Upload, a way-offbeat sci-fi comedy from Greg Daniels, looks into the near future, where people facing death can pay to upload themselves to one of the various well-marketed digital settings that stand in for heaven.
The series has Nathan as a main character. Following a fatal accident in his self-driving car, cocky Nathan uploads to Lakeview, an afterlife destination where an individual can program the weather with a thermostat, the shower’s water pressure is perfect, the breakfast spread has maple bacon donuts and the lake view is magnificent.
Yet there are bumpy spots in the digital afterlife. The breakfast spread disappears at 10 a.m., Nathan’s hair is acting strangely and some annoying guy is always walking around offering free gum.
Nora, a Lakeview customer service rep in New York, communicates with Nathan and helps him get through the rough patches of his entry into Lakeview. The pilot dances between real life, in New York, and afterlife in Lakeview. As the pilot concludes, there’s a glimmer of spark between Nora (played by Andy Allo) and Nathan (Robbie Amell).
Daniels, who was behind beloved comedies The Office and Parks and Recreation, puts real imagination into this near-futuristic world, one where people can glimpse their mobile screens in the crux of their pointed forefinger and thumb and where self-driving cars are part of life, even if that doesn’t work out so well for Nathan. Daniels said the idea for the series came when he was brainstorming Saturday Night Live sketches years ago while walking around Manhattan.
We didn’t get many laughs from the pilot, but did come away curious about where Daniels would take this unique story.
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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