The Lazarus Project
The Lazarus Project tells the story of George (Paapa Essiedu), an app developer who finds himself stuck in a time loop after witnessing the world succumb to a deadly virus. After a few loops – all of which end the same way, with the end of the world – he begins to seek answers, which he finds in the form of Archie (Anjiji Mohindra), who recruits him into the titular Lazarus Project, an organisation with the ability to reset the world to particular “checkpoints” to avert apocalyptic scenarios. George settles into his unusual new work with enthusiasm, but when a freak accident throws his life into disarray, he begins to question the ethics of the Lazarus Project’s operations.
It’s an interesting premise, and the show wastes no time exploring the philosophical and ethical implications of a reset button for the Earth, as well as the psychological effects that such an ability would have on people who are aware of it. This is the core of The Lazarus Project’s narrative, contrasting the grand ideal of saving the world against the moral ramifications of the Lazarus Project’s reset machine on an individual level. This juxtaposition of macro and micro works well, and while some moments can overstay their welcome a bit, the show generally does an excellent job of balancing its big philosophical ideas with small, focused character arcs.
Owing to its time-hopping conceit, the series also leaps forwards and backwards in time, offering glimpses of previous versions of the world that all ended in disaster. This structure works well to highlight the immense mental toll the organisation’s work has on its agents and maintain the strong narrative momentum, ensuring a fresh and engaging experience even with a relatively simplistic plot. The Lazarus Project’s narrative stakes are lower due to the presence of the reset button, so the show’s writing leans hard on the moral stakes, which add dimensions of horror and tension and make for compelling drama, bolstered by a talented cast who bring strong, complex performances to the table.
Overall, The Lazarus Project is an intelligent and thought-provoking exploration of a classic sci-fi trope, using a big abstract concept as a catalyst for several gripping character studies. While it can suffer from a few pacing issues at times, these moments don’t detract from an otherwise solid experience.
The Lazarus Project is released on Sky on 16th June 2022.
Watch the trailer for The Lazarus Project here: