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    Where to watch: Amazon, Hulu

    Time: 8 episodes, total of ca. 7 hours

    This is personally my favourite show of the year. It’s a limited series with only 8 episodes, created by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation). At the center of the plot is a young software engineer, whose boyfriend is found dead and at first seems to have killed himself. The mystery leads her to believe that her employer, the hugely successful tech company Amaya, might have something to do with his death. Right before his disappearance, he was hired by a secret division of the company, called DEVS. The division, kept under wraps by the enigmatic CEO Forest (Nick Offerman) is developing a new type of quantum computer that can visualize past and future events by calculating the state of every particle in existence. An invention that would change the world as we know it.

    On the surface, the series is a mystery-thriller, but underneath it delves into the philosophy of meaning, choice, loss and forgiveness. Two opposing theories about how the universe works are explored through the beliefs and choices of the characters – determinism versus multiverse. In the deterministic view of the universe we don’t have free will and anything that happens to us is predetermined, which frees us from responsibility and guilt. In the multiverse view, any choice of ours creates a new branch of reality. There is an infinite amount of possibilities, but we have to face the consequences of our choices, in the reality that we ended up in. The series aims to start a conversation and doesn’t set any of its ideas in stone. Both theories of existence seem possible and are determined by the choices of the observer.

    Alex Garland does a marvelous job not only with the writing, but directing as well. Camera work and visual effects support the eerie atmosphere without being distracting. Some of the uncanny set pieces include the gigantic statue of Forest’s daughter Amaya and the futuristic Devs lab, set inside of a golden faraday cage with a floating elevator and the quantum computer at its core. The haunting soundtrack with acapella voices creates an enchanting, disturbing and melancholic atmosphere that I have rarely experienced in a tv show. The style is more common for arthouse cinema, but fits this show perfectly. Characters have realistic motivations and almost everything that happens is perfectly explained and resolved in the end. 

    The show is a must watch if you are a fan of sci-fi and arthouse cinema. It jumps between thrilling moments and melancholic conversations about the meaning of existence. Pacing may be a bit off at times, with a few slower episodes in the middle, but it all builds up to a satisfying, mind boggling finale that will make you think about this series for a while after it ends.