Amazon Prime Video

One of the most unique new offerings to stream is Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Tales From the Loop’, a serene look into a futuristic suburban future where towering mechas dwell alongside ordinary people.  The series is based on the tranquil paintings of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, and was developed for television by writer Nathaniel Halpern (‘Legion’), directed by visionary music video creator, Mark Romanek, and produced by Matt Reeves (‘The Batman’).  The series dropped on April 3.

Now that viewers have had a chance to visit this dreamscape, and with production on ‘The Batman’ shut down (along with everything else), Reeves discussed this latest TV venture.  Speaking to the New York Times, he said:

“There’s something incredibly cinematic about Simon’s vision. They’re filled with not only a sense of wonder but also a sense of melancholy. That’s exactly what we connected to.

“Nathaniel saw an opportunity to do something that was like a sci-fi ‘Winesburg, Ohio’, the Sherwood Anderson book, and that’s one of my favorite books. The whole idea that each chapter is a beautiful, stand-alone short story and when you read the whole thing together, there’s a sweep of ideas, of [the character] George Willard’s coming-of-age. We talked a lot about ‘Our Town.’  Jonathan Pryce is like the Stage Manager in ‘Our Town’, and he’s introducing you to these tales.

“From the beginning, the intent was that it wouldn’t be dystopian. It was never meant to be like ‘The Twilight Zone’ — “It’s a cookbook!” — where the big narrative twist is the thing. We don’t have twists. There’s narrative, but it provides opportunities to explore through a sci-fi lens the mysteries of our lives.”

Speaking separately to Deadline:

“We optioned a book of imagery, not knowing what it could become… In essence, it’s a science fiction show where the story isn’t about the narrative reveal, nor about its twists, but using the genre as an examination of intimate, human experiences and making them personal.

“The series provokes so many questions and it’s not about the answers, because that’s the whole idea of the human condition. We live in an unknowing state. There’s deliberately a lot of open-ended questions, some of which circle back in interesting ways, but not in such a way to give you a reductive answer. It’s grappling with the mysteries of life. One of the things that I have wanted [his production company] 6th & Idaho to do; I came late to genre filmmaking because I always imagined myself like Hal Ashby. I wanted to make sad comedies and the world changed so much. Even though I liked genre stories, I never imagined myself in that realm. Then I realized how personal you could make genre stories: you can use the surface of the metaphors to make that the shiny object that draws everyone in, then you can do something very personal. That’s what I did with ‘The Planet of the Apes’ movies. So, I really wanted to find filmmakers that saw that same opportunity to do something very human in the genre space.”

‘Tales From the Loop’ doesn’t have the usual sci-fi bells and whistles, but uses the conceit to weave quieter stories.  So far, critical reception has been positive.

Have you watched it?  If so, what did you think?