Amazon Prime’s new British TV series, “The Feed” is a dark, sci-fi drama that is definitely worth the watch. “The Feed” takes place in London in the near future and tells the story of the powerful Hatfield family and the father Lawrence who created the omnipresent technology. The Feed is a brain implant that allows users to instantly share news, emotions and memories with one another, allowing them to always be “on.” When something mysterious starts happening on the Feed and people become murderous, the family spirals into chaos while they try to control the monster they created. Think “Black Mirror’s” “The Entire History of You” episode, but on steroids.
With a stellar cast, “The Feed” is finely acted and well-written. David Thewlis (“Harry Potter” franchise and “Fargo” TV series) is expertly cast as the brilliantly intelligent yet arrogant and distant patriarch and inventor of the Feed. Michelle Fairley (“Game of Thrones”) holds her own as the matriarch and CEO who is trying to hold things together while oftentimes seeming conflicted with actions of her husband and the technology. Of course there is family drama with prodigal son Tom (Guy Burnet) who has distanced himself from the family and the technology, and younger brother Ben (Jeremy Neumark Jones) who is just fighting for his father’s respect in the company.
This series is superbly yet subtly written to be understandable for the masses. It doesn’t get lost in the weeds of technology making it something that we can’t quite understand; the writers and creators make this real and relatable enough for us all to understand what the characters are going through.
Things take a drastic turn for the Hatfield family when Ben’s marriage falls apart and Tom and his wife Kate (Nina Toussaint-White) become pregnant with their first child. To make matters worse, a glitch in the Feed turns people to murder and Tom, a psychologist and therapist, gets swept up into unraveling the mysterious hack. The deadly hack accentuates the divide between factions. As with all technological advances, there are those who see how it can go wrong, creating tension between those who embrace the technology and the Luddites — the Resistors and those who have disconnected. The writers do a brilliant job of juxtaposing those three factions while making it hard to tell who’s the bad guy and who’s right in this story.
Just like “Black Mirror,” “The Feed” makes us question the limits of technology and the benefits and pitfalls of always being connected, which is especially timely in our social-media obsessed era. It’s so easy to get lost in the ether and become so addicted that you begin to lose yourself and can easily become control by someone, or something else. Do tech barons have too much power? Are choice and freedom real or is it just a societal construct created to appease the masses? What do you do when the tech was initially created to do good and eliminate the inequality between the classes, but ends up doing more harm? When has technology crossed the line? These are all questions that society is grappling with in 2019, making “The Feed” a rather timely offering.
Within the first six episodes of the series, the creative team does an effective job of dissecting the two sides of the technology debate. On the one hand, you have Lawrence and the big tech industry who believe that technology is good, helps create a better society and can level the playing field even if there are some negative, unintended consequences. On the other hand, you have Tom, the disconnected and the Resistors. These folks don’t think that power and the lives of the people should be concentrated in the hands of the tech giants, a la Zuckerberg or Bezos; our dependency on technology can become a bad thing. This debate is played out in the spoken and unspoken tension and family drama between the family patriarch who believes he’s smarter and knows what’s best for “the people,” and his son who has seen firsthand the detrimental effects always being connected can have on individuals. “The Feed” masterfully shows that technology, even with the best of intentions, can be corrupted. It’s very timely with the current Facebook issues.
Taking place in the very near future, this series is thought-provoking because of it’s scary plausibility. This storyline is starting to play out in reality, making for a series that viewers will definitely want to watch to the end to get a glimpse at society’s fate. At its core, “The Feed” is a relatable and human story about what we would do to protect the ones we love. It’s about human connectedness and our desires to be accepted and liked. Mix in family drama, sibling rivalry, monomaniacal scientists, jealousy, mystery and an amazing supporting cast, “The Feed” becomes a must-see psychological drama that will keep you engaged and on the edge of your seat while trying to figure out who the hacker is and if they’ll figure out how to stop them before the world comes crashing down.
“The Feed” is now streaming on Amazon Prime. The first six episodes were provided for review.
GRADE: (★★★ ½)
Are you brave enough to connect and watch “The Feed?” Let us know in the comments below.