Tuesday, June 27, 2023

TV Tuesday: Silo

The trend of making excellent television adaptations from best-selling books continues, with Silo from Apple TV, based on the outstanding Silo trilogy by author Hugh Howey, including Wool, Shift, and Dust, a favorite series of mine and my husband.

In the first episode, we see that the world depicted in Silo all takes place underground, in a giant silo 200 stories deep. In the lowest floors, Mechanical keeps everything running, with enormous generators and other machines to make the space livable. In this society, every person has a purpose, and birth rates are carefully regulated so that the silo can continue to meet the needs of all of its citizens. Some floors contain huge farms that grow the food for everyone living there; others have schools or clothing looms or medical facilities. Sheriff Holsten's (played by David Oyelowo) office is way up on the top floor. The outside air is toxic, so giant screens in each regional cafeteria provide a depressing look at the outside world, with its gray skies and dead trees. As the first episode opens, Sheriff Holsten is being "sent out to clean," the silo's horrifying way of dealing with rebellion. Both Deputy Marnes, played by Will Patton, and Mayor Jahns, played by Geraldine James, are grieving this unexpected turn of events. Sheriff Holsten is a good man, but he has said he wants to go outside, and the punishment for that is banishment. As with everyone sent out before him including his wife, he first cleans the camera lenses for the people still inside and then collapses in a heap after just a few steps away from the silo. Much to everyone's shock, Holsten has named Juliette Nichols, played by Rebecca Ferguson, an unknown but talented mechanic from the down deep, to be his replacement. Underlying all of this are small glimpses, by both Holston and Juliette, that perhaps everything they've been told about the silo is not strictly true.

And those are the mysteries at the heart of this show (and its originating trilogy): how did the silo come to be, what happened to the outside world, and why are things inside the silo (by necessity, run under strict rules) the way they are? In flashbacks, we see first Holsten and then later in the present, Juliette, begin to dig into these questions that are dangerous to even think about. The sheriff's department is also kept busy investigating an ever-increasing spate of violence and unusual deaths that the Justice department (some scary guys on a middle floor) would like to sweep under the rug. Through all of that, we see the fascinating inner workings of this unique world: children playing, festivals and celebrations, births and funerals, and all the minutiae of daily life, lived within this limited space. As with the novels, this story is filled with suspense and lots of unexpected twists, but it also focuses in on humanity, characters, and relationships. So far (we are five episodes in), they've done a remarkable job of visually recreating this very unusual setting, and the acting and writing are excellent. This unique, gripping science fiction drama has already been approved for a second season, and we are thoroughly enjoying season one.

Silo is an Apple TV original show.

And if you have not yet read the trilogy, it's maybe the best series I have ever read! Start with Wool.

No comments: