Surface season 1 review – this glossy thriller will keep you hooked until the very end

By Adam Lock
Published: July 26, 2022
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Surface season 1 review – this glossy thriller will keep you hooked until the very end


With such great talent before and behind the cameras, this Apple Original cannot fail. Throw in a tantalizing premise and some unpredictable twists, and you are onto a winner.

This review of the Apple TV+ series Surface season 1 does not contain any major spoilers.

Forgotten memories, traumatic head injuries and suspicious circumstances all make for intriguing plot points in your standard psychological thriller, and Surface is happy to utilize all three in this latest Apple Original series. Created by Veronica West (High Fidelity) and directed by Sam Miller (I May Destroy You), this glossy miniseries focuses on Sophie Ellis, a rich philanthropist’s wife, who loses most of her memories during a botched suicide attempt. As the show progresses, she starts to ponder whether she jumped to her possible doom that day or if she was actually pushed instead. It’s a juicy hook that lures you into this murky world of deceit and debauchery.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Black Mirror and Loki star) plays Sophie, a determined individual trying to piece together her past self, whilst pushing forwards with her own investigation into what happened the day she decided to end it all and jumped off a ferry into the icy waters below. Husband James (played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen) tries his best to support her through this hardship, but he is clearly hiding something himself, with his suspicious behavior and controlling demeanor. He tells Sophie what to wear and even takes conservatorship of her finances. Something rather fishy is at play and Sophie will stop at nothing to uncover the truth.

Framed in dream-like, hazy shots with a shallow depth of field, this series from Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company and Apple TV+ has a cinematic aesthetic, alongside a stellar cast. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is no stranger to tremendous TV dramas and co-star Oliver Jackson-Cohen can be found in The Haunting Of anthology series and The Invisible Man, where he also plays a controlling crook. The show boasts star credentials, which marry up nicely with an enticing premise and some addictive suspense.

As the mysteries unfold, Sophie addresses her trauma with shrink Hannah (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), hoping to unlock some hidden memories, whilst the officer assigned to her case Baden (Stephan James) might have incriminating evidence that supports her suspicions. Best friend Caroline (Ari Graynor) rounds out the cast, with her own secrets that are sure to disrupt Sophie’s life even further. Sophie really has no one she can trust, not even herself. The show tackles trauma and recovery in an expertly and thoughtful manner, bringing a serious edge to an area of TV that usually descends into trashy gimmickry.

The series isn’t without faults though, at times struggling to sustain its creepy tone or remain empathetic when there are so many twists and turns at hand. The dialogue can appear stilted as well, when all these conniving characters are thrust together, trying to prove to one another that they are sincere and innocent, but these are minor issues. Overall this drama has the star power d scope to be addictive, talked-about TV. There is enough depth to this story to keep viewers engaged until the very end, as the writers eke out clues and shocking reveals throughout the eight-episode run.

Surface Season 1 will be available to stream on Apple TV+ from July 29.

Apple TV+, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
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