TV REVIEW: Upload Season 1 – All 10 Episodes Rated and Reviewed

Just got done binge-watching the first season of Upload [FIRST LOOK]



My mini non-spoiler review is go watch it ASAP. Because the show is linear and new episodes spoil prior episodes, similar to the show 24, though not as action-oriented and there is no Jack Baeur. But there is an exciting look at one not completely impossible future with some realistic — and unrealistic — future tech explored.

Once you’ve seen the series, then come back and we can discuss this excellent series and the wondrous technology.

This makes two TV sci-fi series that I’ve enjoyed recently from Amazon. Tales From The Loop is the other (see: TV REVIEW: Tales From The Loop Season 1 – All 8 Episodes Rated and Reviewed (Spoiler-free)) and I keep hearing a bunch of good things about The Expanse. I need to check that, too.

For those that have also seen Upload, or don’t care about spoilers, let’s dig into this show.

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

Episode 1 – “Welcome to Upload” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Air date: May 1, 2020
Run time: 45 minutes

Following a self-driving car accident, Nathan’s brain is uploaded and he must adjust and adapt to his new virtual afterlife. He is assisted by a real life customer service assistants named “Angels.” Nora is his first angel and Nathan begins to form an attraction to her.

Peeing games! OK, this is juvenile, but when Nathan realizes whenever he urinates it programatically always makes it into the urinal.

For men, anyway, this is hilarious!

The virtual world sci-fi is done well. Lakeview by Horizon is the virtual rental home. Watching 50 First Dates. Dig the self-driving smart cars:

Seems like these cars do not follow Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics. Nathan decides to go into driver-assist mode and uses a game controller to weave in and out of lanes.

Yup, police drones to the rescue … and traffic law enforcement. Love it!

We then meet Ingrid, Nathan’s overly preppy rich girlfriend. Not even his business patner, Jamie, likes Ingrid. They have dinner and then sex in the self-driving car. Then on the way home Nathan’s car ignores his warnings and runs into an illegally parked truck. At the hospital, Ingrid encourages him to not roll the dice on ER going badly for repairing a punctured lung and just uploading instead so they “can be together forever.”

The Uploading process is a bit more grim than you might expect.

Why does a laser need to cut off the person’s entire head?

I would think the actual process would be less horrific, but suppose this was done for extra comedic effect. I’ll give them that.

The rest of the episode primarily involves Nathan getting acquainted with Lakeview, the Upload resort community. He has a thermostat switch on the wall that turns outside from Summer to Winter (snow, ice, the works). Pretty nifty stuff and standard VR background magic.

Nathan doesn’t have the password for his Horizon account. Ingrid is controlling and paying for charges, so she has everything notifying her of charges. Seems oddly possessive and controlling. I don’t like Ingrid.

Nathan gets a bit suicidal in the end, threatening to jump into the bitstorm that immediately disintegrates Uploads that go into it. Nora must talk him out of it.

Great, fun episode. This did what a pilot should do: draw us in. Loved the technology displayed. A lot of very little detail technology to look for Easter egg style in this episode. Rewatch and see if you can spot everything (hint: microwave, bicycles, more).

Episode 2 – “Five Stars” ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Air date: May 1, 2020
Run time: 29 minutes

Nora has sex with her social dating match Byron who talks up a five-star rating, only he gives her four stars, which pisses her off.

We learn about how Nora’s father’s health is declining and she wants him to upload and go into Lakeview. He is resisting the idea. But in order for Nora to get her employer’s permission to sign off on the upload, she needs at least a 4.8 rating and she’s under that score.

Second episodes are usually a come-down from the intensity of the first/pilot setting us up for more of what a regular episode in the series will be like. This is no exception. Would have liked to see more technology like in the first episode and the father of Nora dying was a bit more depressing than lighthearted and comedic. Still, a good episode, just a noticeable drop off from the first.

Episode 3 – “The Funeral” ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
Air date: May 1, 2020
Run time: 26 minutes

Begins with the first attempted download. Having an Upload transferred back into a body. It seems like it is going well, but it then it doesn’t.

Has a Fly-like feel to it and the head explode is gory fun.

This episode focuses on Nathan attending his own funeral. The best part is the opening sequence. The rest is (too much) of Nathan and his unlikable girlfriend Ingrid. We are beginning to wonder what’s up with Ingrid. It’s like she’s too busy to deal with Nathan. Her character is suspicious already.

Overall another good episode. Nice to see the scientists working to be able to reverse the Upload process.

Episode 4 – “The Sex Suit” ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½
Air date: May 1, 2020
Run time: 24 minutes

Opens with a billionaire Upload playing golf with Nathan. He makes sure to call in the Arnold Palmer bot to tell him, “Watch this, you piece of shit!” lol. The series is best when it has these little side future tech scenes.

Nathan and Ingrid, again, are the primary focus of the episode. Make a date using the sex suit.

The best part of this episode is the tour with Nora showing Nathan the “two gigs.” This elevator ride takes them down to the cheap seats portion of Lakeview. Two gigs of data per month and then Uploads are frozen in time.

“There’s magic in Harry Potter?” the boy asks (Two Gigs don’t get full books unless they pay for upgrades)

These are Uploads that can’t afford the upgrades and add-ons. Their existence essentially is a dark world in a large hospital-like area where Uploads that run out of money are frozen in time. One guy is near the end of his plan and doesn’t have a penis.

Nathan and Ingrid are interviewed about what it is like being on two different planes of existence (her as a Bio, him as an Upload). They are asked about sex and they haven’t done it yet because Ingrid was grossed out by the sex suit.

This episode shows us how the poor live at Horizon’s Lakeview resort. Those who can afford the upgrades and add-ons do well in the afterlife too. Definitely a capitalistic future.

Tech support during sex is also covered — funny!

Episode 5 – “The Grey Market” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Air date: May 1, 2020
Run time: 28 minutes

A trip to the grey zone to get a 12-year-old boy upload man parts gets screwed up. Meanwhile, Nora gets a file memory fixer and realizes several of Nathan’s memory files were deleted off her computer. Luckily she has the files on her ring drive.

What I liked best about this episode was the underground hackers creating a marketplace for Uploads to mod themselves. They are limited the amount of time they can be off the Lakeview grid before their avatars are corrupted.

Another good episode, recommended!

Episode 6 – “The Sleepover” ⭐️⭐️ ½
Air date: May 1, 2020
Run time: 45 minutes

Nora has a Horizon employee meeting and the Angels must pitch Taco Bell Gordita Crunch to 10 different Uploads. Nathan humorously speeds up the forced pitch.

Nora suspects a greater conspiracy involving Nathan becoming Uploaded.

While some things do happen to advance the plot around Nathan’s corrupt memories, most of it really doesn’t advance the overall story. The side character stories are kind of boring.

Easily my least favorite episode of the first season. You can almost entirely skip it and still be in tune with what happens the rest of the first season. This episode is the only one I’m not recommending to watch.

Episode 7 – “Bring Your Dad to Work Day” ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Air date: May 1, 2020
Run time: 25 minutes

Nora’s dad takes a tour of Lakeview Upload resort with Nathan as his guide. He is hesitant to be uploaded, believing in a spiritual natural death instead. Just as Nora notices there is another user that can admin access Nathan’s avatar vile, someone sets off an explosive on the servers and the Upload avatars in Lakeview are distorted into blocky cartoon characters.


A sugary, sweet daddy and daughter side story with a slight twist ending that I didn’t see coming, but enjoyed. It was nice to see how those with religious beliefs (Heaven we’ll all be together) are explored.

Downsides? Would have been cool to see more of the malfunction scenery. They could have done some hilarious comedy with that, but it just isn’t enough of the episode.

Episode 8 – “Shopping Other Digital After-Lives” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
Air date: May 1, 2020
Run time: 28 minutes

Nora is suspended for fraternizing with Nathan outside of her work responsibilities as an authorized employee (Angel). Her supervisor plays under her Lakeview avatar and confuses Nathan. She explains that 32% of the Uploads become attracted to their angels, but she doesn’t want to pursue anything.

Nathan contacts his mother and asks her to look into other upload resorts instead of Lakeview that are in their price range. Nathan ‘s mom takes his brain on a hard drive to look at other resorts (without the “protective case”).

Some of the other afterlife resorts are pretty wild. My favorite is the all the time casino world called Aeon that looks very much like an aerial view of Las Vegas.

My favorite episode of the first season thus far. It’s got everything, humor, intrigue, some cool science fiction and virtual world effects. Makes me want to take a tour of the virtual worlds.

I’m taking away a half star because I don’t really understand why or how Nathan was ever with Ingrid. The two of them are very incompatible as characters and I’m not sensing any chemistry between them. I get that it works in the story and is necessary, but her character is so overstated and phony stereotypical entitled rich person that it makes Nathan the poor guy just way too opposite to be a plausible relationship — even before the story started.

Episode 9 – “Update Eve” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Air date: May 1, 2020
Run time: 32 minutes

Lakeview is getting a new Operating System (OS) upgrade. The Uploads look forward to the improvements. Meanwhile, Nora’s supervisor is angry that Ingrid went over her head and got her reinstated from her suspension. There is a game contest to find a prize egg with real money and Lakeview bucks for the first Upload that finds it.

Nora and Nathan hatch plan to stay up during the update. The Uploads who don’t go to sleep will (rather conveniently) have blocks in their memory restored automatically by the patch.

This one ends on a mini cliffhanger. What will Nathan remember after the upgrade? What happened to him in the first episode?

Episode 10 – “Freeyond” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Air date: May 1, 2020
Run time: 23 minutes

Nathan awakes with his memory of Nora apparently erased. She is saddened that he doesn’t remember their relationship. What Nathan does remember is his partner, Jamie, and him turning away from a deal that would have made them and their business partners very rich. Ingrid’s father was part of brokering the deal and frustrated that the deal didn’t go through. He tried to bribe Nathan with a house for his mother down the street. Ingrid’s father wanted to buy the code outside of his partners.

The truth is that Nathan does remember, he just realizes that his actions once he fully remembered made him ashamed. Now, Nora is in danger in the real world due to Nathan’s total recall (another sci-fi show nod).

Great action and closing to the season, with Nathan using the last of his newly allotted memory in the afterlife to help Nora.

Summary of Season 1

There have been various attempts to get Virtual Reality off the ground and more mainstream for more than a decade. Most recently we have what Oculus is doing with Facebook, but if we go back in time the technology in some form has been around awhile and hasn’t been able to garner a significant amount of interest. It’s the fringe area where there are an increasing number of fans and early adopters — the kind of techie like me (or like I used to be, when I signed up and tried out every gadget, website, idea and the like) –but we’re still not there yet.

I’d like to think that someday, perhaps it will still be in my life that virtual reality is more seamlessly incorporated in the “real” world. I think that’s been the big problem. There have been a few cases like that hunt for Pokemon game where you could find Pokemon hiding in various real life locations. More of that will be how this happens.

The idea of what it’s like when you’re about to die being uploaded is clever and fascinating. Would we like to live forever essentially in a resort area like this? The idea to me, someone who is on the downward slide of post-50s life and a techie, finds it interesting. Would I do something like this if I could? Yes.

Would you?

That’s the question this sci-fi show asks you, but does it in a much more subtle way. It doesn’t go the route of breaking Asimov’s laws or Westworld / Jurassic Park (AI technology breakdown), instead it shows largely that the technology does work. That there are still greedy human beings involved, trying to get rich from the tech, but the tech itself, actually, really works.

Although this is all fiction and fantasy and the ability to do something like this probably won’t happen in my lifetime, I’m encouraged by the idea. The best science fiction makes you wonder and think about what might, could, maybe should happen someday. If we could live on without being a burden on finite resources for the living, that is something strongly worth pondering.

The question to answer at the end of every season of a TV series? Should this continue? Should there be another season? Absolutely, yes.

This is one of the best sci-fi TV series I’ve seen in awhile. I will rewatch for those juicy tech nuggets. There are some ideas here, similar to when I first watched Star Trek Original Series (in the early 70s!) and saw the communicators (now we all carry around cell phones that provide the same functionality) that could really, really happen in the not too distant future.

Two things come immediately to mind.

The phones? Yes, makes total sense that we won’t be holding something. Floating User Interfaces (UI) are not that unrealistic. Something has to project them, but that could be from, say, a watch or necklace, perhaps even in glasses (Google glasses, anyone?) that are an augmented reality not requiring a physical “screen” to pull it off.

The cars? Yes, we already have self-driving cars out there. They aren’t nearly as sophisticated as what’s depicted in this series, but they already exist.

Racing around in Los Angeles of the future .. driving by game controller!

In 10 years, 20 years … they will only be more advanced. We would all be safer in the world if the cars were (almost entirely) self-driving, despite some nefarious programming shown in the series.

Come on, Amazon, green light another season. This is excellent. Will be rewatching to see what other little tech tidbits I missed. It’s a geek’s wet dream series.

Overall season 1 rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½


7 thoughts on “TV REVIEW: Upload Season 1 – All 10 Episodes Rated and Reviewed

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