Silo season one: a hitchhiker’s guide to AppleTV’s dystopian labyrinth (video).

Mystery boxes are enigmatic creatures. Too generous with the reveals and they become as enticing as a deflated balloon. But too miserly and they risk turning into those Christmas presents from distant relatives that remain unopened until Boxing Day. You know the ones. But in an era that’s given birth to binge-worthy dramas faster than the speed of light, AppleTV’s Silo, based on Hugh Howey’s trilogy, holds the mystery box crown. Or should we say helmet?

Silo ushers us into a post-apocalyptic underground world, home to the remnants of humanity after the surface world was ostensibly decimated. While we viewers of SFcrowsnest are well-acquainted with dystopian narratives, there’s a peculiar charm to Silo’s approach. It’s as if someone took the best parts of a claustrophobic Agatha Christie mystery, added a dash of Orwell’s Big Brother paranoia, tossed in a sprinkle of Blade Runner-esque aesthetic and shook the lot in a cocktail mixer.

Our protagonist, the delightfully stubborn Juliette, played with an admirable grit by Rebecca Ferguson, finds herself unravelling a conspiracy that runs deeper than the Silo’s lowest level. Her ascension to the role of Sheriff comes with more twists and turns than the Silo’s spiraling staircases, pushing her to an inevitable face-off with the enigmatic Mayor Bernard Holland, played by none other than Tim Robbins.

The plot thickens like soup in a slow cooker. Not a stew, mind you. No, this is soup, where individual ingredients gradually blend to create a cohesive, if somewhat unsettling flavour. Sure, the series occasionally flirts with inertia, but the intensity of the narrative and the growing intrigue more than compensate for a few languid stretches.

Production design deserves a standing ovation. From the meticulously designed staircase to the nuanced lexical choices depending on one’s floor, Silo’s commitment to world-building makes it more immersive than a VR headset on overdrive. While at times the dialogue can be as stifling as the Silo’s air, the sincerity and depth of the performances – Rebecca Ferguson, Tim Robbins, Common, Iain Glen – keep the spark alive.

Humor, alas, is as scarce as the surface air. If there is a slight niggle about the series, it’s the somewhat austere vibe. It’s as if the writers, much like the Silo dwellers, forgot how to crack a smile. But isn’t a belly laugh slightly incongruous in a post-apocalyptic setting? Perhaps not. Humor, as we know it, thrives in adversity.

But who are we kidding? This is not a sitcom, but a masterfully crafted dystopian mystery-thriller. It’s about as far from a knee-slapping comedy as one can get, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re not after the “funny” here at SFcrowsnest; we’re after the “fantastic” and Silo Season One offers that in spades.

As the end credits roll on the first season, you might find yourself reflecting upon the journey, sifting through the debris of the plot, the characters, the real, the unreal, the seen, and the unseen. You might chuckle, not because something was amusing but because the series left you with a heady mix of bewilderment, satisfaction, and anticipation for the next season. We assure you, dear reader, this Silo is far from hollow. It’s brimming with mystery, suspense, and the finest soup… err, drama of the year. Dig in.

Silo: new Apple TV scifi series (trailer).
Silo season one: a hitchhiker’s guide to AppleTV’s dystopian labyrinth (video).


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

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