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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

Ugh. Screens.

We talk about screens all the time at Plugged In, and we rarely say we wish we could sure spend more time with them. We stare at them all the time already, it seems: to watch movies, television and YouTube, to interact with friends and strangers on social media, to check the weather, read our email and do 17 quintillion things besides. You’re staring at one right now.

And that’s all great. But when more of our lives are spent staring at screens instead of interacting with one another, isn’t that unhealthy? Couldn’t that cause problems?

Maybe that’s what Lawrence Hatfield was thinking one day in the not-terribly-distant future. Why do we turn over so much of ourselves to our screens? Perhaps he asked. What if we could get rid of screens altogether?

Hey, he further thought. What if we fed all that information we use screens for directly into our brains?

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Insta-man

Fast-forward a few more years, and Lawrence Hatfield is perhaps the richest, most powerful man in the world. His brainchild, the Feed, has become ubiquitous for most: Countless people have undergone surgery to have an always-on internet feed piped directly into their cerebrums, complete with an optical interface that allows you to communicate with your besties as if they were right there in the same room.

Want to hold onto some precious memories? The Feed can see that they’re uploaded to the cloud. Have a hankering to listen to some ska or watch porn during a boring business meeting? The Feed’s got you covered there, too. So what if Lawrence and his inner circle have access to, literally, your every thought? A small price to pay for the ability to watch the latest baseball game on your eye.

But not everyone’s on board with Lawrence’s little brainchild. A group called the Resistors is dead set against folks plugging their brains into the Feed’s worldwide network, and they make trouble when and where they can. Others run detox centers, encouraging people to unplug for at least a little while. Why, Lawrence’s own son, Tom, is a psychologist who specializes in Feed-related issues.

“I understand the fundamentals of self-regulation,” he tells a patient. “You, you’re on Feed acid.”

Moderation is the key, Tom believes. He and his wife, Kate, are hooked up to the Feed, but they use it sparingly. It’s a tool, that’s all, and all tools have their downsides.

But when the Feed is apparently hacked by nefarious forces, turning users frantic and forcing them to kill—well, that’s not an issue that Lawrence and his team ever addressed in those boilerplate licensing agreements (that none of us ever read anyway).

One thing’s for sure, though: With the Feed in almost everybody’s noggin, and with the Feed now being compromised, everyone’s a potential killer.

Everyone.

Scream Time

The Feed originally aired in Britain on Virgin TV Ultra HD in September 2019 and made its way to Amazon Prime worldwide a few months later. The show is clearly designed to be both a sci-fi mystery thriller and a cautionary tale. The charms and pitfalls of the Feed (the internet tool, not the show) seem just a half- step removed from those of Facebook or Instagram or the internet itself. And while it’s unlikely that Facebook would outright murder somebody, its unsavory influence on everything from politics to our own states of mind has been well documented.

’Course, the unsavory influence of sex, violence and language on some has been well-documented, too, and that doesn’t stop entertainment creators from stuffing their shows full of those elements.

While explicit nudity isn’t an issue here, sexual content certainly is. The Feed comments on how the internet has already changed, and is changing, sex—and it sometimes makes that point in bothersomely graphic ways. Also graphic: the violence we see. And we should note that those whose feeds have gone awry have a disturbing habit of trying to pluck one of their eyeballs out of their heads.

And, of course, problematic language is still very much a part of our futuristic template. No matter how advanced we get, it seems, we can’t shake our fascination with the f-word.

The Feed is a compelling, if a somewhat predictable slog through a future world that, in some ways, looks disturbingly like our own. And while I appreciate what this Amazon Prime series has to say, I’d take issue with how it says it.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Nov. 22, 2019: "Episode 1"

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Guy Burnet as Tom Hatfield; David Thewlis as Lawrence Hatfield; Michelle Fairley as Meredith Hatfield; Nina Toussaint-White as Kate Hatfield; Jeremy Neumark Jones as Ben Hatfield; Osy Ikhile as Max; Clare-Hope Ashitey as Evelyn Kern; Jing Lusi as Miyu Hatfield

Director

Distributor

Network

Amazon

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Released

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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