Remember the “golden age” of TV thought?
It was an idea that arguably kicked off with The Sopranos in 1999 and acquired rolling with reveals like The Wire, Lost and Deadwood within the mid-2000s. Big-time productions that would match Hollywood by way of price range and scale.
But that was just the start.. Toward the top of the last decade it was Breaking Bad and Mad Men, later it was and The Walking Dead. Eventually, the concept that tv performed second fiddle to the cinematic expertise started to erode and collapse.
Television was king.
But the golden age of TV by no means actually ended. It simply saved going to the purpose when the phrase golden age stopped making sense. “Prestige TV,” or no matter you wish to name it, was simply the brand new regular: content material that pushed the boundaries of what was potential. New concepts, nice writing, world-class performances. This high quality is baseline now. There are totally grown adults who’ve actually zero understanding of what it was prefer to scramble for scraps by way of reveals like Twin Peaks or The X-Files.
For the final 20 years we have been swamped with unimaginable tv. Drowning in it.
The 12 months 2021 was top-of-the-line for TV that I can keep in mind. Ever. Yellowjackets,, The White Lotus, Succession, Dopesick, Arcane, Midnight Mass. That’s earlier than we even begin speaking concerning the superhero reveals they hold dropping on .
That’s only one 12 months! ONE SINGLE YEAR!
Incredibly, 2022 hasn’t let up. Which brings us — lastly — to the present I wish to speak about now:.
Severance is a sci-fi present on Apple TV Plus, set in a barely defined universe the place a course of known as “severance” permits workers to separate themselves into two discrete entities: A piece self, who exists throughout workplace hours solely, and a house self, who’s utterly divorced from work. The work self has no understanding or reminiscences of what goes on exterior the workplace, and vice versa.
At its core Severance is a excessive idea present acutely targeted on exploring that unique thought — of break up lives and artificially enforced, bodily induced work-life steadiness. But regardless of its distinctive excessive idea, Severance additionally performs on the tropes established over the previous 20 years of status tv.
It operates on numerous ranges. Severance is undoubtedly a “mystery box” present, like Lost. There’s a central thriller to be solved, and the present drip feeds the viewers info, taking part in to the Reddit sleuths who love to determine the twists earlier than they unfold.
But Severance subverts that by additionally being… extraordinarily humorous. It by no means takes itself as significantly as a present like. It by no means wallows in its personal self-importance. In some ways Severance takes its cues from (but in addition parodies) reveals like The Office, which have a good time the day-to-day grind of workplace life.
The casting of Adam Scott, who spent years on Office-like Parks and Recreation, performs a vital position right here and helps play up the disparity. Severance encompasses a stripped again, minimalist workplace very similar to the one you may see on Parks and Recreation, however not all is what it appears.
That’s what makes Severance particular. It will get to be compelling like Lost and humorous like The Office. It will get to wax lyrical concerning the human situation, but in addition manages to parody the period it is a part of. In some ways Severance is the primary post-prestige TV basic. It does the whole lot.
Severance is not flashy, it would not have to determine its greatness with self severe monologues or hovering orchestral soundtracks. It’s a present that will get to have its cake and eat it. Severance is knowledgeable by the classics that preceded it however feels distinct from them. A present that swallows and digests the whole lot we have been consuming for the previous 20 years and vomits it up as a totally shaped, barf masterpiece that subverts the kind of tv we have grow to be accustomed to over the previous twenty years.
Yet Severance is just one season deep. Promising reveals have fallen aside earlier than. Even a present as totally shaped as Severance may crumble beneath viewers expectations. They may screw it up.
But I’ve numerous religion in Severance. It has the instance of reveals like Lost and Westworld to study from. We know what may go improper. If Severance retains its narrative tight, and stays true to what made the present so compelling to start with, we could possibly be witnessing greatness. At the very least, Severance is my favourite present of 2022 thus far and — for my cash — the very best present on Apple TV.
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