TV

Upload

Consumer culture continues into the afterlife in Amazon's sci-fi/mystery/romance/workplace comedy mashup.

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Consumer culture continues into the afterlife in Amazon's sci-fi/mystery/romance/workplace comedy mashup Upload.

The show portrays heaven as a place on Earth—a server room, to be precise—where people on the verge of death can transfer their consciousness into a virtual environment while casting their physical selves aside. After a mysterious self-driving car crash wrecks his body, Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell) is a newly uploaded resident to virtual woodland resort Lake View. He settles into a tony afterlife paid for by his vapid, still-living girlfriend (Allegra Edwards). Soon he develops feelings for his also-living "angel" Nora (Andy Allo), a customer service pro there to make sure his needs are fulfilled.

This consumer-oriented paradise is full of upselling opportunities, microtransactions, and heavenly haves and have-nots. Jokes are framed around a familiar conflict: the wealthy getting cutting-edge access to new technology while the poorer struggle and wait for advances to reach them. The rich get fancy rooms and fine dining. The poor get stark basement digs and pay-as-you-go plans that leave them frozen in time when the money runs out.

The show is absolutely a critique of capitalism. But the 10-episode first season also shows industry competition resulting in solutions and innovations that provide more and different "heaven" options for consumers—just like life on our unheavenly Earth.

NEXT: Brickbat: Elder Abuse

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  3. Are there bots and spam in the tech afterlife?

    1. I just canceled three of their posts for non-payment of the bills I didn’t send them.

      1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…HBg after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

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    2. There are. It’s like living in a cheap news-site. Every five minutes you get a pop-up. It’s funny and irritating at the same time.

  4. David Koch makes a thinly disguised appearance in the series.

  5. the show is hilarious. I like how the upload is a one-time option, and irreversible.

    1. I like it, too and can’t wait for the second season. It starts off a little slow, but once it gets going, it keeps you guessing.

    2. Yes. You are literality, sans head which experiences a destructive read, put on ice.

    3. Well, there was that failed download attempt. It seemed to work at first, but then failed rather spectacularly.

  6. of course, just because your consciousness is uploaded, doesn’t mean YOU are uploaded. basically there’s an electronic twin of you with your past memories, starting a new life from that point. In the show, your living relatives can continue to interact (sparingly) with the uploaded version, which is creepy/cool.

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  10. But the 10-episode first season also shows industry competition resulting in solutions and innovations that provide more and different “heaven” options for consumers

    That’s a really rosy take. The viewer has to know that the technology behind uploading had to require enormous amounts of R&D and innovation. But all that innovation is taken as a given — there’s no backstory, no interest in who invented it and how, and the only interesting issues are that the benefits are unequally distributed. Also relationship problems. And it goes without saying that there’s a plot about unscrupulous, evil businessmen (are there any other kind in Hollywood plots?)

    That said, it’s a funny, lightweight comedy, with short episodes and my wife and I enjoyed the first season. But the idea that people are learning anything (positive) about private industry innovation and competition is about as far-fetched as uploading itself.

  11. Sounds like a blatant copy of Caprica (prequel to Battelstar Galactica). And of course, the thing is, as was brought up in that series “They’re not actually going to Heaven, their scanned avatars are”.

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