On June 30, the tenth, final episode of the first season of the dystopian series “Shelter” was released on the Apple TV+ platform. Its plot is based on the Silo book series by Hugh Howey, which was published in 2011. In the review below, we tell how the authors of this story manage to literally make the viewer stick to the screen.
“Shelter” / Silo
Genre science fiction drama
Directors Morten Tyldum, David Semel, Bert and Bertie
In roles Rebecca Ferguson, Common, Rashida Jones, Tim Robbins, Ian Glen, Sienna Guillory, David Oyelowo
Premiere Apple TV+
Graduation year 2023
Future. After an unspecified global catastrophe that poisoned the air and made life on the surface of the Earth impossible, the remnants of humanity hid in a huge multi-story bunker. What caused the apocalypse, as well as who built such a complex underground structure, is unknown. It is only obvious that the inhabitants of the shelter will be able to go outside at least not soon.
As befits a society constrained by certain frameworks, life in the bunker takes place according to the rules written in the charter. They cannot be violated in any way. For those who, for some reason, did make a mistake (or showed a desire to go outside themselves), the so-called cleansing awaits them – a walk to the surface, which always ends in the same way – death.
And so that no one would have any doubts about this, an impressively large screen was placed in the dining room, which transmits a picture from an external camera. It always depicts the same and very sad landscape – a desolate plain with a gnarled tree.
Local sheriff Holston Becker decides to go to the surface for his dead wife. But before that, he appoints responsible engineer Juliet Nichols as his heir. In this position, the woman intends to find out the circumstances of the death of her lover, who was fond of forbidden things like an old video camera. But the deeper she plunges into a dangerous investigation, the more she becomes convinced that some terrible secret is being hidden from the inhabitants of the bunker.
“Shelter” became a major serial event and attracted a lot of attention. It’s definitely a hugely successful project for Apple TV+, unlike many of his recent shows, which have received mostly poor reviews. No wonder the series was renewed for a second one even before the end of the first season.
The story begins leisurely, gradually plunging into the maelstrom of future events. The main character played by the beautiful Rebecca Ferguson appears in the frame only at the end of the debut episode. However, this does not at all prevent you from remaining an interested viewer, because the authors build the story on secrets and secrets: here the desire to understand and discover the truth will arise involuntarily.
It is especially worth noting that the creators manage to keep the tension even despite the standard plot. It’s not ready to offer anything fans of the genre haven’t seen before.
That is, there can be no question of any freshness of the view on dystopia. All the necessary components (read – typical genre paths) are in place here. These are the insidious lies of the puppeteers in power, and a look in the direction of conspiracy theories, and social hierarchy, and attempts by people from the conditional lower class to oppose the system, etc. Despite this unpleasant factor, it is almost impossible to look away from the screen. But deal with this damn generator already, Juliet!
The local state system somewhat resembles a post-Stalin scoop. It seems that totalitarianism no longer reigns in the bunker, but, for example, there is an analogue of the KGB, which does not allow any manifestations of disobedience and does not disdain surveillance of citizens, constant searches, etc.
The decline in the pace of the story is felt closer to the equator of the season (for me it happened in the sixth episode, for some it is obviously earlier, but it does not matter). It is difficult to get rid of the opinion that the proposed story is better to fit into the usual eight, maximum nine episodes for modern mini-series.
They try to glue the family drama together with flashbacks, and the dynamics is noticeably reduced. But these subsidences are not critical at all, because after them the voltage level reaches maximum speed.
The creators are not afraid of multi-genres: the above-mentioned drama is neighbors with a police detective, post-apocalyptic fiction with a tense claustrophobic thriller, and Orwell-like dystopia with a love story. There are both local intrigues and global ones, which are partially revealed at the end. Each episode ends with a certain cliffhanger that motivates you to continue watching.
Rebecca Ferguson does a great job as a strong-willed woman who dares to challenge the system. Ian Glen plays Juliet’s father and resembles Dr. Isaacs from the Resident Evil movie franchise. Interestingly, thanks to the role of Jill Valentine, Sienna Guillory, who turned into the main character’s mother, is also related to her.
Unbreakable rapper Common portrays the same emotionless “KGBshnik”, but nothing is memorable. Tim Robbins looks interesting, but to avoid spoilers, we will not comment on his performance.
“Shelter” looks especially advantageous against the background of the serial junk that 2023 generously presents to the viewer. The project gradually, but confidently pulls into the combination of the plot, intrigues well and maintains excellent tension.
It is hardly overloaded with unnecessary arcs, and for the most part presents a fairly simple story that does not involve surprises. Therefore, here you will definitely not have to guess what the ritual with an apple at a funeral symbolizes – a biblical allusion or, perhaps, a reference of the streaming service to its own brand. Because sometimes a bitten apple is just a bitten apple. Or not?
the series manages to hold attention well, it intrigues and captivates, and most importantly, it causes a sincere desire to solve all the mysteries; good acting works; gloomy and appropriate tone of the story; from the technical side, the project was executed at the highest level; everything is thought out in the frame – from the look of the bunker to household items, such as local PCs
not a critical slump in the middle of the season, the general typicality of the dystopian plot, which is also not perceived as a fatal flaw
“Shelter” makes a pleasant impression and so far can claim to be one of the best series of this year, which is not very productive for cool projects