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SILO is based on the similarly titled book series by Hugh Howey. After finishing FALLOUT, I was still in a post-apocalypse mood and didn’t want to deal with zombies, so I decided to check out this series on Apple TV that I’d seen advertised at my local comic book store.

I”m a fan of Rebecca Ferguson from her work in the Mission Impossible movies so I figured it would certainly be up my alley. I have to admit that it was the look of the show that sold me on it and the idea of living in what appeared to be a literal nuclear silo was something that I definitely was attracted by. Certainly, I ended up getting the book after finishing the first season. Still, it’s not going to be a wholly positive endorsement. It’s a good show but I have thoughts.

The premise is that humanity, at least as far as we know, only exists in the Silo now. There’s ten thousand people living in a single vertical tube stretching down into the depths of the Earth with the outside considered to be wholly toxic. They have forgotten all of their history and all records of it have been destroyed due to a great rebellion that was put down a century and a half ago. Relics of the before times are illegal and a vibrant trade in them still exists. If you screw up or are feeling suicidal, you are sent outside to clean the cameras watching the outside and will inevitably die within minutes.

The first couple of episodes deal with Sheriff Holston Becker (David Oyelowo) and his wife, Allison (Rashida Jones), dealing with the fact that they are unable to conceive during their preordained period to have a child. They are also people who have stumbled into possible secrets of the time before, including an actual hard drive. This story will segue into the story of Juliette (Rebecca Ferguson), a “Mechanical” working in the lowest, dingiest levels of the Silo. Opposing their efforts is Robert Sims (Common), a sinister Judicial agent, and the ambiguously loyal Bernard Holland (Tim Robbins).

The plot is, obviously, stretched from the original novel. You can tell they have added a large amount of content in order to fill out the show’s ten episode runtime. This seems like it could easily have been a movie and probably should have been. There’s quite a bit of melodrama that feels contrived and designed to just maximize the conflict despite the fact that the story is fairly straightforward despite a few twists.

Next, Silo feels a great deal like a an adult aged cast of characters in a YA novel. There’s the sinister conspiracy, the plucky heroine with way too much plot armor, and the somewhat contrived backstory that lets her keep a role as a working class hero while also being an educated young woman with ties to the upper class as well as eventually falling her way into law enforcement. Having read the books, I feel like they did a much better job of getting straight to the point and not getting sidetracked.

That doesn’t mean the show is bad, per se, but it does lower its score a bit. The show has fantastic set-building and a strong claustrophobic feel throughout. Much of the technology is analog and feels very much like Fallout without the retro-futurism or wacky humor. Everything feels appropriately worn down and you believe these people are living in a slowly dying ruin. The little rules and feel of the place are all well done as well.

The acting is good, too, and none of the performers do anything less than their A-game. All of them are very talented and even if they don’t have much to work with, they manage to expand the characters and give them a humanity that the writing doesn’t necessarily justify. Even if you can see who the villains are from a mile away, you also believe that they have justifiable (at least to themselves) reasons for their activities.

In conclusion, this is an entertaining show with some flaws. I recommend it to individuals who enjoy dystopian fiction, post-apocalypse storytelling, and those who don’t mind a little melodrama to round out their dramatic acting and tragedy of circumstance. The world of Silo is well-realized and the acting is good enough that I can ignore most of its flaws.

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