Welcome To Upload
The Sex Suit
The Grey Market
Bring You Dad To Work Day
Shopping Other Digital After-Lives
Upload is a fascinating and ingenious idea brought to life in a pretty compelling way. With some nicely placed humour and a consistent tone that evolves over time, Amazon Prime’s latest sci-fi offering takes place in the near-future with the possibility of you being “uploaded” to a perfect after-life vision, the most prestigious of which being Lakeside. At the centre of this is our main protagonist Nathan, who finds himself caught between several different storylines that weave together across these 10 episodes, ending things with an open conclusion and the hint that a second season is on the way.
The first episode, clocking in at an extended 45 minutes compared to the usual block of 30 for the rest, sets the scene for the show to follow. A little deceptive perhaps, given the turns the show takes going forward (more on that later) but for now Upload’s first episode is one of the strongest. Selfish Nathan dies in his self-driving car and finds his consciousness uploaded to Lakeview, courtesy of his overbearing and unfulfilling partner Ingrid.
With her holding all the cards to his future destiny, Nathan is forced to try and acclimatize to this new existence while being guided by his “angel” Nora, who oversees his upload and progress in the digitalized after-life. On its own, this forms a really fascinating and solid concept to play with and early on there’s certainly a lot of Good-Place vibes, with Eleanor’s struggles adjusting to her newfound reality mirroring that of Nathan’s.
Only, Upload doesn’t quite pull it off as effectively and therein lies the biggest problem with the show. The car crash mentioned earlier is a separate sub-plot unto itself which becomes more important as the episodes tick by. Alongside that is the romance between Nora and Nathan which has hints of blossoming early on but then becomes a lot more serious the longer the show goes on for. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the deep and fascinating inner turmoil Nora feels in the wake of juggling her work.
While the different narrative threads certainly keep our characters busy, where Upload really shines though is with its characters and world-building. The former sees Robbie Amell do a wonderful job as Nathan and seeing him grow across the season, and alongside Andy Allo’s conflicted Nora character does enough to prop this one up in the wake of the different storylines.
The rest of the cast do well too, with the supporting players at Horizen and Nathan’s life playing their roles well, but the abundance of interesting and fascinating near-future concepts is the real winner here. From the concept of Upload itself through to the different glitches, clones and cleverly written sci-fi ideas peppered throughout, the show does such a great job slotting these into the world naturally.
While there is comedy here, it’s subtly placed rather than in-your-face through the entirety of the show. Some of the jokes don’t always land but the ones that do – like the recurring joke about Nathan’s misplaced hair in the first episode – make up for any shortfalls with the simple one-liners.
Upload is a wonderfully fantastical vision of our near-future and with the promise of a second season to come, Amazon Prime’s latest sci-fi offering certainly has room to grow. Despite its shortfalls with the busy plot lines, Upload is a solid sci-fi offering nonetheless and well worth jumping into.
Verdict - 7/10