TV Review - Apple's Severance (Spoiler-Free)


Severance is a 2022 science fiction psychological thriller mystery series created by Dan Erickson, directed by Ben Stiller and Aofie McArdle, produced by Red Hour Productions and Endeavor Content, and distributed by Apple Inc. It stars Adam Scott and Britt Lower. A second season has been confirmed.


"These are our lives. No one gets to just turn you off." - Mark Scout

Plot


Lumon Industries employee Mark Scout is severed. He separates his work life and his personal life. When both sides of him start to uncover a sinister plot behind his company, he recruits the people he trusts most to take down Lumon once and for all.


Direction and Cinematography / Music / Mystery / Clever Concept / Writing / Payoff / Performances / Cliffhanger / Patricia Arquette


Final Thoughts and Score


The Sweet


Severance is easily one of the best TV shows of the last ten years.


Let me start with the direction. Ben Stiller is a good comedian and fine actor...but I had no clue he was this good of a director. I mean, this is some of the absolute best direction I've ever seen in a show. The other director, Aoife McArdle, is great, too. Both of them have this incredible style that is curious but also very sinister and foreboding. I was shell-shocked. The directing was so good. The cinematography was also just stunning. I was amazed at the eerie symmetrical shots. It reminded me a little bit of The Shining. It was great.


The music is also fabulous. It was this very creepy piano riff that reminded me of The Game. Not much else to say here, but the main theme was fantastic. It just soaked up the vibe and immersed you even more in the atmosphere of this show.


This show also has this slow-burn mystery that just takes its time to develop and become one of the most compelling and interesting mysteries I've ever seen. It doesn't answer all of the questions set up, but thankfully, there will be a season two to tie up the loose ends. Severance sets up a lot of plot lines with a lot of mysteries...and all of them are compelling. There is not a plot line in here that's boring or annoying. They are all setup and developed very well. You are invested in all of them.


Severance also has a very intriguing concept. The ida of separating your work and personal life is a really deep one that the show explores in great depth. That idea sticks with you hours after you've turned the TV off. It's just such a cool idea that is executed to utter perfection. The psychological aspect of the show is rooted in the concept. This was the most important thing to do right. And they did.


Severance also benefits from top-notch writing. This is a show that is not afraid to take its time. It's slow. But it keeps you hooked throughout. I love that this show didn't rush it. WandaVision is an example of a rushed mystery. Severance just lets this creepy, foreboding vibe seep into your brain as you just want to watch episode after episode after episode. It's so good. I can't rave about it enough.


Because of the fabulous slow-burn, the payoff of this show is perfect. In the last half of the season, there's a little bit of payoff in every episode, and it's so satisfying. There are some massive twists and shocking reveals that you do not see coming. I am just in awe at how well they were able to setup these plot elements and then pay them off in unexpected ways that are so satisfying. It's part of the reason I love this show so much.


The performances are also great. Adam Scott is a standout. He's more known for comedic roles, but he commands the screen here. Another standout is Tramell Tillman as Mr. Milchick. I had not heard of Tramell Tillman before now, but he was incredible in this show. It was insane how quickly he was able to go from likable and comforting to utterly terrifying. The rest of the performances are also good but I just wanted to mention Scott and Tillman as standouts.


The show also ends on an absolutely giant cliffhanger that I think totally works. I cannot wait for season two of this show. I'm hoping we get it next year. It leaves you with just enough answers to feel satisfied while also having a lot of questions you still want answered. I am dying for season two already.


The Sour


I basically don't have anything bad to say about Severance. If I have to say anything bad, I don't think Patricia Arquette is very good. She speaks in this drawling, Cruella de Vil-esc accent that just doesn't work for me. There are times when she yells at our characters and it comes off as extremely cringe, because she didn't really yell with full force. There's one part where she starts singing, and it's one of the only bad scenes in the show. I really didn't love her, but it really doesn't take away from an otherwise fantastic series.


Final Thoughts and Score


Severance is one of the best TV shows of the last ten years. Nadia, if you're reading this, here's your shoutout for the suggestion. This season will go down as one of the great seasons of TV of all time.


I will easily go Sweet here. Age range is 10+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)


"Severance"


Fun Factor: 8.5/10

Acting: 9/10

Story: 10/10

Characters: 9.5/10

Quality: 9.5/10


Created by Dan Erickson


Rated TV-MA for moderate violence, language, disturbing themes and images, thematic elements


Premiered on February 18, 2022


Episode runtime: 50 minutes


Adam Scott as Mark Scout

Britt Lower as Helly Riggs

Zach Cherry as Dylan George

John Turturro as Irving Bailiff

Tramell Tillman as Seth Milchick

Patricia Arquette as Harmony Cobel

Jen Tullock as Devon Hale

Dichen Lachman as Ms. Casey

Michael Chernus as Ricken Hale

Christopher Walken as Burt Goodman

Yul Vazquez as Petey Kilmer

Michael Cumpsty as Doug Graner

Nikki M. James as Alexa

Sydney Cole Alexander as Natalie

Marc Geller as Kier Eagan