Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell) is rushed to hospital after a horrific self-driving car accident. His vitals are dropping, and he has 2 options: be immediately operated on or have his conscious uploaded into a virtual heaven called Lakeview. With a bit of sway from his girlfriend Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), Nathan is uploaded to the afterlife. From Greg Daniels, who developed The Office for US television and co-created Parks and Recreation, comes Amazon Prime’s latest bingeworthy comedy.
The trailer for Upload did not sell me. In fact, I literally sighed and eye-rolled once it had finished. It looked cheesy and didn’t convince me that it could keep the premise of a digital afterlife entertaining for 10 episodes (and potentially more to come). I can’t believe how wrong I was. Upload is incredibly funny, heart-warming and the final scene made me literally gasp and my eyes widened with shock.
Part comedy, part romance and part murder mystery, Upload manages to feel fresh in the comedy genre while keeping the emotional investment in each character high! Daniel’s has opted for a more adult touch than his previous shows, which lends well to some of the themes Upload deals with but juxtaposes it’s occasional serious-nature with hilarious set pieces and great characters.
The opportunities are endless in a digital world, and Upload explores some interesting aspects of this by having Uploads attend their own funerals via live streaming, visiting the ‘grey market’ to obtain unofficial updates and even explores what it’s like for a digital conscious to have sex with their living partner (it’s okay, it’s less creepy than it sounds… I think). Nevertheless, any aspect this show explores is thoroughly entertaining.
Even more entertaining is the performance from Amell as Nathan. He is incredibly likeable, charming and hits his comedic timing every time. But, when the show calls for it, the emotionality of dealing with being dead is another aspect that Amell hits well. The chemistry between Nathan and his “Angel” (a living customer service representative for Lakeview) Nora (Andy Allo) is insanely engaging. It’s impossible not to root for them to get together throughout the entire series.
Along with a plethora of side characters who provide many entertaining side plots throughout, the story never feels stale and even though we are juggling a few different genres, Upload never feels too convoluted. The comedy and romance is undoubtedly the strongest aspect, but the murder mystery side-plot provides some great emotional levity for the characters and leads to what could be a very interesting season 2.
Upload is absolutely worth binging, you’ll laugh a lot and be completely swept up in the insane premise of living in the digital afterlife.
Review by Nick L’Barrow