Amazon’s Genre-Bending New Series ‘Upload’ Gives Virtual Reality a Whole New Meaning

Amazon Prime

From the vision of legendary Parks and Recreation and The Office creator Greg Daniels, Upload explores a futuristic world engaging in virtual reality. There’s just one twist; in order to live in this digital world your body must die. Starring The Duff’s Robbie Amell, Upload follows 27-year-old Nathan Brown as he makes the transition from life to virtual afterlife. 

Set in the year 2033, the story begins when Nathan’s self-driving car crashes. On his deathbed, Nathan’s girlfriend Ingrid (Allegra Edwards) demands he sign a contract to “upload.” Signing this contract means Nathan is giving doctors the right to retrieve his brain activity along with all of his memories. His consciousness will then transfer with him as he transitions to a virtual afterlife. 

Nathan reluctantly signs the contract and is sent to Lakeview, a luxurious virtual afterlife. Lakeview is a digital reality full of picture-perfect landscapes brimming with mountains, lakes, and flowers. Here, each resident is given an avatar that looks identical to themselves at the age in which they died. 

Amazon Prime

Unlike our society’s most popular constructed concepts of the afterlife, in this one, the dead are still able to contact their loved ones through a variety of digital mediums like Facetime and text message. If you have been distancing from your loved ones during quarantine and have only communicated virtually, this concept will certainly resonate with you.

Also in this fictional afterlife, every upload is given an “angel” to assist them in navigating their way through virtual reality. Nathan’s angel happens to be a young customer service representative from New York named Nora (Andy Allo). While it may seem from an upload’s perspective that the angels’ lives are glamorous, they are actually just underpaid workers in a tech conglomerate trying to profit off the dead. Despite living on two separate planes of existence, Nathan and Nora form a romantic bond. Their connection ultimately encourages Nora to come clean about the faults in the uploading system.

A major theme presented in the series is the divide between the financial classes. In this fantasy future, only the rich are able to afford to keep their loved ones in an afterlife. If the family can no longer make payments, the upload will lose gigabytes and eventually lose all consciousness resulting in a complete death discontinuing all contact to the living.

Amazon Prime

Luckily for Nathan, Ingrid’s money is the one thing keeping Nathan in Lakeview, the most expensive virtual afterlife there is. If it wasn’t for Ingrid’s income, Nathan would be gone forever. He would never be able to speak to his mother or sister again. There is a clear comparison to be drawn here with our healthcare system in America. Until this system changes, the rich will always have the upper hand when it comes to keeping their families healthy. Just like in the show, only the most fortunate can survive.

Upload is more than just a comedy because it forces viewers to think about our future in a new way. Especially in these tough times of social distancing, we are relying on technology for contact more and more each day. Like any good show, you will leave each episode with questions. Upload is witty, innovative, and unlike anything you have seen before. It is a quintessential blend of all your favorite genres. While you may have previously seen other visions of the afterlife represented on television, none are comparable to the spectacular world presented in Upload. 

Upload is now available to stream on Amazon Prime

by Blair Krassen

Blair lives in Philadelphia and is studying creative writing at the University of the Arts. She is a comedy fiction and screenwriter. Her favorite show is Charmed (the original) and her favourite movie is the Sandlot. She loves sitcoms and female comedians. You can follow her twitter @blairlyawake

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