‘Upload’ season 2 hasn’t lost the wit of its fabulous first year, though it has lost some of its venom

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All the series that start with a triumphant first season (and that of ‘Upload’ was, even if it was camouflaged under an accessible humor and not at all cynical) face a considerable challenge in its second year. In this case, continuing the satire of technology (and more specifically, of social networks and customs that allow us to unfold into more desirable virtual entities than our mundane real personalities), but without neglecting the character development of the first installment.

In fact, that’s what the first year of ‘Upload’ was about beyond mere impersonal satire, and frankly, it’s something Greg Daniels has been extremely good at since his days as the creator of ‘The Office’. He demonstrated it in the already classic ‘Parks & Recreation’ or in the also very special one -a step below ‘Upload’, perhaps, but with an equally delicious cast of characters- ‘Space Force’. No matter where your environment sitcomDaniels is always right in the eccentricity of his secondary and the emotional contradictions of his heroes and heroines.

'Upload', critical: a surprising comic series that poses an afterlife managed by technology corporations

But in this case the mix of mildly anti-tech satire and the characters who suffered from it blended especially well: we started from the fact that a young person who dies in an accident goes to a beyond that does not correspond to him, a virtual paradise in which he is like a fish out of water. And he falls in love with his “angel”, the employee of the company that supports this network of otherworldly lives that are like a social network. The innumerable contradictions that emerged from the approach, beginning with the fact that he was dead and she was alive, not only enhanced the comedy, but also gave it a very interesting background.

This second season starts with some first episodes that have a hard time maintaining the interesting situation we had in the first season all the time. To begin with, Nora the angel goes completely offline and joins a group of Luddites who live in the countryside without contact with technology. Our protagonist is completely helpless since without technology he cannot meet her again.

Less satire, more emotions

The first season was conceived as an analysis of our personality splits and behaviors in a series that would have been inconceivable just a few years before. From rating real people with stars and the real impact that has to the impossibility of living offline, gone through our daily clash between what we are and how we want others to see us. All that, although it obviously belongs to the DNA of the series, we lose it in part.

That is why the series stops resembling ‘The Good Place’, which was pure existentialist philosophy from the moment it laid down rules for behavior and reality and dedicated itself to examining them and looking for the loopholes in it. ‘Upload’ has stopped being interested in the mechanisms of her world to exploit them, and now wants to tell stories set in that universe.

'The Good Place': who was going to tell us that a series about ethics, morals and life in the afterlife would be one of the comedies of the moment

From this point of view, the story has some interesting ups and downs, such as Nora’s aforementioned initial visit to the Luddite camp, which then takes a turn when she returns to having a virtual presence, or the investigation of the protagonist’s death, suspected of not having been an accident, as already noted in the first season. This focus on the plots and not on the absurd gags that put technology to shame generates ups and downs in interest because they are not so genuinely original.

With everything, and although we are a step slightly below the first season, ‘Upload’ is still one of the best satires of virtual life, which also acquires unexpected resonances now that we all talk nonstop about the Metaverse, that ‘Upload’ in the earth. Plots like that of the horrendous digital babies return to the best grotesque humor of the first year and the cast is still as in tune and overflowing with charisma as ever. Despite everything, an essential series to reflect on the non-reality and the non-places that are going to become our daily lives.

All the series that start with a triumphant first season (and that of ‘Upload’ was, even if it was camouflaged…

All the series that start with a triumphant first season (and that of ‘Upload’ was, even if it was camouflaged…

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