A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Upload is a dystopian comedy series about a man who gets uploaded into a virtual world after his death. It's pretty mature, with sexual content that includes simulated sex acts with nudity, lots of uses of "f--k," and violent moments including car crashes, decapitations, and suicide. A murder mystery is part of the plot, and drinking is visible. There are lots of references to major companies (Facebook, Panera, etc.), and logos for products ranging from Frito-Lay and Orbit gum to Amazon are prominently displayed.
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What's the story?
From the creator of The Office comes UPLOAD, a futuristic dark comedy that offers a glimpse of what heaven could like in the not-so-distant future. It's 2033, and Nora Antony (Andy Allo) is a customer service representative for the Horizon Lakeview virtual reality hotel, one of the more luxurious VR hotels available for folks to live in digital eternity. When Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell), a 20-something Los Angeles coder, is uploaded to Lakeview after being involved in a self-driving car crash in Los Angeles, Nora is assigned to him as his "angel" and gently tries to guide his transition into cyberheaven. It's a nice place, but Nathan's activities are limited by Lakeview's strict rules, and by his still-living girlfriend, Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), who is financing his afterlife in hopes of joining him later. Meanwhile, his new digital friend Luke (Kevin Bigley) continues to remind him of how dysfunctional their artificial lives are. But Nora, who wants to qualify for an employee discount, is going out of her way to support her new client. She soon finds herself getting more involved with Nathan than expected, and uncovers information that suggests that her new client's death may not have been accidental.
Is it any good?
This fun comedy series mixes the elements of dystopian sci-fi with a good murder mystery to produce a story world with a strong cynical edge. It not-so-subtly points to a near future in which technology plays a part in every part of our lives (and if you can afford it, our afterlives), but without reducing the need for human connections. In doing so, it relies on everyday contemporary experiences to keep the story going, whether it be creating a virtual hotel experience where clients are encouraged to spend more money on perks, or allowing major tech-driven retail corporations to take over our lives.
Upload isn't as sharply written as some of creator Greg Daniels' other work (think Parks and Recreation), but it still offers a fair share of laugh-worthy moments. Meanwhile, the human connection established between Nathan and Nora, and the whodunit mystery that evolves as a result, gives the show a sense of purpose that goes beyond pointing out how dysfunctional our lives may potentially get as we attempt to replace reality with digital inventiveness. Overall, it's a smart and entertaining binge-worthy series that's worth tuning in to.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Upload portrays our society less than two decades into our future. According to the show, what impact will the way that we use digital technology today to learn, socialize, and do other things have on our society in 2033? Is this a good or bad thing?
What technological advances would you like to see in 20 years? Which ones do you think we should do without? Are there ways that we can prevent certain technological improvements and upgrades from happening?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love science fiction
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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