'Silo' assessment: Apple's sci-fi gradual burn is a dystopia lover's dream

It has been a bit over a 12 months since Apple TV launched us to the dystopia of Severance, which blended science fiction with office woes. The streaming service presents a extra overt dive into dystopian sci-fi with its new drama Silo, in regards to the final 10,000 folks on Earth, who’re dwelling in an underground group.

Silo shares much less DNA with Severance than it does with the younger grownup dystopia increase of the 2010s. Suppose movie franchises like The Starvation Video games, The Maze Runner, or Divergent, all of which depict post-apocalyptic societies the place the higher class conceals sources — and secrets and techniques — from everybody else. These basic themes prolong to Silo, which is sensible on condition that its supply materials, Hugh Howey’s novel Wool, got here out in 2011 simply as dystopia was changing into all the fashion.

Nonetheless, Silo is under no circumstances a retread of The Starvation Video games and its brethren. For starters, it is geared towards adults, boasting a forged of world-weary grown-ups as an alternative of defiant teenagers. It additionally swaps blockbuster pizzazz for the darker, moodier trappings of status TV, like a non-linear timeline full with many, many flashbacks. In these methods, Silo acts as each a return to and a development from the YA dystopias I devoured as a teen — so it ought to come as no shock that I devoured it eagerly now. Regardless of my occasional frustration with its chronology, Silo proves to be an engrossing and rewarding watch, one which devoted followers of dystopia and sci-fi will relish.


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Silo introduces a mysterious, painstakingly realized new world.

A mayor all in white addresses her constituents from a podium.

Welcome to the silo.
Credit score: Apple TV+

Silo welcomes us into the mile-deep house of Earth’s final 10,000 inhabitants. Made up of lots of of ranges, the titular silo is an unbelievable feat of engineering — and of TV manufacturing. Like Apple’s 2021 sci-fi sequence Basis, Silo is exceptionally polished, boasting every thing from lush indoor farms to hulking mining machines. Every of those environments is rendered with an infinite quantity of care. The tip result’s a futuristic world that appears and feels lived-in, proper from the second you lay eyes on it.

Whether or not via visuals or via dialogue, Silo‘s world-building does not let up. As we be taught, nobody is aware of who constructed the silo, or why. A revolt from greater than a century in the past led to the destruction of the silo’s historical past, so now residents use retro expertise, in the event that they use any in any respect. Something from the “earlier than occasions” is taken into account a forbidden relic, to be instantly turned over to the scary judges in Judicial. In case you ever attempt to uncover something in regards to the silo’s origin, you might be despatched exterior. It is a loss of life sentence, as Earth is now a poisonous wasteland… or is it?

Regardless of Judicial’s orders, there are these within the silo who firmly imagine they’re being lied to, and want to uncover the reality. Amongst them are IT employee Allison (Rashida Jones), her husband Sherriff Holston (David Oyelowo), and mechanic Juliette Nichols (Rebecca Ferguson).

Juliette is the silo citizen we spend essentially the most time with; she’s attempting desperately to resolve the homicide of her lover (and relic fanatic) George (Ferdinand Kingsley). Her quest for reality will take her from the deepest depths of the silo, the place she toils to maintain the generator working, to the tippy high, the place highly effective figures like Judicial’s Sims (Frequent) work to cease her. Along with her conflicted previous, fast pondering, and dogged dedication, Ferguson’s Juliette makes for an important addition to the sci-fi hero canon.

Silo begins gradual, however delivers huge.

A man and woman talk to each other in a dark mine full of old equipment.

A duo on a quest to resolve the silo’s mysteries.
Credit score: Apple TV+

Earlier than we get into the meat of Juliette’s detective procedural, Silo guides us via tales that really feel like false begins. There’s an in medias res opening involving Holston that instantly jumps into an episode-long flashback centering on him and Allison. The following episode includes a comparable construction, wherein Juliette recounts a key dialogue with Holston that performs out in — guess what? — an prolonged flashback. These flashbacks all show key to Silo, however it’s nonetheless irritating to be jerked round via time whereas the present tries to determine the place to settle.

Fortunately, the worst of this chronological toil is over after the primary two episodes — which, to their credit score, are nonetheless partaking introductions to the world of the sequence. Silo solely improves because it settles into Juliette’s story. There are nonetheless a number of kinks, corresponding to Silo‘s predilection for occasionally pointless flashbacks to Juliette’s childhood, however the present’s thriller is propulsive sufficient that it maintains its momentum all the best way as much as its closing body.

One other concern with Silo‘s first episodes was that I anxious they gave away too most of the present’s secrets and techniques too early. Belief me after I say they do not. Juicy plot twists that maintain you guessing are simply certainly one of a lot of Silo‘s pleasant choices, particularly towards its later episodes.

Silo‘s motion set items are one other energy, particularly people who use the science fiction location to its fullest potential. The one strategy to journey via the silo is by a central staircase (no elevators right here, of us), leading to some really ingenious strategies for evading seize. Because the scope of Judicial and Juliette’s cat-and-mouse sport grows, Silo will get much more artistic, delivering some exceptionally suspenseful chase sequences. You might have to attend a number of episodes for them to kick in, however between the gradual burn of Juliette’s thriller and its in-depth world-building, Silo has much more treats to supply dystopian sci-fi lovers than it does methods.

Silo premieres on Apple TV+ Could 5, with new episodes streaming weekly.(opens in a brand new tab)