Upload season 1 review – Greg Daniels’ dark sci-fi comedy is ruthless and funny

By Daniel Hart
Published: April 30, 2020 (Last updated: January 24, 2023)
Previous ArticleView all
Amazon Series Upload season 1 review - Greg Daniels


Upload deserves a second season; there are various stories explored — it’s not just comedic concept. It’s sci-fi satire with a real story behind it.

Amazon original Upload season 1 will be released on the platform on May 1, 2020. 

Upload plunges viewers into a world where ‘people with money’ can upload their consciousness to a virtual world called Lakeview and live in a digital after-life. After lead character Nathan is suspiciously killed in a self-drive car accident, he finds himself forced into a world of avatars by his over-the-top girlfriend who he evidently does not want to be with anymore. Nathan has his own “angel” — a real-life worker called Nora who manages the avatars in Lakeview.

Greg Daniels sets Upload season 1 as a futuristic comedy. Beyond its funny gags, the Amazon original sets out a series of events that darken the storyline and offer sincere inclinations to the humanness of Upload. It’s written whereby it challenges itself to question the morality of uploading people into a world where they can essentially live forever and wait for their loved ones. It is a dark sci-fi comedy like no other, that offers the odd chuckle but then splurges the screen with a theoretical scenario for our lead characters.

Nathan is the perfect type of character for Upload. Played by Tom Cruise lookalike Robbie Amell, Nathan is not meant to be a character you feel sorry for. In fact, you could argue that his shallowness and arrogance made his sudden upload a “life” lesson. There is an element of self-discovery in the story; a 30-something jock learning how to be compassionate and show droplets of emotions.

You then also have Nora, played by Andy Allo. This character is equally important because the world is undoubtedly cynical about Lakeview and as an audience member, it’s easy to raise your eyebrows at the principle of it. It’s easy to question its purpose and see these people as alive. Nora is a cheerleader of the concept, championing the digital after-life and showing a growing interest in Nathan. It adds a human side to the comedy.

Upload season 1 is surprising in that some scenes are incredibly gag-heavy — putting together a series of cool scenes to demonstrate that the majority of characters are avatars. The Amazon series relishes a conspiracy surrounding Nathan and growing chemistry between himself and real-life Nora. The one criticism that can be aimed at Upload is that some storylines veer way off course, and the plot between Nathan and Nora is often not balanced with the subplots. There can be whole episodes where the primary story is not present, and then when it resurfaces, it feels disjointed.

Upload deserves a second season; there are various stories explored — it’s not just comedic concept. It’s sci-fi satire with a real story behind it providing a profound vision of the future.

Access the archive of all episode recaps of Upload season 1.

More Stories

Amazon Prime Video, TV Reviews
Previous ArticleView all