The Peripheral, the new SF series by the creators of Westworld arrives on Prime Video
After the success of Westworld, the couple Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, return with a futuristic series. We had the opportunity to see the first three episodes of the series as well as to talk with some of the actors and directors.
Science fiction fans should not be disappointed with the series Peripherals, Flynne’s Worlds, an adaptation of William Gibson’s novel, which arrives this Friday on Prime Video.
The series takes place in a world where technology has subtly altered society. We follow Flynne and her brother Burton Fisher living in a small rural town in the United States in 2032. While earning extra money playing simulation games, Flynne discovers that the new simulation, which propels her into a very different London in 2099, is in fact real. And this discovery puts her entire family in danger.
The trailer released at the beginning of the month already announced a rich visual universe with a quality distribution, indeed, if we find Chloë Grace Moretz in the main role, there is also Jack Reynor (Midsommar), Gary Carr (The Deuce), Charlotte Riley (Peaky Blinders), JJ Feild (Lost In Space) and T’Nia Miller (The Haunting of Bly Manor) alongside her.
Although the story takes place in the future, the universe of the series remains simple and human. As mentioned by director Vincenzo Natali and actor JJ Feild during our interview, The Peripheral is a science fiction series, however its universe does not take over the characters. If some movies or science fiction series try to show off with technologies and settings, here, we find this sci-fi side, but without being overwhelmed by an extremely rich and confusing universe. The universe created in Gibson’s book, which we find in the series, is nevertheless very close to our reality of today, which makes it credible. We concentrate more on the characters and their story, which is appreciable, especially with actors with remarkable talent.
“They’ve taken the scale of science fiction and added great human stories to it. As an actor, you’re playing that human story in this extraordinary context.” – JJ Feild.
However, even if the universe is not very extravagant, the series is still very enjoyable visually with a beautiful colorimetry, fantastic sets and costumes and special effects that remind us that we are in the future, especially with imposing statues in the middle of a practically empty London (because yes in 2099, 80% of the population has disappeared). But what remains even more surprising for this kind of series, especially with all the new technologies of today, is the little use of computer generated images or CGI mentioned by many actors, most of the sets were built. And let’s not forget a special mention for the opening credits that we particularly like and wonderfully reflects the universe of the series.
What about the series and its story? Well, this is where our opinion is a bit mixed. We have only seen the first three episodes, and it is probably not enough to understand the story. More especially that although we are rather at ease with English, we did not have subtitles and this kind of series in VO without any subtitle, that can be a little complicated to follow for us as we are French. The rhythm of the series is rather slow, but the plot remains interesting enough to keep us in suspense (if the genre interests you), in particular with the light cliffhanger at the end of the episodes. However, if you are not a sci-fi fan, then this might not be enough to make you want to continue.
Moreover, if Chloë Grace Moretz is talented and embodies the main role wonderfully, our interest is unfortunately much more on the secondary characters, in particular with the mystery around Aelita (Charlotte Riley) that we want to discover, and the rather badass character of Cherise (T’Nia Miller) that the actress describes as “a multilayered character”.
It’s a real pleasure to see T’Nia Miller play this character. Even if we have seen more of the main character on screen, it is clearly not the one that has impressed us the most, unlike Cherise. And in our interview, T’Nia Miller confides that it was also a pleasure to play this character being “both a bad boss, but who is also charismatic and determined”.
The characters we discover in the London of 2099 are the most interesting, so much so that when we go back to 2032 to follow Flynne and her brother, we tend to get a little bored. So, for us, it is the characters that carry the story, which is not surprising either with such a cast, more than the plot itself. When we asked Charlotte Riley, who plays Aelita, what attracted her to this project, for her it was not only the production team, but her character. A character at the center of the plot, and which promises for the continuation of the series.
“When Jonathan and Lisa come knocking, you immediately say yes given the amazing projects they’ve created in the past. But also for me, it was the character, it was unlike anything I had played before, and I knew there were elements to sculpt for me.”
In conclusion, we will probably continue the series when it is released, (but this time with subtitles) but it won’t be a series that will stay in our memory. We still want to know more, and to have the answers to our questions about the story. But we hope that the continuation will be a little less slow, now that the foundation is in place. And we applauded the casting, which for us probably makes all the difference, as well as the production of the series which is a pleasure to the eyes.
The series is out on Prime Video on October 21.