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The series, on Amazon Prime Video, is a collection of eight stand-alone short stories where day by day rural life is imbued with the supernatural. The series stars Jonathan Pryce and Rebecca Hall, among many others, and each episode contains a different director. The series debuted at the beginning of April and is currently one season composed of eight episodes and it is one of the best shows on Amazon. In fact, it is rated highly compared to other shows available on popular streaming services.
Tales from the Loop is great at following in the foot-steps of small-town weirdness ala Twin Peaks and Stranger Things, but this time around it’s about the apprehension we feel when technology moves too far into our homes, our society, and into our lives in general.
Related: Our readers also checked the Stranger Things review
Set in small-town Mercer, Ohio, the “Loop” has a firm grip on the town and is reshaping life, gradually building a portrait of the town and those who live in it. Because each episode stands alone it’s possible to fall in love with a character and then not see them until many episodes later, or at all. If one long plot is what you’re interested in, The Americans is another show on Prime Video that may be for you.
Related: Read the The Act review
The series is based on the work of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, famous for his scenes of rustic serenity juxtaposed around uncanny science fiction. Created by Nathaniel Halpern, who also scripted the entire series, Simon Stålenhag is also co-executive producer of the show. New directors helm each episode, and while each brings a unique visual experience, they all try to imbue the narrative with Stålenhag’s imagery. Be warned, if you pause or hover your mouse over a scene in the first episode you will get the actors name, but this unintentionally also reveals a spoiler. Not a particularly funny show, we would recommend The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel if you’re looking for a laugh instead of a thought-provoking series.
Nobody will be able to say this program doesn’t have its share of fine actors giving fantastic performances. In-depth character work by Jonathan Pryce and Rebecca Hall helps build emotional ties to the characters, and Jonathan Pryce specifically gives an absolutely outstanding performance that is quiet and wonderfully weary. Another shout-out to twelve-year-old Abby Ryder Fortson, best known for her work in Ant-Man, for a likewise wonderfully intense performance. Mr. Robot, now in its final season and also on Prime Video, stars Academy Award winner Rami Malek in a similar, outstanding role.
With an interesting premise, a fresh look every episode thanks to the eight directors, and great performances by everybody in the cast, it’s easy to recommend Combined Final as a weekend binge show. Some technical, spoiler-inducing worries aside, Tales from the Loop should do well in scratching the science fiction fan’s itch.