Creating a television series from a collection of illustrations is definitely not an easy task. And that's what it is Amazon Prime Video has decided to do to enrich its already vast catalog of original productions thanks to Tales from the Loop. The result is a series of 8 episodes directed by Nathaniel Halpern (Legion, Outcast) which follows the strange events of a city located on top of a huge research facility in experimental physics. Produced by Fox21 Television Studios e Amazon Studios in collaboration with 6th & Idaho e Indio Studio and will debut on the platform Amazon Prime Video the next 3th April.
A unique series, between art, mystery and science fiction
We are perhaps facing the first television adaptation of paintings and illustrations. In 2014, the Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag has published some of his illustrations online, causing a lot of success. A unique visual experiment, which imagined the scenic setting of rural Sweden invaded peacefully by robotic elements that recall apocalyptic science fiction. The collection of illustrations - published by Mondadori under the name "Loop" - is set in a highly technological, decadent and mysterious Sweden from the XNUMXs, and sees as a premise the existence of a gigantic machine, called "The Loop" which lies in the center of the city and manages to make the impossible possible.
And it is precisely from the idea behind this collection of illustrations that the new original series of Amazon Prime Video, Tales from The Loop it comes to life. It is halfway between the Netflix TV shows "Dark" and "Stranger Things" and we can almost consider it an anthological series so much so that Amazon has previewed only three episodes, the first, fourth and sixth. Each episode seems unrelated to the other but at the same time manages to perfectly connect the different characters and their stories, creating a real mosaic. In fact, even if the individual episodes may seem lacking, the collective experience is absolutely rewarding, especially when the stories begin to intertwine.
Looking for the missing mother in the woods May (Rachel Low) meets Cole (Duncan Joiner) throwing snowballs at a giant two-legged robot that stands still, partially covered in snow. The two children have a brief but heated discussion until one of them asks the other "Have you ever wondered where the robots come from?" The characters actually don't seem to ask themselves many questions about the particular setting that surrounds them, dotted with snow-covered robotic carcasses. Their origins or history are never explained - at least in the episodes provided in the preview - and seeing the characters move nonchalantly among these strange guests makes the setting surreal and compelling, almost more than the plot itself.
The plot of the series is not comforting, but with its calm and relaxed pace it comes to the viewer like a breath of cold air. Everything is centered on the relationship between people and the loop, and even if the characters suffer losses - often in very painful ways - there is always the comfort in thinking that whatever we want, whatever we want or whatever we need, we are not the only ones looking for it.
Accomplice of this is the setting, designed to recall as much as possible the bizarre but serene spirit of the illustrations by Stålenhag.
We are faced with a unique series, which is impossible to judge on the basis of the three episodes available. Perhaps it will remain an experiment, the story, the rhythm and the themes are in fact completely different from what the catalog of streaming platforms can offer, but it certainly deserves attention, especially in a particular period like this. In the cast we can find Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Prestige), Jonathan Price (Brazil, Game of Thrones, The Two Popes), Paul Schneider (Parks and Recreation, Channel Zero), Daniel Zolghadri (Low Tide), Tyler Barnhardt (Thirteen), Duncan Joiner (Waco) e Rachel Low.
In 2017, Loop was also adapted into a role-playing game with its own title of Tales of the Loop winner of five ENnie Awards, including Best Game and Best Product of the Year.