Severance is one of the best dystopian sci-fi series to be made in the modern era. Produced by Ben Stiller and starring Adam Scott, Britt Lower, Christopher Walken, Patricia Arquette and John Turturro to name but a few it tells the story of a mysterious corporation who are overreaching into peoples lives.
The many employees at Lumon industries have undergone a controversial procedure known as severance, which effectively separates their consciousness in two – one part that is always in work mode, and the other which is always in home mode. In the series they are called “innies” and “outies” and never the twains shall meet.
As the employees start to question their purpose, this series turns from one of intrigue into mystery and then a real thrill ride as the beautifully crafted show unfolds on Apple TV+.
There is more of Severance to come with a second season ordered by the streaming giant, but while you’re waiting, you may find these shows keep you busy…
What are the best shows like Severance?
One of the biggest dystopian hits of the modern era, Charlie Brooker’s breathtakingly good anthology series focusses on the influence of technology on our lives in many different ways and forms. There’s a definite feel of some of the best Black Mirror episodes like Nosedive (which sees everyone share their daily activities through eye implants any rate each other) in Severance – so if these are themes you want to explore more, this is a good place to start.
Now a Wild West theme park full of androids might not exactly sound like the gloomy halls of the Lumon industries HQ, but Westworld shares themes and feel with severance. In Westward the androids are enslaved as playthings and when they find consciousness look to escape their captors, much like the employees of Lumon albeit human discover their is more to life than simply working. Both series also share a backdrop of a hyper tech developed world where much is possible that we cannot do in the real world, many of which have not led to better existences for those who live in it.
Created and written by Alex Garland and starring Nick Offerman and Sonoya Mizuno, this story shares a lot of similarities with Severance as a young software engineer, Lily, begins to delve into the mysterious goings on of a big quantum computing company. When her boyfriend dies in mysterious circumstances on the first day working for the mysterious company a thrilling story of mystery and discovery begins to unfold. Covering many of the same concepts as Severance, this is a show that is bound to appeal if you loved Ben Stiller’s show.
This Prime Video original is based around the Homecoming Transitional Support Centre, a facility that is provided by Geist Group as a live in facility that helps soldiers reintegrate into civilian life after military service. Four years after working at the facility as a social worker, Heidi, played by Julia Roberts, is contacted by the US government to ask why she left Homecoming. It tuns out things weren’t exactly as she thought there, and a mystery around another shadowy organisation begins to unfold. Severance fans looking for more gripping tales will be satisfied with this.
This show follows the story of Echo, a doll who is part of the Los Angeles Dollhouse, one of several facilities run by a company who hire out humans to rich clients for a range of things from romantic encounters to taking part in high stakes criminal activities. The dolls have volunteered themselves for a period of time to the organisation in return for money and other benefits while their original personalities are saved on hard drives. But Each can still remember parts of her other self… Yep, it’s all a bit severance isn’t it…
Starring Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Justin Theroux and Sonoya Mizuno (yes, that’s right, the person we just mentioned in Devs) Maniac is the story of a pair of people who meet and connect during a mind-bending pharmaceutical trial conducted by Neberdine Pharmaceutical Biotech (NPB). Filled with near-future warnings and questions about the power of corporations and free will this is a dark comedy with many shades of severance running through it.