Upload Season 2 Premiere On Prime Video Goes Beyond Its Digital Afterlife Gimmick – Review
The Upload season 2 premiere brings back one of last year’s best comedy series. An original series about a future where death is not the end was incredibly genius. The concept and execution captured the audience’s imagination. With Upload season 2 on Prime Video, creator Greg Daniels now has 2 hit shows currently on different streaming platforms. While season 1 introduced us to this new world, the Upload TV show’s season 2 provides more substance. The new season focuses on the characters and the more mystery elements of the show’s genre. While the science-fiction comedy is still prevalent, it takes a back seat to the larger season-wide arc involving murder, corporate espionage and an unexpected turn into idealistic values. Check out our review of Upload season 2 on Prime Video.
The Future Of Death: What Is Upload All About?
Image via Prime Video.
The Upload TV show comes from Daniels, the creator behind The Office. Also, the same guy who created Space Force, whose season 2 just released on Netflix. However, Upload is more in line with Daniels’ comedy sensibilities, in a way Space Force wasn’t. Upload is set in a futuristic world where cars are self-driving and Virtual Reality is very much a thing. The biggest advancement in this future is the ability to create your own heaven. The afterlife has been commercialized, with the ability to download one’s consciousness into a virtual world. For eternity. So essentially, death isn’t the end, but the beginning of a new lifestyle. You can still communicate, and even get visits from your loved ones. While the physical body is gone, virtual heaven allows people to live out their eternity as one long vacation. At least, for those who can afford it.
The concept of ‘uploading’ is available for all. However, similar to our current real-life scenario of data plans for our cell phones, uploading has a caveat. This afterlife is only available to those who can pay. With a variety of different virtual afterlives, almost like retirement homes, available to users, it’s a 600-billion dollar industry. This means that whoever can pay the most, gets the most prestigious and luxurious versions of what they want they want their afterlife to be. With the living sometimes barely being able to afford to keep their loved ones in their lives, post-death.
Upload Season 1 Recap: Murder Is Just The Beginning
Image via Prime Video.
The Upload season 1 story begins with the premature death of Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell). Nathan was coder who was working on a free version of this digital afterlife. His death, while seeming accidental at first, was anything but. Being forced to upload by his clingy girlfriend Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), Nathan awakes in Lakeview, the most prestigious of digital heavens. There he meets his customer service representative, the very much alive Nora (Andy Allo). Upload season 1 sees the journey of Nathan from a superficial douche to an actual nice guy, through his interactions with and attraction to Nora. Her influence forces him to become a better person, putting a new strain on his already deteriorating relationship with Ingrid. Who, by the way, literally owns him now, since he uploaded on her unlimited account. She is basically in charge of his entire after life in Lakeview.
There’s also the major story arc of the circumstances of Nathan’s death. Was he murdered for threatening the huge industry of digital heavens by creating his own free version? The season spends less time with that, and more on the ridiculous novelty of this type of a world. The idea is that you have in-app purchases like a mobile game to experience more luxury. Or that living people can rent a ‘hug suit’ to have sex with their deceased digital lovers. Even the idea that residents get in-heaven pop-up ads catered to their thoughts is hilarious. The idea of Upload as a TV show is just brilliant. But there’s so much more that can be done with it. And Upload season 2 premiere proves that.
Upload Season 2 On Prime Video Is So Good!
Image via Prime Video.
Season 2 of the TV show Upload picks up from where season 1 ended. After threats on her life Nora goes off the grid to live with the Luds, where she embraces the natural life of being without technology. Although, their political aspirations still rub her the wrong way. Especially as the season progresses. Nathan on the other hand is now fully back with Ingrid, who gave up her life and permanently uploaded to join Nathan in Lakeview. Talk about commitment! This is weird since Nathan now loves Nora and was actually trying to break up with Ingrid before this. Upload season 2 is gonna be complicated.
And to call the Upload season 2 premiere complex is an understatement. The first few episodes of the season 2 premiere are actually kind of a drag. And I don’t mean in terms of quality but in terms of where the characters are in the story. No one is together, everyone is unhappy, and the jokes are few and far in between. The season totally shits into storytelling mode, over comedy, and becomes a more dramatic show with a few comedic elements sprinkled in. It’s not bad, but it’s not what you would expect from a comedy. But those draggy sad scenes actually make way for a great season 2 of the Upload TV show.
Upload Season 2 Premiere Starts Slow But Picks Up Quick
Image via Prime Video.
While the show began as just a very gimmicky premise, season 2 transforms it into a more well-rounded series. It’s emotionally substantial, the characters have depth and the storylines are actually engaging. While the ridiculous and silly aspects are less prevalent, it still makes for great TV. Nora and Nathan’s ‘will they won’t they’, romance drama continues without getting too redundant. Daniels and the writers are able to create conflict without feeling forced or ‘written in’. While the bigger threat of the season looms large.
The Luds, the anti-technology group of fundamentalists are becoming more active this season. Upload season two uses them to make a lot of comments about society and the socio-economic divide within the US right now. By setting everything in the future, the parallels to present-day issues are less obvious, but not entirely so. And that’s what makes it great. The plot of the show where there’s a struggle between the rich and poor, via the idea of ‘upload’, is a direct statement on today’s IRL status quo. How Capitalism is basically everywhere from our jobs to even our thoughts through data mining. Which is another huge plot point this season. The show even has a character called Choak (William B. Davis) modelled clearly after the real-life businessman brothers who control— everything.
So Many Real World References In The Upload TV Show Season 2
Image via Prime Video.
What separates season 2 of Upload from its first, is how deep and heavy the topics get. On top of the relationship and emotional drama, there’s also a larger story at work. One of the economic divides in the world is the plight of those in poverty. In comparison, this new season almost gets a little too preachy with those elements, but it’s a fine line. And though they do tip over into some high and mighty territory, they pull it back with some ridiculous humour too. Like creepy digital e-babies that those the deceased residents of Lakeview can buy. So they can simulate being parents, even after death. Some of this show is very very weird.
But what’s also great about this season is the individual character drama involved as well. As with many second seasons, the supporting characters get a highlight this season. Namely, Ingrid and her great arc of a privileged spoiled rich girl, who genuinely loves Nathan, but doesn’t know how to be a good person to deserve his love. As funny as her fish out of water arc is, these emotional moments are quite unnerving and makes the audience very sympathetic for her. It’s one of the story arcs I’m very curious to see play out through the show. Even Luke (Kevin Bigley) gets some moments of truce with the adversarial relationship he has with his Angel/customer service agent Aleesha (Zainab Johnson). Why, even the artificial intelligence played by Owen Daniels, seemingly gets a humanizing arc this season.
Upload season 2 premieres on Prime Video on March 11, 2022.
Did you enjoy season 1 of Upload? What are you excited about season 2 of this amazing new show? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image via Prime Video.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.