Apple TV is best known for its ability to stream movies and TV shows from iTunes, but the company has recently started to produce its own content as well. Lately Apple TV has been on a roll with producing, not only volume but quality content.
Just recently Apple TV and its efforts won them an Oscar for best picture K.O.D.A is a fantastic addition to the world of cinema and movies like Swan Song, starring Mahershala Ali, which should be up for some awards when the time comes but it’s not only movies, it’s the shows!
Admittedly, I did not trust Apple TV to serve up good content. Shows like “See”, ” and “Morning Show had a couple of seasons pass by before a little show known as “Ted Lasso” captured everyone’s heart. My experience with the show was so fulfilling that it opened the flood gates to all the other content Apple TV had to offer. So far, by and large, I have enjoyed most of what I watched.
A show that only had one season, the Joseph Gordon Levitt-backed show, Mr.Corman was canceled. This show was a little all over the place but was still able to produce an episode titled, “Mr. Morales”, which might be one of the best episodes of any show. Again, the show may not have done well enough to stick around but the quality was high. The creativity and artistry of the attempt are better than a lot of the volume that comes from other streaming platforms.
Apple TV seems to have found a niche with the uniquely interesting plots coupled with the high quality they have produced, and “Severance” may be the greatest example of what Apple has to offer its patrons. A unique premise, mixed with great acting is the formula and “Severance” follows the recipe to a tee. The show has an amazing cast on paper and the premise is relatable while bringing in a unique and somewhat terrifying take on what would happen if a person was completely severed, with no recollection or knowledge of what happens while they were at work.
Season 1 of Severance has ended and for the most part, the critics are in agreement that season 1 was a success. Apple TV seems to have another hit on its hands but are the critics wrong on this one? Let’s break down some of the good and bad of season 1 and you can decide whether the show is worth you.
When a mysterious colleague appears outside of work, it begins a journey to discover the truth about their jobs. Employees Mark, Helly, Irving and Dylan agreed to have their memories surgically divided between their work and personal lives. When Petey, an employee of Lumon Industries and Mark’s best friend, mysteriously quits the job it sets off a chain reaction of questions that his workmates must piece together while they were at work. As they investigate their employer, they find themselves in increasingly dangerous situations, and they must use all their skills to survive.
The interesting twist is Mark and Sarah have no idea what their skills could be, they have no recollection of their lives outside of working for the mysterious company Lumon Industries. They only know how to be Lumon employees and that comes with a very particular and limited set of skills, so their battle to find the truth will not be easy.
The first “Severance” season has ended, and another has already been greenlit, so there is more story to be told. Before we can get to the next season a deep dive into the first “Severance” season might help you decide whether a second season is worth you. Rotten Tomatoes has ranked this series very highly but an honest review may leave you with a different opinion.
The plot of “Severance” is unique and intriguing, and it keeps you guessing throughout the season. The acting is also top-notch, with Christopher Walken delivering a standout performance as a mystery within itself. There is a lot of good to talk about when it comes to the first season, the storyline is a great place to start.
Severed and Unsevered Characters Have a Place
Lumon industries have an interesting business model. The company has a division that does mysterious work that is not explained at all. The show keeps the viewer interested because the work is an underlying plot point that is barely touched. This is a good thing because the show really focuses on the employees.
The show focuses on the severed character Mark, played by Adam Scott, and his psychological development through the course of the series. While the show focuses on him, his severed coworkers are far more interesting and the show is better for having them. Irving, played by John Turturro and Dylan, played by, Zach Cherry, brings much-needed relief to the show because they break up the tone that at times makes the show feel a little longer than its actual runtime.
Tramell Tillman deserves a lot of praise for his unsevered supervisor role in the office, Milchick. His use of being able to act and convey so much with just his face is outstanding. Then he compliments his skill with being able to deliver lines in a way that cements the setting, allowing the viewer to settle into the weird world we have dropped into.
Work-life balance is a point of emphasis that has recently found people working for better situations. The show and concept of Severance come at a vital time as workers around the world question what that balance looks like, Severance offers a peek into an innovative but dangerous solution. Having the ability to leave everything at work behind and go home free of any emotional burdens created by the job is something that would help many people lead more fulfilling lives.
The problem the show presents is that the workers end up having two separate lives that create totally different versions of themselves, the innie (the version that works at Lumon) and the outtie (the version outside of work). Some may find this intriguing, but the series dives deep into how this actually affects the two personas and at this point, the focus on the characters is more interesting than the Lumon conspiracy.
Severance has enjoyed some great reviews, but the show is not without its problems. There were a couple of things that might make someone think twice before jumping into the quirky series. A few spoiler-free details might shine some light and give a little balance to the overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Pacing is an Issue
The nine episodes have a runtime of about an hour but sometimes the show feels much longer. This show takes its time and things happen very gradually. Character development is key to this show’s success but the time between anything interesting or consequential happening seems far and few and between. Now that the season is over is probably the best time to watch a show that is paced like Severance.
I personally fell off of the series for a few episodes. The cliffhangers did not leave the viewers with very high stakes at the end of the episodes. Coming back to another episode was always a decision instead of an impulse. Even the highly touted finale, while it was a fine episode the ending did not have the anticipated bang that I was expecting.
Tell Me More
The show focused on the characters, but it may have benefited from getting the viewers a little more involved with what was really happening with Lumon. Every episode had moments where it dragged along and only the characters, Irving or Dylan provided a spark to keep things interesting. I believe if we were able to get a little bit more of what was going on with Lumon Industries then the show may have been a bit more consistent with its pacing and intrigue.
If I’m Being Honest, Season one of Severance gets a spark. Severance has a lot of good things going for it. The story is unique, using terms like innie and outtie that doesn’t apply to your belly button or having a waffle party are things you have to watch the show to understand the context.
The acting is really good all around. As I mentioned before, the acting from John Turturro, Zach Cherry, and Tramell Tillman is great, maybe award worthy. Not to mention the great Christopher Walken sprinkling his brilliance into the mix to complement the show’s overall tone. Apple TV put together a high-quality production that deserves praise.
Since the show is already greenlit for a season two it would seem the praise has earned director Ben Stiller another crack at balancing the writing to make for a more compelling series.
This Last Bit is Important!
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