Apple TV+ has decided to take a completely different route from other streaming services. While its competitors have decided to pull from the catalog and bet on quantity over quality, Apple TV+ has preferred to delicately curate its productions to offer not only programs of unquestionable quality, but they have also sought to make them as diverse and with the most particular identity possible. At Apple they are clear that they cannot compete in terms of catalog against their rivals, but they are able to offer that something more that characterizes them. The awareness that you are paying for a service that feels truly premium.
If there is one aspect in which it has particularly stood out, it is in its science fiction series. It is there where it has a rich catalog, populated and full of unique series, different and that could be considered without problems among the best currently on the air. That’s why today we are going to recommend some of the best, so you don’t miss the incredible new wave of science fiction that Apple is creating on television.
There are only ten thousand inhabitants left on Earth. They all live in seclusion in a century-old silo of more than 140 levels. The outside world is uninhabitable. The rules are extremely rigid and stifling, as they have not changed since they were created by The Founders, a century and a half ago. No one knows what happened to bring about this situation. But when several people in the Silo begin to suspect that perhaps it is not entirely true that the outside is inevitable, the other inhabitants of the Silo will remember what the premise of their lives is: to defend the Silo at all costs.
With a stifling dystopian setting, based on Wool -a series of novels by writer Hugh Howey-, the series is particularly notable for the excellent work of actress Rebecca Ferguson as Juliette Nicols, an engineer at the silo. With a tone more mystery than purely post-apocalyptic, seeking more to discover the truth about the silo than trying to survive a world that is hostile to them, it is presented to us as an intriguing detective story without detectives where the crime is not the murder of anyone, but an even more terrible cover-up, is it possible that The Founders have been hiding for over one hundred and fifty years that the Earth is still habitable?
Anyone familiar with Isaac Asimov’s mammoth Foundation Series will think it’s basically impossible to translate that into a series that can succeed at all. Telling of the decay of a future Galactic Empire driven by a regime of fundamentalists, a mathematician named Hari Seldon hopes to change the future of the universe thanks to the work of two completely opposite young men: Gaal Dornick and Salvor Hardin. Two people who should work in two foundations at two opposite ends of the galaxy to preserve the spirit of science during the thousand years until a Second Empire emerges, free from the dogmatism of the previous regime.
Surprisingly, the series works because its creator, David S. Goyer, has figured out how to translate the absolutely massive scale of the books into something more digestible for a general audience. The series is visually spectacular, places greater weight on the political aspects and interpersonal relationships, and makes a point of constantly reminding us how enormous the stakes are. In Foundation we are never allowed to forget that the fate of the galaxy is at stake here: if they fail, tens of millennia of suffering await them. Even if they fail, it will be centuries. And the grandeur of the series only heightens this sense of the stakes.
Some people dream neither of space travel nor of electric sheep. They are more about petty intrigues, about people interacting with each other and backstabbing each other, negotiating contracts and trying to improve their lot or bring to success whatever it is they have decided to undertake. It’s not for nothing that Mad Men is a television hit. So it should come as no surprise that among all the sci-fi series that Apple TV+ has released there is also room for soft science fiction that looks in that mirror. For that is the case of Hello Tomorrow!
The series is about an alternate future in which we reach the Moon, allowing some people to settle there permanently, with robots and flying cars being a normal occurrence, with a distinctly 60s aesthetic. In that context, the series follows the life of Jack Billings, the leader of a group of salesmen looking to sell timeshares on the Moon. Only, just like selling timeshares on Earth, it’s all nothing more than an elaborate scam. Very focused in its aesthetics and premise, it’s the perfect series for those who enjoy these day-to-day problems and a retro aesthetic; who like their sci-fi sweetened, just a little bit of spice in their drama.
Kim Jee-woon is one of the most underrated Korean film directors today. He has touched on all sorts of genres, signed true masterpieces, and his consistency is as commendable as it is impossible to guess what his next project will be or what it will be about. That’s why it was a surprise, but at the same time not, when Apple TV+ announced that Kim Jee-woon had directed a series for its platform, Dr. Brain.
In this series we follow Dr. Sewon Koh, who is able to read the brainwaves of the dead and dying thanks to a revolutionary scientific process. When he loses his family in a mysterious accident, he will use this process to navigate his wife’s hidden memories, only to discover that dissociating his own memories from those of the deceased is a much more difficult process than he expected. With a six-episode season, though with rumors of a second season in the air, the series is a constant in crescendo of thrilling situations and unpredictable developments in a complex, vibrant series that, as always with Kim Jee-woon, it’s impossible to know which way it’s going to go at any given moment.
We’ve saved the best for last. Apple TV+ has a series that is its crown jewel, its absolute masterpiece, the series called to be its central pillar. An ode to the absurdity of work, to the capacity of love to destroy everything that opposes it, to minimalist aesthetics as a capitalist concept created to turn people’s brains into parched butter. Because Severance is a series that would make Philip K. Dick proud, if Philip K. Dick had lived long enough to have gotten to see The Office, feel inspired, and write his own version of why the office really is hell.
The premise is simple. Lumon Industries forces its employees to undergo surgery that separates their lives in two. When they are at work they remember nothing of their lives outside of work, when they are outside of work they remember nothing of their lives inside of work. When a very conflicted new employee arrives to the team led by Mark Scout, played by an impressive Adam Scott, everything will start to fall apart to give us one of the best series, not only of science fiction, but of any genre, of the last years. An absolute must-see series.
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