There are quite a few things that call the attention of ‘Silo’, many of which come from their own genre labels. The new Apple TV+ science fiction series is described as a dystopia starring Rebecca Ferguson (‘Dune’) in a post-apocalyptic world where the last ten thousand inhabitants of the Earth live confined in a mysterious and centuries-old silo.
It is not well known who made this gigantic silo of more than 140 levels or so that humanity can survive a catastrophe that has made the world uninhabitable and it is governed by rigid rules created by The Founders a century and a half ago. Beyond that, there is a clean slate in the history of humanity. Nobody knows what happened before.
On the other hand, this has not prevented us from having a fairly developed civilization/culture with its own traditions, its own law and order. The series, of ten episodes (of which I have been able to see five) part precisely of the mystery surrounding the creation of this giant structure and if a reality is being hidden from the inhabitants of the silo: that the exterior is habitable. A mystery that will begin to be unraveled by an engineer after the mysterious death of a loved one.
Don’t call it dystopia, call it noir
There are a couple of factors that I find quite interesting in Graham Yost’s proposal (‘Justified’), I imagine that they also inherited from Hugh Howey’s novels (which I have not read and therefore I cannot comment). The first thing is that run away quite consciously of the conventions of dystopias and similar proposals… even looking very similar.
This includes the fact that it is not a young adult proposal like, for example, ‘The 100’ but it is not something very interested in influencing the most dystopian aspects of this world either. That is, while there is some class segregation along a hermetic structure (‘Snowpiercer’), the script is not interested in that.
I also know disconnect from the topic of “plain town” vs. authorities to go a little further into the “sewers of the state”: the mayor for decades (Geraldine James) is a faithful servant of the people; the sheriff (David Oyelowo), three-quarters of the same. Another thing is if we mess with departments like the judicial or IT chaired by Bernard (Tim Robbins).
We could say that, in this sense, ‘Silo’ is more similar to proposals such as ‘The city and the city’ (whose adaptation starred David Morrissey), putting a mysterious conspiracy at the center of the plot. And I think that when they focus on this “mystery of the universe” and what it’s entailing, that’s when the show works best.
This does not mean that the work of Graham Yost makes somewhat questionable decisions. I’m not talking about the first episode, magnificently starring Rashida Jones as a prologue, it’s more narrative issues as it progresses the series that causes some confusing moments (the beginning of episode 2).
Somewhat inconsistent worldbuilding
Beyond that, where I think ‘Silo’ is more inconsistent than advisable is in the construction of the world. For example, the fact that there are screens showing the outside (to remember that it is inhospitable land) or computers but that the concept of video and camera escapes them; or, also, the concept of stars. That it is one thing that all foreign knowledge has been erased, but another is that no one has noticed it in a century and a half.
The general impression is that in this aspect the series is somewhat soft. Also in some other casting decision (Common?) in what, in general, is a pretty correct fictionwith good production values (we did not expect otherwise) and a quite successful setting.
The greatest virtue of ‘Silo’ is that, despite the fact that we can get this or that but, the proposal engages thanks to a magnetic Rebecca Ferguson and a mystery box that little by little we are opening. Something that compensates for certain deficiencies in the emotional field or in his lack of interest in his own dystopian proposal.
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