With The Good Pace ending in January it was only a matter of time before shows with similar looking premise came flooding in as an attempt to win over that shows audience. On the surface this new Greg Daniels show for Amazon looks like a prime (pun not intended) contender. Set in the near future where corporations enable citizens to “upload” to a digital afterlife with said afterlife being controlled by a number of real-world employees named “angels” who look after the guests in this afterlife. Robbie Amell play central character Nathan who dies under mysterious circumstances, gets “uploaded” to the prestigious Lakeview server and proceeds to fall for the angel looking after him (Anbly Allo.)
The first episode has some very direct Good Place comparisons that can be made but the show does craft something of its own identity as the season progresses. As opposed to being an entirely serialised sitcom this is much closer to some of the ongoing half-hour comedy dramas you see on Netflix (GLOW, Dead to Me among others.)
This was a frustrating season. This show really works when it is deconstructing poking fun at or centring worldbuilding around the mechanics of a hypothetical digital afterlife. The world building especially is effective enough to give the season a recommendation regardless of anything else. That said the writing outside of this is what lets the season down. It is a very strange mix of only 2000 romantic comedy and later 2000s/early 2010s Seth Rogen vehicle and it hits a really odd note as a result. Not to say there aren’t jokes that land or things that are funny as a result of the world building but this is definitely one of those seasons where you can see the better elements fighting for screen time competing against material that’s a lot more generic in nature.
The other elements of this season are fine but nothing exceptional. Robbie Amell and Anbly Allo are solid in the lead roles but don’t get a lot to do beyond standard troops you’d see in a mid-2000s rom coms. The serialised plot elements are very watchable but there are better examples of this kind of genre and structure on any number of streaming shows. The one other element to mention is the ending which is surprisingly dark and effective for a show that has been exceptionally light and fluffy up until that point. Enough building blocks are here to suggest the show could really improve with future seasons, but we will just have to wait and see.
In terms of TV Seasons Upload season 1 represents the most frustrating variety to review. The building blocks of a potentially great show are all here but the choices made in the writing and general presentation suggest that well the show could improve with future seasons it could also stay at roughly the same quality level for its entire run. This would make it a decent it unremarkable half hour dramady but given the creativity of the world building shown in this first season the show seems capable of so much more.