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“The work is mysterious and important.”
Severance on AppleTV (I know) is perhaps the best TV series I have seen in the past half-decade. The premise is beautifully sci-fi in a way that a lot of scifi doesn’t attain – in that is simple yet complex once you sit with it, it presents a world that feels like it has almost actually happened.
In the word of the show, some employees undergo a procedure that “severs” their mind into their everyday personal lives and the “them” that goes into work each day. Again, it sounds simple enough, but the ramifications of this are endless.
The show feels like a workplace nightmare, the sort you have if you spend any amount of time doing a job you hate in a place you don’t really understand. The absurdities of worklife are magnified. It isn’t preachy. It is phenomenal and comes at a perfect time when we all emerge from our bubbles and question what the fuck it is we are doing with our lives and time – and who for?
The first season (it was greenlit for a second) is just nine episodes long, and they stuck the landing for the season finale. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
- Patricia Arquette devours this scenery in the best way. She’s truly one of the most interesting “villains” on the small screen.
- Turturro and Walken have incredible chemistry, and I’m glad we finally got the chance to see the two of them on screen together again since Illuminata (1998)
- Michael Chernus (Ricken) and his entire crew are a much needed breath of fresh ridiculous air, and I love them (but would never want to be stuck at a party with them).
- I spent most of the first season wanting to work with someone like Zach Cherry’s Dylan, and cheered him as the hero he was! (Give this man all the perks!)
The entire cast was phenomenal. Adam Scott is doing double, no, triple duty here. He and Jenn Tullock feel like a real brother and sister. Tramell Tillman’s Milchick road the line between kind and condescending and just-plain-awful. You want to punch Sydney Cole Alexander’s Natalie in her smiling face. Dichen Lachman goes from hateful to heartbreaking on a dime. Britt Lower plays a victim and her own victimizer!! Man, what a cast and what wonderful writing!
That season finale was perfect writing, directing (thanks, Ben Stiller!) and pacing. I was either at the edge of my seat or pacing around the living room the entire time. I got everything I wanted, and nothing I wanted, and I have no idea how the dice landed despite actually getting to see things play out (rather than an abrupt cut to black ending that other lesser shows might lean on).
Can’t wait for (and am extremely nervous about) season two! This is one of the rare shows I have no idea of what is coming.