In Severance, Memory Is Company Property

In Severance, Memory Is Company Property
Screenshot: Apple TV

Between the never-ending pandemic, systemic wage inequality, and constant management nightmares, real-life work has never felt so dystopian. But Ben Stiller’s new Apple TV+ series, Severance, takes things to another level by having Adam Scott undergo a very strange procedure: to have two wholly separate sets of memories, one for his work life, and one for personal use.

It’s the sort of idea you can easily see some horrid CEO running a company with proprietary information forcing on his poor drones, but it’s also an idea rife with the possibility of being used to screw over employees. Which is, of course, absolutely what seems to be happening in Severance:

The official synopsis offers one more mystery, in that Scott’s character might also have more going on than even he realises: “In Severance, Mark Scout (Adam Scott) leads a team at Lumon Industries, whose employees have undergone a severance procedure, which surgically divides their memories between their work and personal lives. This daring experiment in ‘work-life balance’ is called into question as Mark finds himself at the centre of an unravelling mystery that will force him to confront the true nature of his work… and of himself.”

Honestly, the show only looks all right, and will probably live and die on how interesting the mystery at the heart of Lumon Industries and Scout is. But on the plus side, the cast is absolutely stacked — in addition to Scott, Severance stars Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, and Christopher Walken. And again, the show is directed and executive produced by Ben Stiller, who knows himself some dark comedies.

The first two episodes of Severance will premiere on Apple TV+ on February 18, with the remaining seven episodes airing weekly afterward on Fridays.