Pantheon is visually stunning, atmospheric, and visceral. The series is expertly made with a stellar voice cast to support these claims. This AMC+ original deserves to be talked about.
This review of the AMC+ series Pantheon season 1 does not contain any major spoilers.
AMC+’s original animated series Pantheon caught my initial attention thanks to that insanely impressive voice cast that they have quietly amassed for themselves over at the two-year young streaming service. It’s a real embarrassment of riches, including Paul Dano, Daniel Dae Kim, Aaron Eckhart, Taylor Schilling, William Hurt (in his last credited role), Scoot McNairy, and Rosemarie DeWitt, to name just a few of the Hollywood stars involved. After that, I was wowed by the unique animation style from this dark sci-fi series and that intriguing, Black Mirror-inspired premise. All in all, this feels like one of those special, intimate projects that may just fly under the radar, possibly accruing a cult following in the process.
The show utilizes that ensemble cast proficiently, with many subplots interconnecting throughout the first half of its eight-episode run (only four installments were made available ahead of its premiere). We’re first introduced to a bullied schoolgirl named Maddie, who is grieving her father’s recent death. An unusual hacker, who only speaks in emojis, reaches out to her and helps the girl fight these stereotypical bullies.
As the story unfolds, this unknown sender reveals personal information that indicates that Maddie might actually be talking to her dead dad after all. She believes that the company her father, David (Daniel Dae Kim), was working for, called Logorhythms, are behind this unusual crime and might be holding him hostage.
The second adjoining narrative focuses on Caspian (Paul Dano), a highly intelligent computer geek who notices Maddie’s suspicions in an online chat room. Caspian is clearly a unique individual and is more wrapped up in all this chaos than you would be led to believe, with Logorhythms following his every move. The ostracized geek lives with his argumentative parents, who are also entangled in this seedy mess, and their odd behavior warrants further questioning.
A third storyline reveals the horrifying realities of this mysterious, technologically advanced world as an engineer called Chanda finds himself in a rather terrifying predicament. Chanda is strapped into an operating chair and has lasers fired at his head. The lasers peel back his brain until nothing remains. The procedure transfers his consciousness over to the Cloud. It’s a painfully gory and gruesome sight to behold that brings to mind the works of Charlie Brooker and his twisted Black Mirror magnum opus.
In this troubled world, a human’s mind can become Uploaded Intelligence (UI), allowing companies to manipulate a human’s consciousness to do their bidding in an electronic prison of sorts. Caspian and Maddie find themselves embroiled in this global conspiracy as they strive to save the ones they love from this nightmarish fate.
Fans of animation will eat this series up, it’s a magnificently realized tale that boasts a great voice cast, an atmospheric tone, and stunning visuals. It’s a truly visceral viewing experience. The writing is meticulously detailed and intricate, working to build a well-rounded, overall narrative, and if you can put aside all that computer jargon, then you are in for a real treat. Pantheon hints at the exciting possibilities over at AMC+, with this new streaming platform looking ready to compete with the others in its field.
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