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Movies & TV

21st Feb 2022

Severance is the show that you should finally get Apple TV+ for

Rory Cashin

In contention for the best new series of 2022.

In the grand scheme of streaming platforms available in Ireland, it is probably fair to say that Apple TV+ gets talked about the least.

That likely comes down to a lack of must-see shows, even though some of their original content ranges from decent-but-trashy (Servant, The Morning Show, See) to actually very good (The Afterparty, Ted Lasso, Mythic Quest).

But it feels like Apple TV+’s first must-watch show has arrived in the form of Severance, a sci-fi thriller series with a pitch-black sense of humour, a killer plot hook and an astounding central performance by Adam Scott (Parks & Rec, The Good Place).

Set mostly within the weirdly retro-futuristic walls of Lumon Industries, a humungous compound that deals with confidential data, the employees there must take part in the “severance” programme.

Essentially, their memories are divided into two sections, one in the outside world, where employees live their day-to-day lives but have no memories of what they do inside Lumon, and the second is filled only with their memories inside Lumon, activated during their working hours, but leaving them with no memories of their own name, families, where they live, etc.

Our central protagonist is Mark Scout (Adam Scott), who actively uses his hours in work to help give him some reprieve from remembering the recent death of his wife, only for it all to come crashing back to him once the clock hits 5pm and he exits the building.

Without giving too much away, a mystery plot is introduced in the first episode that causes Scout to question his work at Lumon, as well as some of his co-workers (played by a fantastic supporting cast including John Turturro, Patricia Arquette and Christopher Walken).

A lot of the episodes of the series are directed by Ben Stiller – who impressed recently with his directing of brilliant drama series Escape At Dannemora – with the remainder directed by Aoife McArdle, the Irish director behind some huge music videos (U2 – ‘Every Breaking Wave’, Coldplay – ‘Trouble in Town’) and commercials (Nike, PlayStation).

Currently sitting pretty with 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics have been absolutely loving what the show has given us so far:

The Guardian – “Severance looks beautiful and is directed with enormous sensitivity and style by Stiller. His quartet of oddball actors elevate an already shining script and a story that is always a finely calibrated 12 to 15 degrees off kilter, while the everyman quality of Scott throws the whole into perfect relief.”

New York Magazine – “Severance is in contention for the best new series of 2022.”

The Detroit News – “Severance manages to adeptly juggle the grim and the giggly (melon ball party, anyone?). More importantly, it never fails to entertain. In the end it leaves you begging for more. Always a good sign.” – “Funny, terrifying, and brilliant in equal measure, Apple TV+’s Severance is one of the most impressive new shows of the last couple years.”

The first two episodes of Severance are available to watch on Apple TV+ right now, with the remainder of the series arriving weekly on Fridays.

Clip via Apple TV

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