Are you watching Tales from the Loop?

Because you should be. Mixing retro-futurism and experimental physics, Amazon’s surreal sci-fi anthology show introduces the town of Mercer, Ohio, its residents, and a series of inexplicable events and the narratives between them.

Based on the 2014 book of the same name by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, Tales from the Loop presents an alternate history in which post-war nuclear technology has expanded into theoretical science. The Loop itself is a particle accelerator, operated by the Mercer Centre for Experimental Physics, a subterranean laboratory complex in which most of the town’s residents are employed. The show features unconventional plot exposition – where other shows like Westworld, for example, work to resolve some fundamental puzzle or truth, this show won’t ever tell you much about its secretive machine. Instead, each episode focuses on one or two of Mercer’s residents, peripheral characters from previous episodes who become peripheral characters in subsequent episodes. Also, time travel, extra-dimensional excursions, and existential metaphors.

Tales from the Loop is a uniquely bizarre show, a kind of next-generation Twilight Zone with new weird genre conceits and a provocative premise that could’ve been an entire cabinet of Federal Bureau of Control case files, juxtaposing the mundane and the incomprehensible through a lens of 80s suburban nostalgia and pervasive melancholy. It’s also not exactly a casual binge, but for fans of… something different, this is probably it.

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