Yesterday evening, we watched the first episode of the Amazon Tales from he Loop series, based on the illustrations by Simon Stålenhag, about a super-science research facility in the 80’s. There is also an excellent RPG by the Swedish RPG writer’s collective Fria Ligan (“Free League”) that has both a Loop in the original Swedish location and one somewhere in the US. In the RPG, you play as a Kid solving Mysteries, while all the adults are too preoccupied with their jobs or unhappy marriages to be of any help. I was a Kid in the 80’s too, and while my life wasn’t filled with super-tech (but we did have high tech! The CD was invented where I lived!) it did resonate with me.
I have all their books — not only is it a fun game (though I haven’t been able to get it to the table yet), but the books are high quality and beautiful too. So of course I was very interested in the TV series.
In the series, the Loop is located in Ohio, so they’re not using a Loop from the RPG book. And while there is a focus on a pair of Kids in this first episode, there’s also a big role of an adult, so it’s not quite like the RPG either. (Which is to be expected, I guess: the series did not take the RPG as source material. But of course that’s the lens through which I watch.)
The tech is a bit ‘muted’ I think. There’s some strange machinery in the background, but the characters rarely interact with it — probably also a matter of CGI budget. The rest of the set dressing is very good, with stuff like green-screen CRT monitors and rotary phones.
Even though the plot didn’t feature super-tech as the main focus (it’s more of the McGuffin), I really liked it.
I did not know what to expect from the soundtrack. Maybe 80’s analog synth pop? But instead we get piano themes from Philip Glass, and I love it. I mean, I love Philip Glass piano themes by themselves, but in the series it really worked to complement the mysterious atmosphere.