Take Black Mirror’s dystopian tech analysis, The Good Place’s thoughtful investigation of the afterlife, and the workplace pranks of The Office, squeeze them together, and you have Amazon’s Upload. It takes place in a world that could simply be 10 years from now. You can also obtain digital immortality by uploading your consciousness to the cloud. Keep reading to know what Amazon’s new series is about.
Amazon’s Upload, which premieres on May 1st, is a completely different area for Greg Daniels, the intellectual writer behind The Office, and Parks and Rec. But it’s a system that’s clearly been penetrating in his brain for years. It’s striking and suggestive in a form a network sitcom never could be, and it opposes being divided into a particular genre.
Daniels pictures Upload as a “philosophical romantic comedy science fiction murder mystery.” And after vigorously binging the series in a few days, that looks like an appropriate version. No matter what you name it, it’s strangely striking television that has lots to tell about a world where extraordinary technology and severe imbalance can coexist.
Upload focus on Nora Antony (Andy Allo), a customer support representative, or “angel,” for Lakeview, a digital afterlife service created by the wicked tech company Horizen. Encouraging people to get used to immortality might seem like an easy gig, but Nora and her co-workers deal it with all the force of an office IT job.
They have to help out with any problem, no matter how little, and for more consequential difficulties, they can also jump into the virtual world with VR headsets. Like most grunts in tech, Nora sees herself exhausted and underappreciated.
Things change a little when she has to help Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell), a hotshot tech bro involved in a self-driving car accident. He’s bound to choose: die in a natural way, or upload his consciousness to Lakeview to live forever with Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), the girlfriend he’s quietly trying to leave. It turns out it’s not much of a choice — Ingrid forces him into uploading, a fearful manner that includes evaporating his head completely.
We find Lakeview alongside Nathan: It takes the sort of a grand resort, with an unending sea of trees and clear skies. And living there is no different than being nickel and dimed by an expensive lodge. It’s the eternity, but with all of the offenses of popup ads and in-app purchases. Nathan’s support is being bankrolled by Ingrid, which gives another course of the drama. If she quits paying, his digital self will be deleted for good. Anyone paying for your afterlife completely controls you.
This being a semi-romantic comedy, it’s simply a matter of time until fires start to burn between Nathan and Nora. And yes, it’s all a little different, since he’s a digital consciousness whose actual body has died. But if you think about it, that’s not much different than online relationships in common. Thanks to advancements in virtual reality.
As they get to know each other, Nora also begins to discover that Nathan’s death may not have been by chance at all, and everyone is a suspect.
Amid the love and possible murder story, Upload is also an interesting investigation of digital consciousness. Even if some technology could take all of the matter in your brain and upload it to the cloud, is the resulting consciousness still you?
For argument’s sake, the show believes that’s the case. But there are divisions within the series that inquiry the moral character of uploading yourself to the cloud. And explain that, if it’s certainly a marvelous technology that enables humans to live forever; shouldn’t it be available to everyone? Watch the official trailer below.