Severance is an American science fiction psychological thriller streaming television series created by Dan Erickson. The nine-episode first season stars Adam Scott, Zach Cherry, Britt Lower, Tramell Tillman, Jen Tullock, Dichen Lachman, Michael Chernus, John Turturro, Christopher Walken, and Patricia Arquette. The series debuted on AppleTV+ in February 2022 and has received wide critical acclaim. So, is Severance worth binge-watching.
No doubt about it, Severance is one of the best new TV series of 2022 and may well be the successor to the brilliance of Breaking Bad, the high watermark for TV series. It ticks all the boxes for an engaging TV drama – an intriguing premise, intelligent plots, engaging characters and so on. Let’s start with the premise –
Mark (Scott) leads a team of office workers whose memories have been surgically divided between their work and personal lives. When a mysterious colleague appears outside of work, it begins a journey to discover the truth about their jobs. (IMDb)
We are introduced to Helly (Lower) in the opening sequence and for at least the first half of the first episode, the audience experiences her ‘severed’ experience vis-a-vis the series, i.e. as a blank slate. That’s our starting point as the series brilliantly begins to build the narrative based on information revealed bit by bit throughout the nine episodes.
We interact most with these ‘severed’ characters – Mark, Helly together with Irving (Turturro) and Dylan (Zach Cherry) who are colleagues in the same department. Being ‘blank slates’, the quartet can only live lives a day at a time, building knowledge, memories and relationships from scratch. And yet, it is clear that we can see vestiges of their outside life – maybe viscerally their true selves in their responses and reactions in Lumon’s ‘severed’ basement floor.
Thematically, the twisted work-life balance presented in Severance is a wonderful commentary on the nature of employment itself and the dysfunctional employer-employee relationship. In addition, the series explores the concept of identity and mental health in an innovative fashion and for that it must be lauded.
But of course, ultimately, Severance is also a psychological thriller and that element is delivered in spades especially in the nail-biting season finale – which left breathless to the very end. And once you have finished season 1, Severance is also definitely with that re-binge-watch. Highly recommended!
Now streaming on AppleTV+.
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