October 7, 2022

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'Severance' review: Team Adam Scott and Producer Ben Stiller on an Apple series that puts a chilling sci-fi spin on work-life balance

‘Severance’ review: Team Adam Scott and Producer Ben Stiller on an Apple series that puts a chilling sci-fi spin on work-life balance

The title refers to a procedure practiced by giant Lumon Industries, in which employees cut their memories of what happens at work from what happens outside, and vice versa, in theory, bringing new meaning to the phrase “work-life balance”.

However, when a team member suddenly leaves, and a newcomer arrives, it upsets the chemistry within the office, sparking ideas about what might really be motivating the practice — and what might the company actually do? Senior Copper seems keen to avoid it.

The answers don’t come quickly, but the script becomes absolutely fantastic, with Adam Scott taking on the role of Mark Scout, the new low-profile leader of the team; and Brett Laure as Hailey, a newcomer who asks a lot of questions.

Finally, it’s enough to make even those who crave the office appreciate Zoom calls. For the aforementioned cast, Lumon’s staff roster includes John Turturro, Christopher Walken, Zach Sherry, Trammell Tillman, and Patricia Arquette, Last Encounter with Stiller after the fantastic 2018 prison drama. “Escape in Dannemora.”

For Mark, the broken memories served a purpose, as they allowed him to find some distance between work and the pain he was experiencing after losing his wife.

Scott turns out to be the perfect guy, but the cast is uniformly good. Why Others Agree to Faust’s Deal This is just one of the breadcrumbs that “Severance” takes its time, in a series that leaves plenty of runway for more at the end of its nine episodes.

Created by Dan Erickson, there’s a high-quality “Twin Peaks” quality to some of the series’ more eccentric aspects, like the monotonously-voiced Arquette chief telling Mark that “handshakes are available on request,” walking down impossibly long hallways or the bizarre obsession with watermelon balls at festivities. Embarrassing company. The show also invites comparisons to underappreciated AMC dramas “Rubicon” And the sixties series “Prisoner,” Given the confined environment and uncertainty about who can be trusted.
“Severance” won’t be for everyone, but those drawn to the sanitized maze-like workspace won’t be able to get enough of its provocative effects about brain-tinting and memories, movie-style. “Eternal sunshine of a clean mind.”

Light escape is not. But until the show’s fictional technology becomes a reality, series like “Severance” are just sort of a cerebral concept to help distract one’s mind from the daily work of 9-5.

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“Severance” premieres February 18 on Apple TV+. (Disclosure: My wife works for an Apple division.)