With an over-saturation of mediocre to semi-decent half-hour sitcoms, Amazon Prime's new comedy series Upload stands out as genuinely funny and way worth the download.
In the realm of The Good Place-like humor lies this truly delightful comedic gem.
And by "delightful," I don't mean "dumb," as describes many shows garnering the same description.
OK, I take that back; it is dumb, but only on the surface.
A show about uploading souls into a digital heaven would, of course, have to be dumb.
Reading the plot summary doesn't make one oozy with feelings of, "I so need to watch this!" But once watched, the laughs are inevitable.
The "Oprah/Kamala 2024" sign conspicuously displayed in the first episode forewarns the time frame of the setting isn't distant. (Don't worry, it doesn't get political from there, we promise.)
Ever since the Back to the Future Films, most futuristic jokes are tired. But Upload nails them:
- Protected sex now means video consent to have the sex, and hookups are given star ratings after the booty calls conclude.
- The deceased may now attend and host their own funerals.
- Those who can only afford the "2-gig plan" in virtual heaven sit and wait on a special barren floor of the "building" for their data to refill -- until then, they must look at "add view" icons as their "windows."
- Estate agents sell afterlife destinations to their human souled clients.
The plot between these laughs includes some romance -- not my favorite aspect -- and a legit mystery that needs solving.
Granted, I'm not the ideal audience for romance, so it's more than possible other fans of the show will love its execution here. Luckily, while being romantic, the show retains the funny.
Nora (Andy Allo), is an "angel" in Lakeview, the virtual heaven to where hunky Nathan (Robbie Amell) is uploaded by his rich, spoiled girflfriend/fiancee Ingrid (Allegra Edwards) after a mysterious self-driving car accident lands him in critical condition.
Ingrid is gorgeous but shallow and controlling, having paid for Nathan's upload so that she essentially controls him. She has enabled notifications for any time Nathan orders something, on her dime.
Nora is down-to-earth and sweet, and fully wants what's best for Nathan, including his finding the cause of his accident and why some of his memory files have been corrupted.
This scenario is exactly as we'd expect; that romantic storyline is the one weak link.
The show is funny as hell. But what surprises me most is the engagement of the mystery plot. I want more of that.
I want even more mystery and whodunnits in Season 2. More questions require answering. We need to know who done what to whom!
While the entire cast has perfect delivery, there are still standouts.
The most comedically endowed of the series is Zainab Johnson as Nora's coworker and friend, Aleesha.
Watching her mix of spot-on delivery and perfectly dangerous lovability incites multiple guffaws, making me -- for one -- forget why I'm here: to review the damned thing!
Dayam, that woman is funny!
She nails the berating exclamation, "That's going in my fingers and dicks file!" while removing a digitized finger from a troublemaking upload client. And her virtual dancing scene with another client is thoroughly howel-some.
Also very funny are Edwards as the obnoxious controlling fiancee and Andrea Rose as Nora's boss Lucy Slack.
Rose's Lucy is so suitably evil, laughing at her antics brings feelings of guilt!
For example, when running a staff meeting, Lucy references children who upload to Lakeview at the age of their passiing. Aleesha blurts, "The kids are our future!" to which Lucy quickly and dryly corrects her: "Not these kids, Aleesha. These kids are dead."
WHAAAAAA????? Brahahahahaha ... ahhhhhh, I'm still laughing at that one. Otherwise though, man, she does some shitty shit! She made me yell through the screen at one point.
Elizabeth Bowen as Fran Booth gets a lot of play out of her smaller role as well.
She tries doing the family of the deceased a favor by investigating the murder. I won't give away how that goes, but it's hella' funny.
Leads Andy Allo and Robbie Amell -- who happens to be the cousin of Arrow's Stephen Amell -- carry the show well, and still get some good honest slapsticky schtick thrown at them. They handle it well.
The show delves, too, into family drama -- drama that becomes surprisingly sincere amidst the mostly silly tone.
Any dark prophesying about what our society might yet become lingers well after the show ends.
Do we want to live in a world where we issue and are issued star ratings after our booty calls?
Really, though, we aren't too far off from such a world, as it is.
Once we are allowed to again leave our homes, we will come to our own conclusions about any privacy invasions occurring in our own time.
While Upload keeps us laughing from start to finish, it also serves as a warning -- a warning that eats away at the back of our heads like a demonic virus-infected parasite -- of what's to come.
Maybe the silver lining around this time of world isolation is that we can backtrack. We might refrain from rushing into what I call Future World (thanks to Pretty Maids for that most excellent 80s metal tune!) too quickly; going offline is healthy.
Course, in order to watch Upload we ... need to go online ... so we can, you know, stream it. But after that, go offline and talk about it with your friends and family!
Watch Upload on Amazon Prime when it premieres May 1st. Then come back and discuss with us. We always want to know your thoughts.
Kerr Lordygan is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.