Kernel – Movie News and Reviews

‘Upload’ Review – A Truly Clever Comedy

5 min read

Upload is not a typical comedy, but rather a mix of comedy, romance, mystery, adventure, and drama all rolled into one amazing show. The show takes place in the future and follows Nathan Brown who gets injured in a car accident and decides to upload himself into a computer system. Despite being produced by Greg Daniels, producer of hit shows like Parks and Recreation and The Office, its really nothing like those shows. This show is really an evolution of those other shows, containing the sitcom feeling and episodic elements, but mixing it with a compelling mystery that ties the show together. The world-building this show offers is top-notch, with so many clever details, easter eggs, and references throughout the show.

The acting is very solid with some great discoveries that should shoot to the top of every casting director’s list. This show is a huge win for Amazon Prime as it is the perfect streaming comedy. Some recent comedies on streaming services like Mythic Quest, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Diary of a Future President, and more are very good, but feel and look like they could be on network television. But Upload mixes the sitcom formula with the streaming formula and a big budget to create the next generation of comedy.

Now, this show is not without its faults and it does get off to a rocky start. Going into this show I was expecting something like Parks and Recreation or The Office so I was a little thrown off when I discovered it was so different. And towards the beginning of the show, the characters aren’t as well fleshed out, not to mention the humor and writing is a tad sloppy. The show leans too heavily on low-level raunchy humor like sex jokes, instead of the more clever humor featured in shows like The Office. But don’t worry, the show eventually gets there, if you give it a couple of episodes I guarantee you will get hooked. Once the show sets the stage with the first episode, it really takes off and does feature some of the most clever humor I’ve seen.

One of the most impressive elements of the show is the world-building. This show contains maybe the best world-building I have ever seen, rivaling properties like Harry Potter and Star Wars. The futuristic world presented in the show is so well-realized and really goes for it because of its budget. There are also so many funny references and predictions that actually may come true, kind of similar to The Simpsons.

For example, the Vape lung disease was so on point, the hilarious business conglomerates like Oscar Mayer Intel, the future technology like the consent devices, and so much more. Not only is this show delightfully ambitious, but it pulls everything off. The future world and the technology are so well-realized and the team behind this show is extremely clever and creative. Even with the afterlife program Lakeview there were so many clever features like 2 gig status, in-app purchases, the black and white people, and more. Not once did I feel any elements of the show were unbelievable, I bought everything this show put out.

The acting is also phenomenal throughout the show. The series stars Robbie Amell who is good but overall he is the weakest part of the cast. He doesn’t do a bad job but he’s just doing the same thing he always does while there are other cast members doing really exciting work. The female lead is a relatively new actress Andy Allo, and let me tell you she is a true discovery. Allo is such a nuance actress and overall a breath of fresh air. She is extremely relatable and sells the very weird and different situation her character is in. Zainab Johnson as Allo’s co-worker is definitely a standout as her character is electric and steals every scene she is in.

Allegra Edwards plays Amell’s extremely unlikable girlfriend but she actually makes it a very interesting role. Both Kevin Bigley and Rhys Slack do a great job as Amell’s friends in the Upload system. Slack’s character is a kid who can’t age which makes for some hilarious jokes and funny physical comedy. I also really liked the boss played by Andrea Rosen who had some very funny scenes. My favorite character is Elizabeth Bowen as an over the top private investigator, she was a delight. Finally, a special shoutout to Owen Daniels who plays the human version of Siri or Alexa and nails his extensive role.

This show also has a fantastic mystery with a plethora of twists and turns throughout. The plot centers around Nathan Brown who died in a self-driving car accident however, it is revealed later in the show that foul play was involved. The mystery makes this show fantastic to binge and luckily all episodes are available. Also, the show ends on an amazing cliffhanger that will make you super excited for season 2 which is on its way.

The mix of sitcom elements and the mystery throughout makes this show truly unique. It seems like an evolution of comedy shows that will elevate them for streaming services. It is kind of similar to The Good Place however that still had a more sitcom feel to it. Also, the shorter episode count for the season allows for a more streamlined story with very little filler episodes. I hope we get more high concept comedies with a main story that carries on throughout the show, rather than the more episodic, network television sitcom formula shows.

Overall, even though this show may get off to a rocky start, I urge you to give it a few episodes because you will get hooked. The world-building is some of the best I’ve ever seen featuring some great references and predictions. For the most part, the humor is very clever with the occasional raunchy joke thrown in the mix. Robbie Amell is a solid lead however, new actress Andy Allo is a fantastic discovery and she should shoot to the top of every casting director’s list.

The whole cast is phenomenal with other standouts being Zainab Johnson, Kevin Bigley, Allegra Edwards, and Elizabeth Bowen. This show also breaks the typical comedy sitcom formula, and features a very compelling mystery and story throughout. Upload is a perfect show to binge because of the twists and turns that happen in each episode. Also the cliffhanger in the final episode is great and I can’t wait to see where this show goes next.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Have you seen Upload? If so, what are your thoughts on the show? Let us know in the comments section of our website or on our Twitter & Instagram accounts.

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