By: Bill Cushing – June, 2020
Amazon’s latest series ‘Upload’ is a charming and endearing futuristic comedy series about the afterlife from Greg Daniels, the man who adapted ‘The Office’ for American audiences.
‘Upload’ is set in 2033 and centers on a man named Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell) who is killed in an accident of a self-driving car, and uploaded to a digital afterlife. Nathan doesn’t die immediately though. At the hospital he has to decide whether to attempt to repair his damaged body, or have his consciousness uploaded to a pay-to-enter virtual heaven called Lakeview. Lakeview, is the top tier of heavens, and is designed like a New England hunting lodge in perpetual autumn.
Lakeview isn’t all fun and games though. Not everyone there is totally happy. Almost immediately upon arriving Nathan contemplates suicide. Then we see other clients of Lakeview including a child who died at 11 and is stuck at that age years after he should have gone through puberty. We also see the “have nots” of Lakeview. A group called the 2 Gigs. They are only allowed 2 gigs of data each month. Based on what actions they take, their data is used up, unlike the “haves” of Lakeview who basically have unlimited data. Lakeview is beautiful and luxurious, but full of rules and restrictions, making Nathan’s new home more like a prison than paradise.
Each resident of Lakeview has an ‘angel.’ Angels monitor the afterlife activities of dozens of their clients. If they’re in need of any kind of advice or guidance, all they have to do is say “Angel!” and just like that their angel appears.
Nathan’s angel is Nora, played wonderfully by Andy Allo. Nathan and Nora have an instant connection when they meet which grows deeper and more complicated as the story develops. Nathan and Nora’s relationship is essential to the series, and Amell and Allo have great chemistry.
As the series progresses, the story becomes a little more serious. Turning from comedy to a heartwarming romance, and a suspenseful whodunit. Was Nathan’s death really an accident? Can Nora and her client Nathan have more than a regular angel-client relationship?
‘Upload’ sparkles with great writing, and great performances. Amell is charming as Nathan, but the real highlight of this series is Allo. Her performance as Nora is so beautiful and heart-melting, and this is a star making role for her.
The series even has some sharp points to make about income inequality and, bravely for an Amazon show, the increasing digital dominance of our world. While ‘Upload’ does have some dramatic moments, it never takes itself too seriously, and watching a TV show right now about a character who feels confined and helpless and trapped – in these troubled days when many of us share those same feelings provides a nice level of comfort and escapism.
‘Upload’ has already been renewed for a second season and is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
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