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HomeTechnology'Outside' on Prime Video: The sci-fi thriller is an addictive puzzle box

'Outside' on Prime Video: The sci-fi thriller is an addictive puzzle box

Seeing a show with a hype thread “from the creators of Westworld” isn’t necessarily for excitement these days. The amount of homework required by Westworld in its puzzling late season is simply stupid. Good news: If you’re still doing those homework, you can drop it now. Your time studying complex sci-fi stories is best spent on The Peripheral.

Main reason: Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s new series is easier to understand. That’s not to say it’s not a challenging mind-bender. Summary: Two worlds are connected by advanced technology and are used by different factions for good and evil. , the heroine — not like the Alice in Wonderland character Dolores in Westworld. Except Flynn Fisher isn’t a killing robot. Her source material from The Peripheral: a 2014 novel by influential cyberpunk author William Gibson. If you haven’t heard of Gibson, his influence is this: He invented the word cyberspace.

Chloe Grace Moretz might be the perfect choice to play the kind-hearted Flynne. Moretz is from Georgia, so her brisk southern accent should look like it. Flynne and her ex-soldier brother Burton—Jack Reynor of Midsommar, who, while not from Georgia, has a realistic-sounding accent—are living somewhere in rural America some 10 years later. They provide medication to a sick mother (Melinda Page Hamilton) through various jobs, including playing a virtual reality video game called “sim”.

Jack Reynor in a formal outfit standing in a large room

Jack Leno plays Flynn’s brother Burton.

Amazon Studios

Parallel reality sets Flynn and Burton to great rewards and even greater danger. The best part is seeing Flynn, a more skilled gamer than her brother, become the chosen one who is vital to a secretive organization’s grand plans in the game’s future London.

The better part is that each time Flynn gets over her naive girl problem in small town. Unexpectedly, she’ll beat someone up in the game, negating many of her real-life weaknesses, including being bullied by a local drug dealer.

Unlike Amazon’s recent slow-fire sci-fi works — – Peripheral and Night Sky – Peripheral has Lots of cinders to drive its narrative. The first episode detonated more than one important plot point. Intense and sometimes relentless action scenes are plentiful.

Jack Reynor in a formal outfit standing in a large room

Flynne met in future London Wilf (Gary Carr). Yes, he is mysterious.

Jack Reynor in a formal outfit standing in a large room Amazon Studio

However, for better or worse, the top names in Western World style have found their way into this new world. The London of the future is inhabited by a group of well-dressed power-holders who gesture, articulate, and talk in grand fashion. While making a clear distinction between future Londoners and rural Americans seems like an intentional choice, it still provokes the occasional smirk.

The worst (and funniest) part of The Peripheral is literally, “This can all be confusing, even to us. Maybe we should stick to the most Urgent things, and trusting minor details to fall into place.” It sounds like Clemence Posey’s character in Tenet (directed by Jonathan Nolan’s brother Christopher) says, “Don’t try to understand it. Feel it.”

Peripherals don’t seem overwhelming, though. Of course, alternate realities and unfamiliar technical terms start to pile up. You’ll have to learn “stubs” (parallel timelines); “jockeying” (playing games on behalf of others); and “peripherals” (robots that can plug into someone’s consciousness). But the show’s dual recent designs are surprisingly minimalist and neatly integrated. Some technology — digital arrows on the road pointing to where self-driving cars are going — should exist in our world. Dystopia looks like what Joey and Nolan really want in Westworld.

Sometimes, simplicity really is best. Joey and Nolan strike the right balance between likable, relatable protagonists and their journey down the tech-labyrinthine rabbit hole. In other words, The Peripheral conjures just the right amount of puzzling power without disrupting the illusion.

Episode 1 of The Peripheral airs Friday on Prime Video.

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