Severance is a dark thriller based on a simple concept. Workers in the confidential floors of Lumon Enterprises must undergo a surgical procedure to separate their work memories from their home memories. Once they arrive at work they no nothing of their outside lives and while at home they no nothing about their work lives.
The idea is very Black Mirror, but is also something that initially seems appealing. Not having to worry about work once you leave for the day and also not worrying about home life while at work. Good in theory but as the show demonstrates, it's not all roses.
Mark, played by Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) joined the severance program after the death of his wife and works in the Microdata Refinement division with his three colleagues. The season starts when Helly joins the team, having just undergone the severance procedure. But things start to take a dark turn when the former head of the department, Petey (Yul Vazquez), makes contact with Mark's outie – that's his outside self that knows nothing about work.
The show is beautifully shot, with a cinematic feel throughout. There's a mid-century feel and while the outside world looks like modern-day, the office is a stark combination of 50s and 60s with early 80s computers and tech. The main task given the Microdata Refinement team is to sort numbers on ancient computers, identifying the scary numbers. A task that is more about feel than skill it seems.
There's some comedy thanks to the addition of Christopher Walken while Patricia Arquette is superb as Mark's boss Harmony Cobel and also his neighbor, Mrs. Selvig. There are nine episodes in the current season, with the first seven now available to watch. Season 2 is also already filming, so we can expect another nine towards the end of the year, or maybe early 2023.
As frustrating as it is having to wait a week between episodes of Apple TV+ shows like Severance, it does help to make them last. If I had them all available, I would have watched them all some weeks back, I'm sure.
Maybe if I had the severance procedure I could get to enjoy the series twice – once as my innie work self, and again as my outie on a Friday night, when the new episode drops.