Silo is a dystopian sci-fi series streaming now on Apple TV+. Based on the Silo book series of the same name by Hugh Howey, this is a gripping and engaging adaptation that has breathed new life into the dystopian future genre.
The series follows 10,000 people living in a 144-level underground bunker known as the Silo, following a global apocalyptic disaster centuries ago. The people currently living in the Silo are unaware of their history, after an uprising erased all of their records 140 years earlier. Sheriff Holston Becker (David Oyelowo) is one of the inhabitants who no longer wants to remain in the Silo, stating to his Deputy, Marnes (Will Patton), that he “wants to go out”, a crime worse than any other whose punishment is to be sent outside into the toxic wasteland to clean the outer camera and face certain death.
Three years earlier, Becker and his wife Allison (Rashida Jones) are trying for a baby after being granted permission. With no success, Allison throws herself into her work, helping IT expert George Wilkins (Ferdinand Kingsley) unlock a restricted hard drive, a relic from the “before times” that is strictly prohibited. What Allison discovers on the hard drive sends her mad, and she shouts to go out of the Silo. Unable to do anything to save his wife, Holston sends her out to clean where he and the rest of the inhabitants watch her collapse in the wasteland outside.
Years later and before he too wants to go outside, Becker is sent to investigate the death of George Wilkins which appears to be a suicide, yet an engineer from Mechanical, Juliette Nichols (Rebecca Ferguson), claims it was murder. As Becker learns more about George’s death and his relationship with Juliette, he crosses paths with many influential inhabitants of the Silo, including Mayor Jahns (Geraldine James), Head of IT Bernard Holland (Tim Robbins) and Judicial Head of Security Robert Sims (Common), and he also begins to uncover more of the Silo’s secrets, leading him and Juliette into grave danger.
I was incredibly worried about watching this show as I read the Silo book series years ago and absolutely loved them, but in the end, my fears were unfounded as this is a really great adaptation. The series as a whole looks fantastic, the theming and overall look of the Silo is very well done and feels rather claustrophobic, and also adds to the intrigue about the Silo’s history making you try and guess when it was built. Everything from the set design to costumes and CGI are spot on and nothing feels out of place, it all looks so authentic.
The cast too is also what makes this so compelling to watch. From Will Patton’s old school Deputy to Tim Robbins’ cold and dry Head of IT, this is a stellar cast playing engrossing characters, no matter how big or small. The standout is Rebecca Ferguson’s Juliette, who would feel at home in any crime thriller and is truly rivetting as the tough yet not completely cold-hearted engineer. I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing Juliette so well and being able to hold our attention for the entire series. My only criticism of the cast is that so many of them are British or non-American stars, yet all of them are putting on not entirely convincing American accents. While I can understand why this would be the case as you couldn’t expect different accents in a bunker with no access to the outside world or different languages or regions, for me there’s something a little grating about these generic American accents that just feel a little too fake. And even Ferguson struggles with this if you listen closely enough.
Aside from this, there’s little Silo seems to struggle with. It takes a little while to get going over the first two or three episodes, but after that it had me hooked with its genre-bending plot – moving from sci-fi to murder mystery to crime thriller with ease. While I don’t remember a lot about the books, I did love how the series has taken a major plot point revealed early doors in the book and instead used it as a rather big reveal in the final episode. Which worked so well that I didn’t want the show to end.
With a large amount of dystopian future ideas and tv shows in general around the moment, Silo truly stands out as a thrilling and intriguing watch and one I definitely look forward to seeing more of.
Where to Watch
A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!