You know what the perfect shows to binge during this shitty COVID-19 time that we are trying to get through with a forced smile on our faces? Half hour comedies. They are 100% perfect. Not too long, not too short, binge-able over a weekend where you don’t forget about them immediately afterward. Never Have I Ever, that just debuted the beginning of last week on Netflix is a recent example of what I’m talking about. And while I still prefer that new show more, you can add UPLOAD SEASON 1, that just debuted on Amazon Prime Video during the weekend, to that list. It’s also a quick 10 episodes, albeit the first one is a rare 45 minutes, because it’s a pilot and it tries to establish the set up without it feeling rushed but while also trying to get it out of the way. My wife and I devoured it over the weekend of its release, and it left us craving more episodes, what more could you ask for? Well…maybe not so much of a depressing downer of a cliffhanger ending, which this had. Most binge worthy shows that release all of their episodes at one usually have a season arc that is completely wrapped up with only a hint or two of what is to come. Upload pushed a cliffhanger on us mid story. But maybe because The Office (U.S.) and Parks and Recreation (Greg Daniels) already has everything mapped out and knows it all can’t go back 4 or 5 seasons? He realizes with a high concept comedy, which this very much is, that you can’t over stay your welcome. At least, I hope he realizes it…considering that both The Office and Parks and Recreation both certainly over stayed theirs.
Borrowing now from Wikipedia: Upload “is set in a future where “humans are able to ‘upload’ themselves into their preferred choice of afterlife. When Nathan (Robbie Ammell) meets his early death, he is greeted by Nora (Andy Allo) in his version of heaven. The series follows the two as Nathan grows accustomed to life away from his loved ones, and the alive Nora struggles to stay afloat working her job alongside Nathan in the afterlife.” There is more much to it than that, but I think it’s listed that way it can avoid spoilers. I think I can expand without revealing anything as well. There series brings up other questions such as, “Can Nathan stay attached to his still alive girlfriend so she will keep paying his hefty afterlife bills?” “Was there more to Nathan’s death than possibly meets the eye because of his career before being uploaded?” Also there are a bunch of crazy side characters with their own little arcs along the way, but that is too much to get into. The series main ethical questions are “what if?” ones meant to cause debates over loved ones who happy to also watch the show and countless message boards everywhere. What exactly is alive? If you are dead but your consciousness can still stream to your loved ones, are you really dead? These are all brought up in hilarious fashion, and yet it doesn’t try to hit you over the head with it’s multiple layered messages. All of it is very subtle and set ups are paid off as you go, accompanied with fantastic sight gags. While it is a comedy, some of it does go to the dramatic side of things, but not enough to get too dramatic…well, except for maybe the depressing cliffhanger (my only complaint with the show).
The acting elevates the show from good to great status. The chemistry between Robbie Amell and his “angel” Andy Allo is impalpable. Whoever hired those two deserves a motherfucking raise. You might not know Andy Allo, she hasn’t been in much except the CW show Black Lightening and a very small part in Pitch Perfect 3, but you might recognized Robbie Amell. He is cousins with Arrow’s Stephen Amell (in fact he even has a small role in the whole CW/Arrowverse), and has been in other feature films such as The Babysitter and The Duff. I’ve always liked the guy, and in this role, he’s the most likable and charming he’s ever been. I hope this opens some doors for many other projects for him to chew the scenery on. All of the side characters are great too, even Nathan’s girlfriend, played by Allegra Edwards, is someone you end up loving to hate for how dumb shit is. It’s a feel good hilarious comedy that gets funnier and funnier with each episode, but it’s a high concept one that also makes you think, which is always very appreciate for someone that hates to turn off their brain before pressing play. And while I didn’t care for the ending (mostly due to the fact that the sad and depressing tone didn’t really fit the rest of the series, although it did have one big laugh at the very very end, and also I want more episodes now), I really do hope that Amazon sees they have another hit show on their hands (Bosch being the other one) and that after this whole COVID-19 mess if over, they “upload” new episodes in the near future.