By Clay Thompson | Journalist
When I decided to make the most of my free trial of Apple TV+ after reviewing “CODA” for the Oscars, I never thought I’d end up loving a show as much as I did with “Severance”. The majority of the show is helmed by Ben Stiller – an actor I don’t have very strong feelings for – and helmed by “Parks and recreation » acting veteran Adam Scott. It was a mix that I had no idea would work so well.
First of all, it was the premise of the show that made me watch it. Four workers choose to undergo surgery that completely separates their personal memories from their work memories. This means that they can only remember their personal life outside of their job, and only their professional life inside of their job at a very sleazy company called Lumon.
Scott plays the main character, Mark, whose staff and work eventually stumble upon secrets about their work that cannot be forgotten. This story is so unique to me because the debate about how to have the perfect work-life balance is tested in this low sci-fi concept of separation of memories.
Then, the general atmosphere, the cinematography, the editing, decor and the show’s score work together in a masterful way to create a truly divided view of the world of “Severance.”“
With the set of offices, the working figures of the characters are so twisted, monochromatic and labyrinthine, it really emphasizes the theme of a confusing and overwhelming nature of typical bureaucracy. It also enacts feelings in the viewer of the workspace resembling some sort of maze that lab rats can crawl through.
The cinematography is usually never static and constantly changing, tied to the premise of shared memories that works so well with the show and the characters. The score is low, mysterious and almost scintillating, like a piano sting when something mysterious happened in a much older TV show, which fits terribly with the mystery and thriller aspect that the show gives off .
The mystery is perhaps the greatest thing about the series for me. As the show progresses, the characters, and the audience by extension, are given more and more clues. It’s mostly about the characters’ identity between their separate personalities, but most of the suspense and drama stems from the state of their separation.
Will Mark ever find out what he really does at work? Why did he accept the job? What kinds of lives do his co-workers have outside of work? These are just some of the spoiler-free questions from the public, and it was so much fun to piece together the puzzle of not only the characters’ lives, but also the nature of their jobs and the company responsible for them. .
The acting is of course stellar, as Adam Scott, Britt Lower, Dichen Lachman and especially Patricia Arquette deliver wonderful performances. I especially thank Scott for being able to play almost two different characters with such subtlety and ease. He portrayed both his staff and his work with such slight differences, such as posture and facial expression, that it honestly looked like a masterclass in acting.
If there’s one thing I’ve always hated Apple for, it’s charging a ridiculous price to Apple TV+ users with such a low volume of content in its library. It is because of this that so many people will miss this show.
Please hear me out: Get a free trial or pay for a month of Apple TV+ because this show has been the best show of the year so far, and with a season two already confirmed, it would be criminal to miss out on such a gem of streaming TV.