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Friday, October 21, 2022

The Peripheral 1.1-1.2: Cyberpunk, Time Travel, and Alternate Reality



Just saw the first two episodes of The Peripheral on Amazon Prime Video.  It's an adaptation of the 2014 novel of the same name by William Gibson, the veritable godfather of cyberpunk, and made by the creators of Westworld on HBO, so it has to be good, right?

Well, it is.  Pretty good, that is.   I haven't read the book, so I'm not making comparisons.  My favorite parts are 2099 London, inside the peripheral, a cyber construct that our heroes and villains from an earlier time -- just ten years from now, and who knows when else -- inhabit.  But there's some triteness here.  Good old Southern boys.  The mother of the hero (or one of the heroes), Flynne (well played by Chloë Grace Moretz) dependent on some drug to treat her deadly cancer.  I also could have lived without such physical detail of the eye-transplant in the first episode.

But there are also lots of fun and cool details, like the deputy or whoever he was coming upon what seems to be a coffee-to-go just floating in the air, in the second episode.  And Flynne does bring back a drug from the future to cure her mother, after seeing an obituary for her, who would otherwise have died very soon.  We also soon learn that Flynne's entering the peripheral causes her visceral self to branch off in a different life back in 2030.  So we're dealing here not just with cyberpunk, but with time travel, in effect, and alternate realities, which is tremendously ok in my book.

In addition to drugs and knowledge, money can also be transferred from 2100 to 2030, or seventy years back in time, from the cyberworld to the real world -- if you can call a world already significantly different from ours in 2022 really real -- and that opens all kinds of possibilities, such as people in the further future hiring assassins in the nearer future.  And at this point, that's what we have in The Peripheral, all kinds of intriguing possibilities.  Good guys and bad guys, young and older people, of all genders, and lots of people and things in between.  I'd say as long as The Peripheral continues to mine the esoteric, mind-bending possibilities of cyberspace, time travel, and alternate realities, it could be a top-notch series.

I'll be watching and reviewing.




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