Amazon Prime’s TALES FROM THE LOOP (2020) is an extraordinary sci-fi drama series inspired by the works of Simon Stålenhag. I found it uniquely stirring and powerful.
Stålenhag’s paintings reimagine Sweden in the 80s, towheaded kids in pastoral scenes, but always with a striking sci-fi element, whether it be ominous looming towers, hovercraft, abandoned and rusting giant spheres, or robots. The sci-fi element always looks worn and lived-in. His book, TALES FROM THE LOOP, describes growing up near The Loop, a massive supercollider situated among a society that is both retro and high-tech. His work always gets me, evoking a startling juxtaposition between past and future to create a unique present.
The show perfectly captures the spirit of this art. It follows two families who live and work at The Loop and the nearby town, presenting a collection of interconnected stories all inspired by Stålenhag’s art, with his most iconic works recognizable in the adaptation. Featuring multiple directors such as Jodie Foster, the show rolls out as a very slow burn with deep human drama facilitated by technology, usually discarded scientific projects that deliver a miraculous power. Overall, it feels like a ’70s Kodak commercial and BLACK MIRROR had a baby.
I highly recommend this one. It might be too slow burn for some, but the overall effect for me was hypnotic, artistic, and very powerful, particularly the last few episodes. Check it out if you like thoughtful and unique sci-fi.