Keep in mind within the early 2000s? Keep in mind the “golden age” of TV?
TV’s golden age in all probability began with The Sopranos in 1999, but it surely actually received rolling with exhibits like The Wire, Misplaced and Deadwood within the mid-2000s. Large-time productions that might match Hollywood by way of price range and scale.
However that was only the start. TV stored steamrolling. Towards the top of the last decade it was Breaking Unhealthy and Mad Males, later it was Sport of Thrones and The Strolling Useless. Finally, the concept that tv performed second fiddle to the cinematic expertise started to erode and collapse.
Tv was king.
However the golden age of TV by no means actually ended. It simply stored going to the purpose when the phrase golden age stopped making sense. “Status TV,” or no matter you wish to name it, was simply the brand new regular: content material that pushed the boundaries of what was attainable. New concepts, nice writing, world-class performances. This high quality is baseline now. There are totally grown adults who’ve actually zero understanding of what it was prefer to scramble for scraps through exhibits like Twin Peaks or The X-Recordsdata.
For the final 20 years we have been swamped with unimaginable tv. Drowning in it.
The 12 months 2021 was among the finest for TV that I can keep in mind. Ever. Yellowjackets, Station Eleven, The White Lotus, Succession, Dopesick, Arcane, Midnight Mass. That is earlier than we even begin speaking concerning the superhero exhibits they hold dropping on Disney Plus.
That is only one 12 months! ONE SINGLE YEAR!
Extremely, 2022 hasn’t let up. Which brings us — lastly — to the present I wish to discuss now: Severance.
Severance is a sci-fi present on Apple TV Plus, set in a barely defined universe the place a course of known as “severance” permits workers to separate themselves into two discrete entities: A piece self, who exists throughout workplace hours solely, and a house self, who’s utterly divorced from work. The work self has no understanding or reminiscences of what goes on exterior the workplace, and vice versa.
At its core Severance is a excessive idea present acutely centered on exploring that unique thought — of cut up lives and artificially enforced, bodily induced work-life stability. However regardless of its distinctive excessive idea, Severance additionally performs on the tropes established over the previous 20 years of status tv.
It operates on plenty of ranges. Severance is undoubtedly a “thriller field” present, like Misplaced. There is a central thriller to be solved, and the present drip feeds the viewers info, enjoying to the Reddit sleuths who love to determine the twists earlier than they unfold.
However Severance subverts that by additionally being… extraordinarily humorous. It by no means takes itself as significantly as a present like Westworld. It by no means wallows in its personal self-importance. In some ways Severance takes its cues from (but additionally parodies) exhibits like The Workplace, which have fun the day-to-day grind of workplace life. The casting of Adam Scott, who spent years on Workplace-like Parks and Recreation, performs an important position right here and helps play up the disparity. Severance includes a stripped again, minimalist workplace very like the one you would possibly see on Parks and Recreation, however not all is what it appears.
That is what makes Severance particular. It will get to be compelling like Misplaced and humorous like The Workplace. It will get to wax lyrical concerning the human situation, but additionally manages to parody the period it is a part of. In some ways Severance is the primary post-prestige TV traditional. It does all the things.
Severance is not flashy, it would not have to ascertain its greatness with self critical monologues or hovering orchestral soundtracks. It is a present that will get to have its cake and eat it. Severance is knowledgeable by the classics that preceded it however feels distinct from them. A present that swallows and digests all the things we have been consuming for the previous 20 years and vomits it up as a completely fashioned, barf masterpiece that subverts the kind of tv we have grow to be accustomed to over the previous 20 years.
But Severance is just one season deep. Promising exhibits have fallen aside earlier than. Even a present as totally fashioned as Severance might crumble beneath viewers expectations. They might screw it up.
However I’ve loads of religion in Severance. It has the instance of exhibits like Misplaced and Westworld to be taught from. We all know what might go fallacious. If Severance retains its narrative tight, and stays true to what made the present so compelling to start with, we could possibly be witnessing greatness. On the very least, Severance is my favourite present of 2022 thus far and — for my cash — the very best present on Apple TV.
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