In a time of “too much content,” there’s something still sweet in a well-made romantic comedy. Especially one as charming, ambitious, and original as Amazon’s Upload, a lighthearted show with impressively clever anti-corporate satire in the guise of a meet-cute. (Never mind its funding comes directly from one of the wealthiest enterprises on Earth.)
A third season was announced on May 11, months after the premiere of an underwhelming Season 2. Though the show had something of a sophomore slump — in hindsight, holding back on Ingrid’s “upload” was a cowardly decision — it didn’t undo the strong foundations Upload laid in 2020. It was still the warm, fuzzy, and funny show it was when it first, well, uploaded to Prime Video. But what’s curious is how much is left in its battery charge.
In a statement published Wednesday, Vernon Sanders, the Amazon Head of Global TV, said that Upload “has become a bonafide hit that continues to be one of the most watched comedy originals on Prime Video.”
Pretending that Upload doesn’t mock its corporate overlords, Sanders praised it for provoking “endless possibilities for the future of technology and humanity” that is “globally relevant.” Tellingly, Sanders didn’t mention if Season 3 will be its last, indicating there’s room for even more in the future. Spoilers for Season 2 ahead.
Sanders isn’t wrong. When Upload premiered at the start of the pandemic, its premise of a digital afterlife was timely as it was resonant. When all of life seemed to migrate to Zoom, the show’s central conflicts — and comical hijinks — had appeal in its keen understanding of technology’s paradoxical power to connect people in isolation. It can be a blessing and a curse, and surely, the corporations find ways to squeeze pennies from those who are willing to pay. That the show was simply well-executed, from its profound writing to its performances, was the virtual cherry programmed on top.
But with a much harder turn into its pro-proletariat narrative towards the end of its second season, Upload is slowly starting to resemble a Soviet-era war film than a modern romantic comedy. (That’s actually dope, to be quite honest.) With Upload is fast becoming something else, it makes us wonder if the show has strong enough legs to support the transition or buckle beneath its own weight.
In the final episode of Season 2, “Download,” series leads Nathan (Robbie Amell) and Nora (Andy Allo) finally get together, no strings attached and albeit poorly timed. With Nathan’s “downloaded” body being potentially fatal, time is running out for the couple to topple Horizen, its lucrative business of uploading, and reclaim Freeyond. Oh, and for Nathan and Nora to live happily ever after. That too.
With all those pieces laid in place, Season 3 will likely start at an urgent pace, and with only one clear narrative end: stopping Horizen. While I’m unsure and doubtful Upload will pivot to a full-on action series — though the show has set up something in Luke, a U.S. Army veteran — the series will certainly have to choose between its divergent identities.
Is the show about toppling corporations through violent means? Or is it a romance between two people? David Fincher pulled off such a feat in Fight Club, but it’s unclear if Upload has the same muscle to do it too.
I’d love to see Upload go on for years on end. It’s a miracle that a strange rom-com like Upload has this kind of staying power. In this era’s rush for prestige, capital-I important content, Upload is willing to be different and it’s deserving of whatever life it’s allowed to have. But with the story the show has chosen to tell, Season 3 feels like a logical conclusion. Any longer, and there’s that risk of zombifying a show, limping along far past its expiration date.
But who knows? Maybe the third season will justify itself and prove there’s still a lot more to see for Nathan, Nora, and the rest. Maybe the afterlife can really last forever.
Upload Seasons 1 & 2 are now streaming on Prime Video.