The first Emily is not always the right Emily," said the 31-year-old Chinese-American at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

His co-star Carla Dunareanu, who plays his wife Zoey, once sent a text message to her ex-boyfriend when she had meant to send it to a friend.

The 28-year-old, who is of Romanian and Chinese-Singaporean decent, said: "I took a screenshot of a quote that was empowering, and I wanted to send it to my best friend. It was something like, 'I don't need anyone by my side, the world is mine.'

"My ex saw it and was like, 'What is this?' I think he got the message."

Meanwhile, lead actor Haresh Tilani, who plays Jay, has been bitten by technology as well - even though it was not entirely his fault.

The comedian had sent a dirty message to his friend as a joke, punning on the Gentle Bones concert that his friend had been watching at the time. But as the phone signal was jammed during the concert, his friend received the message only hours later while out with his girlfriend, making for an awkward date.

Tilani, 33, said: "It sounds ridiculous, but it's a true story. Oh, technology."

Alaric Tay, director and producer of the show, was the only one at the press event who could not really think of a tech mishap that has happened to him - that is probably because he tends to avoid technology completely.

"And I'm lucky that my wife is a lot more techy than me. She helps me out with these things," said Tay, 38, who is best known for his work on the Mediacorp Channel 5 comedy series The Noose.

Still, making a show revolving around tech blunders appealed to him immediately and he signed on for the job as soon as he got the call from HBO Asia to do it. This is Tay's first time directing a TV series, but he has directed short films such as When We Were Bengs (2006) and Final Defect (2013).

"Everything is changing due to technology - the way we commute, the way we eat, the way we shop. I could definitely relate to that.

"And this being an HBO Asia production means that it will be seen on an international level. I'm so very, very proud that I got the opportunity to do something like this, where it's shot in Singapore, with a Singapore cast and crew, and to showcase it to the rest of the world."

• Sent premieres on HBO (StarHub TV Channel 601) on Sept 17 at 9pm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2017, with the headline 'Much ado about tech boo-boos'. Print Edition | Subscribe