Review – Upload
Upload is a TV show starring Robbie Amell and Andy Allo. In 2033 you can be uploaded to live digitally. Currently a one-way transfer, the person lives on in a digital world but is able to communicate with the outside world. When Nathan Brown, played by Robbie Amell, dies in a suspicious car crash, he begins his new life in “Lakeview.” As he learns about his new digital afterlife, he is guided by Nora, played by Andy Allo, a customer service employee of Lakeview who is still alive.
I liked this show. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. I enjoyed the solutions to some of the futuristic problems; for instance, the driverless cars have a setting to prioritise the driver or a pedestrian – solving the trolley problem for the AI at least. There is a love story weaved through the season between Nathan and Nora, with Nathan’s girlfriend Ingrid fulfilling the love triangle. There is also a murder mystery, to find out if Nathan was murdered and who might have done it. The two genres sometimes conflict which is where the season struggled.
Many first seasons of a show can suffer from this problem, not being able to get everything in and introduce characters and world build at the same time. Upload’s first two episodes are really strong; then it drops off a bit as it tries to do too much.
As a love story, I think Upload does a great job, it hits all the love story necessary scenes and conventions, the actors have chemistry, and I was drawn in to route for the couple.
As a murder mystery, Upload fails miserably. There are plot threads that never get resolved, and the world building around it is pretty weak. For instance, I found myself asking where the police were in all this. Accept for a traffic infringement in the first episode; we never see the police at all. Even if the murder was an exceptional cover-up, why isn’t anyone looking into the driverless car crash?
We are told by multiple characters that “Driverless cars just don’t crash,” one character upon learning about the crash, immediately says, “Oh, you were murdered then.” If car crashes are so rare that they suggest murder just by their existence, then the story needed a counter to it. We see Nathan manually driving the car in the first episode; if the car’s records showed that he was in control, and therefore at fault, there would be no reason to investigate. And even if Nathan remembers it differently, it could be discounted as trauma in an event so close to death. But we don’t get that. They don’t address it at all.
The fact that the mystery isn’t stronger isn’t a deal-breaker for me, no one can do everything, and the show does build a very nice long-distance love story in a fascinating world. I enjoyed the watching and will lookout for a second season.