Have you ever wondered what it would be like to die, only instead of just going to Heaven or dropping off the face of the Earth you’re “uploaded” into a new world where you can still communicate with loved ones? And your “angel” is just someone behind a computer screen watching your almost every move, helping you along the way? Amazon Prime’s newest series, Upload, starring Robbie Amell, is just that. After getting uploaded to a place called Lakeview, not everything is as it seems.
Warning: Major spoilers ahead for Upload! Read at your own risk.
It’s the year 2033 and technology has definitely taken over, from the self-driving cars to holographic phones to a completely digital afterlife. Nathan Brown (Amell) is just your average coder, who gets into an accident while riding in a self-driving car. Since his injuries are critical, he has two options: Try surgery and risk his life, or be uploaded and choose his preferred afterlife. Nathan’s girlfriend Ingrid (Allegra Edwards) and her family are part of the Horizen family. Horizen is the company that is responsible for Lakeview, one of the afterlife choices. After much consideration and begging, Nathan decides to be uploaded. In Lakeview, it almost seems like it’s real. Aside from a few glitches, like weird hair and memory loss (which plays a big part as the season goes on), the food is great, the views are great and you can also change the seasons; you can practically have everything you want. Nora (Andy Allo) comes into the picture as Nathan’s angel, but she really just works at Horizen to help the recently departed get settled into their new afterlife. The two start to get closer as the season goes on, with Nora even introducing Nathan to her father, who she’s trying to get to upload since he’s sick. Meanwhile, Nathan and Ingrid try to get their relationship to work, even having Ingrid use a “sex suit” to make the sex feel real. Ingrid technically owns Nathan now, and she says she just wants to protect him, but it could be something more than that.
Towards the end of the season as Nora tries to figure out why exactly Nathan died, if the car accident was just an accident, and why his memories were erased when he uploaded, all the pieces to the puzzle start coming together. Characters are introduced that may have more to the story and may seem more than meets the eye. As you learn more about Nathan’s past, you get the sense that not everyone around him, or everyone that he’s had contact with before he died, is good. Nora risks her career at Horizen for Nathan, as angels aren’t allowed to have feelings for uploads, and she soon risks her life as well. The ending, however, comes as a shock when things come to a head and the season ends on a cliffhanger.
Upload, while having a somewhat similar idea to NBC’s The Good Place, is completely different. The show is a dramedy — it’s not always sad when someone dies in the series, it’s like they’re given another opportunity to live their life, just not in reality. As the season goes on, you start to learn more about Lakeview and what it is. What makes Lakeview so great? Is Lakeview what everyone makes it out to be? Seeing the workers at Horizen, you start to figure out that not everything is what it seems. You also learn more about the characters. Luke (Kevin Bigley) is a Lakeview resident that becomes Nathan’s friend who is just trying to “survive” the digital afterlife. Dylan (Rhys Slack) is a 12-year-old who is really supposed to be 18 but has been in Lakeview for six years after falling in the Grand Canyon. Jamie (Jordan Johnson-Hines) was Nathan’s friend and business partner, but as the season goes on, you start to realize there may be more to his story. These characters, while not so big to the central storyline, are still given their own backstories and overall stories.
The characters are their separate stories that are part of an even bigger one. Lakeview is made out to be this wonderful, digital afterlife where nothing can go wrong. I love this series because it draws you in just at the plot. A digital afterlife where you still get to talk to friends and family, have intimate relationships, and get all the food you could possibly want? Sign me up. Only it’s not just the plot that drew me, it’s these characters, these stories. The relationships and chemistry that the characters have is because of the chemistry that the actors have. Nathan and Nora, while at first seem like it’s just going to be a normal friendship, starts to turn into something more. Ingrid tries her hardest to hold on to the relationship that she has with Nathan, even uploading herself at the end so she can be with him forever.
From the beginning of the season when you’re first introduced to the majority of the characters and wondering how they’re all connected; to the middle when it’s Nathan’s funeral, and you’re seeing some of his memories, seeing Ingrid’s true self; to the end, when Nathan is on the 2Gig level and he uses up all he has left because he was calling Nora, trying to talk to her, trying to help her, no matter what it took, you are constantly wondering what’s going to happen. This series mixes up drama and comedy so well, throwing in some romance, too. It could also be counted as a mystery, because you’re trying to figure out what really happened with Nathan before he died and why he was potentially murdered. It’s funny, the music used in the show go great with the scene and story, the visuals are absolutely stunning, and the acting can go from serious to humorous in a matter of minutes. The graphics are also out of this world, with the holographs of in-app purchases and five stars and pop-up ads, the virtual reality, and at one point, most of the residents in Lakeview had turned into Legos for a short period of time.
The season ended on a heartbreaking cliffhanger when Nathan used up all his gigs when he was talking to Nora, but Ingrid had come in, giving him one more gig, then shocking him with the fact that she uploaded herself so she could be with him. Nathan then used up that last gig and froze, Ingrid calling for “tech support” and the lights shutting off. There is still so much more story to tell, so much of the mystery with Nathan’s memories and what happened to him that still needs to be told, but only time will tell if this Amazon series will get renewed. Watch all 10 episodes of season one of Upload now on Prime Video. I promise you, you won’t regret it and will want to be in your own digital afterlife after watching. Or, maybe not.