As I am sure you are, I’m stuck inside all day, bored out of my mind not sure what to do during this quarantine period. And, so I, with literally nothing to do, thought I should create some posts and binge some shows, which is great for this blog! Recently, a little show called Upload has caught my attention, and considering I finished reviewing Westworld, I thought this could be fun to move onto.
Upload is a new show by Greg Daniels (The Office and Parks and Recreation), which premiered on Prime Video. It follows a computer programmer named Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell) who meets an early death and is ‘uploaded’ into virtual heaven by his rich girlfriend Ingrid Kannerman (Allegra Edwards), and as a result Nora Anthony is assigned as his ‘angel’ (Andy Allo), whose job it is to ensure Nathan’s transition into heaven is smooth.
Upload is, honestly an enigma, and that makes it so interesting to review. No matter what I say in this review, it can’t prepare you for how you will feel watching it. There will be times you will cringe at what is happening but there will be other times where you will love the show, and can’t wait to press play for the next episode.
Upload, above everything else manages to find the perfect balance in so many aspects, it juggles so many different genres, all of which it manages to get right eventually. And, that is just it, at times, the show attempts certain things that just made me cringe. A great example of this is the private investigator that is introduced, and that when introduced feels cringey and out of place, but yet as the show grows, and continues really manages to find its footing and works.
Greg Daniels manages to create something really special that follows in the footsteps of The Good Place, and Pushing Daisies. As Daniels combines satire, with Sci-Fi, with comedy, with drama, with mystery, with romance and he manages to balance every one of those genres out for the most part. Each episode is roughly twenty-six minutes long and because of such, each episode feels so fresh and before I know it, I’m pressing play to watch the next episode.
The show not only has so many genres to explore, but its story is so rich, we have so much to explore, like world-building of not only the virtual one but also the real world that is set in the future. There are so many characters to explore that are vital to Nathan, both in virtual heaven (Lake View) and in the real world, some that have a pre-existing relationship with Nathan that we must learn and others that we watch get built.
The show has a great premise, it’s bleak and if you liked any of the genres I named, there’s something here for you! Upload is very successful in building this world, and building the characters, working as a comedy as we see these characters bounce off one another, with there being such a pool of characters, everything is considered. Upload explores a lot, there is a child character that is in Lake View with Nathan, and there is also a black and white character that is in Lake View as that is the only picture that could be scanned.
There’s the question of morality, and ‘what is heaven?’ that is explored throughout the show, as we feel one of the characters may lose someone they love forever, because they refuse to leave their life behind, providing some needed social commentary, as being uploaded is only for the rich. What is most wonderful, is there is still so much to explore, so many story threads have been left hanging.
Whilst there is comedy and Sci-Fi, what is great is the emotional depth that is unravelled as the show grows. Whilst the show is centred on Nathan Brown, I would argue that Andy Allo’s character Nora, is the true powerhouse of the show, as she is amazing in everything that is asked for her. Whilst, Robbie Amell brings his A-game later on in the season. My favourite character of the show however is Zainab Johnson’s Aleesha, Nora’s coworker and her dynamic with Kevin Bigley’s Luke.
So, no, Upload isn’t the greatest thing you will ever watch, but in someway, still manages to feel fun and fresh and is ultimately worthwhile. The only downside is, it could’ve been great, and whilst it gets a lot right, Upload never quite fires in the way it could or should, and with all the characters and the brilliant world-building, which is a disappointment. A show that could be special, ends up feeling okay. The ending, and where the story lines left open does makes me excited for a second season and I will watch it, but I can’t help but feel it isn’t something special and it’s a show I probably wouldn’t re watch.