What at first appears to be The Good Place 2.0 is instead a warm and subtle comedy that takes another step into the afterlife – a show that we didn’t know we needed.
From Greg Daniels (the genius behind The Office [US] and Parks and Recreation), Upload stars Robbie Amell as Nathan, a narcissistic playboy and computer programmer who, after a potentially fatal car crash, is “uploaded” into Lakeview – a “heaven” for the wealthy. As Nathan acclimatises to his new life, the circumstances surrounding his final moments appear sinister. The I, Robot influence is very apparent and all too welcome.
Daniels’s mark on the show is crystal clear. Clever comedy is combined with more intricate relationships and personalities than sitcoms lend themselves to. Flirting with the comic side of death and the darker parts of life can cause a confusing narrative, but Upload is intelligent in both areas, as are both its capable leads (Amell, and Andy Allo as Nora) – not to mention Rhys Slack’s hilarious performance as Dylan, a kid who dabbed as he fell through the glass floor at the Grand Canyon – this is a comic actor with a very bright future.
The show forecasts an intriguing technological future, where members of the public wearing face masks were surely not filmed in time to purposefully be so close to home. “Vape-lung” is a common killer, and therapy pets take on a whole new meaning.
Daniels doesn’t seek out simple cheap tricks or a laugh-out-loud approach; his comedy is slower. You have to think for a second but then you laugh twice as hard.
There is no doubt that some kinks need to be worked out, as there always are in shows that reach deep into implausibility. Upload is just as weird as The Good Place but in the same way that the lack of answers is unsatisfactory, it is also what drives the show and enables enjoyment, providing you can look past the impracticality.
Upload is released on demand on 1st May 2020.
Watch the trailer for Upload here: