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