Spoilers can’t get the damn printer to work.
I really wasn’t looking for similarities, but I couldn’t help but notice the influence of Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s other creation, Westworld. Once you see it you can’t really unsee it. That being said, it does try to be its own thing. You’ll still notice the narrative in two distinct timelines, but they do have a reason to be. As for comparisons to the Wachowski’s The Matrix, I think any property that draws even a side glance of a similarity is better embracing them.
The Peripheral (2022) is created by Scott B. Smith based on his teleplay and adaptation of the William Gibson novel of the same name. It is a future time, but also a desperate time. Technologically gifted Flynne Fisher (Chlöe Grace Moretz) can play video games like no other, often replacing her brother Burton (Jack Reynor) as a game player for hire in the online world of sim games. Then a new gaming device is offered to Burton to test with a juicy only contract. Needing money for their ailing mother, Flynne ends up playing it finding herself sucked into an online world with a deep immersive sensory interaction like no other. And in this world, she will meet Wilf Netherton (Gary Carr) to learn her life is in danger and she’s now involved in something big.
The series has its strengths and plays them up. It has a rich lore and appears to handle worldbuilding with very restrained bursts of exposition. Due to that, I found myself enjoying the reveals. The timelines actually have connections, skirting the over-used time travel (so far, at least) with a more sophisticated communication link. On the other hand, it must drive a rather populous cast and as the list grows, the show needs to keep up both chore and reward in the right dosage. This balancing act has been known to get off balance in other shows with a larger cast and mysteries to spare, but so far so good. The other hurdle is the CGI usage. Overwhelm us with too much of it, and it’s hard to take it seriously. Use it sparsely and wisely and it can enhance the experience but never become it.
Performance wise, despite a growing number of characters revealed it does depend critically on the work of Chlöe Grace Moretz as Flynne Fisher. She seems to be quite at home in her performance, stealing the screen every time she’s on. That makes it a bit of a challenge for some of the other characters. Not all performance quite stack up to the task, but at least for the most part the main speaking roles do an adequate job. Only the future (pun intended) will tell if the show keeps up with its delivery.
Recommended for science fiction audiences. It has sustancial entertainment value, although it must juggle a growing cast and a CGI dependency. As long as it manages to entice us with reveals and mysteries without becoming an exposition dispense it can amass a regular audience. Chlöe Grace Moretz is bringing her best game as Flynne Fisher, and the lore of the William Gibson novel is handle conservatively with classy worldbuilding so far. As it amps it game hopefully it manages to keep up its charm of both flash and substance. Worth a watch at least three episodes in.
That will do for now.