The camera hovers over picturesque forests, lakes, a luxurious hotel. “The best days of your life could be those after it’s over,” says the spokesman. And let that sink first. Welcome to Amazon Prime’s new sci-fi comedy “Upload” (all ten episodes from May 1st), in which only the body is mortal. At the moment of death, consciousness can be uploaded to the virtual world with which the first episode begins.
This is what happened to Nathan (Robbie Amell). He is young, handsome, mercilessly vain and is about to be engaged to the superficial and possessive Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), who is not without reason reminiscent of Ivanka Trump. Her father created this world, while on the hospital bar she persuades Nathan to sign after a car accident and transfers his mind to “Lake View”. Delivered to their whims and caught up in a relationship where the word “eternity” takes on a whole new quality.
Because paradise is not in vain either. The social differences of this world are reflected mercilessly in the hereafter. Large tech companies have designed various scenarios for afterlife. One looks like the African steppe, another like Tuscany, a third like the casinos in Las Vegas. Only those whose relatives have the appropriate financial means “live” in the luxury resort “Lake View”, which is modeled on the Victorian hotels in the USA. You can communicate with them, chat via video, even have sex. As long as they pay. In the case of Nathan, this is his girlfriend Ingrid. At least as long as he does what she says. (Also read: These are the most important restarts in May at Netflix)
Familiar future in “Upload”
This is the future that Greg Daniels, one of the most sought-after comedy writers in the USA, came up with. All of his series are in the top 100 of the best ever time magazine. These include “The Simpsons”, “Saturday Night Live”, the US version of “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation”. There was nothing new from him for ten years, now there are two projects pending: “Space Force” on Netflix (probably from May 29), again with Steve Carell, and “Upload”. While the series for the Amazon Prime competitor is based on a tried and tested office setting for Daniel, he creates a completely new world in “Upload”. The police distribute parking tickets by drone, rental bicycles roll back automatically and a chip on the chest ensures prevention. If both have previously confirmed that the following act will be carried out by mutual agreement.
It’s not that far from our present. Daniel’s future is a familiar one. Which is what makes the series so appealing and funny. Everything Daniels shows can be imagined in the next few years. Social inequalities have increased not only in life but also in death. This can be seen most clearly in the half-hour episodes of the slowly developing love story for “Angel”, whose real name is Nora (Andy Allo). She is a call center employee who serves as a contact for the luxury dead and is the figure that pulls the viewer into the series with whom he can identify. She has to struggle through everyday life, her father is terminally ill, but refuses to upload his consciousness. He believes in a spiritual life after death. What she cannot understand, the digital hereafter seems more desirable to her than the real world in which she lives. (Also read: “Hollywood” at Netflix is giving away many opportunities)
What are we willing to reveal if we can defeat death like this?
Amongst all of this, “Upload” smoldered one of the most pressing questions of our time: In a world in which data has become the most important commodity, how much power do we give the large technology companies? And if we are already ready to share all personal data just so that our smartphones make life a little easier for us, what are we only ready to disclose if we can defeat death in this way?
The answers to this are only suggested by Daniels in “Upload”. Although there are always peaks against social inequalities, the series remains an astonishingly light satire, a kind of friendlier version of the episodes of “Black Mirror”, which dealt with this topic in the past. “Upload” is not shocking, the series mainly wants to be entertaining. Often that doesn’t go very deep, but maybe that’s exactly what viewers need now. Immerse yourself in a world that is familiar, but very different from current reality. “Upload” fulfills this with flying colors. (Also read: “After Life” at Netflix – laughing until it gets stuck in your throat)