In this installment of 3 Reasons to Watch, our hand-cranked Apple TV+ recommendation engine, we’re looking at the dystopian sci-fi show du jour, Silo.
Created by Graham Yost (Justified, Speed), and based on the books by Hugh Howey, the show focuses on the last people on earth, who live in a huge, underground structure and slowly start to learn there’s more to their predicament than meets the eye. We’re only three episodes into the series, but Silo is already a bona fide hit. Here’s why you should get in now.
3 Reasons to Watch: Silo on Apple TV+
Rebecca Ferguson (Dune, Mission: Impossible – Fallout) leads an incredible cast that includes Tim Robbins, Will Patton, David Oyelowo and Common. The silo dwellers live in thrall to a shadowy government. And that sinister organization ensures that nobody who asks questions about the order of life in the silo ever lives to talk about it.
Ferguson plays Juliette Nichols, a woman who works on the generator that powers the silo, until one day her life is upended. Her boyfriend dies, and then she’s elected to be the new sheriff of the silo. It’s the perfect position from which to uncover the mystery of his death. If that’s not tantalizing enough, here are three more reasons to dig into Silo’s fertile surface.
1. A good mystery
Silo is many things, from a world-building science fiction epic to a story of generational trauma to a cautionary tale about climate change and government suppression of information. But it’s first and foremost a most intriguing mystery. What happened that made the building of the silo necessary? Why is the exact truth of the matter being kept a secret? Who knows what? What else do they have to hide?
Sure, it’s good fun seeing the world of Silo expand week after week. But it’s deeply exciting to see dogged heroine Juliette Nichols following threads to messy answers week after week.
2. Rebecca Ferguson in beast mode
Rebecca Ferguson is known to millions as the second fiddle to Tom Cruise in the last few Mission: Impossible movies, the villain in the Stephen King adaptation Doctor Sleep, and the queen in Denis Villeneuve’s elephantine Dune movies. But what she had not yet been allowed to be was a lead.
Silo affords her this opportunity, and she does not waste a second of it. Haunted, angry, angsty, driven, ferocious — this is the Rebecca Ferguson show, her own showcase a la Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies. When Ferguson’s on screen, you don’t want to look anywhere else.
3. Subterranean relationships
Silo’s twists and turns wouldn’t be nearly so satisfying and nail-biting were it not for a solid emotional underpinning. And the show’s writers go to great pains to give us a reason to care why these people make it out of every jam. There silo holds quite a range of inhabitants: a doula kept under a regimen of drugs to avoid thinking about the past; a woman driven to suicide by the helplessness she felt under an oppressive regime that refused to allow her to have purpose in the wake of her son’s death; a man who made promises to lovers he couldn’t keep.
All of these familial and romantic sagas swirl in the background behind Juliette Nichols’ story. Perhaps the greatest is the bond that must form between Nichols and her estranged father, played by the great Iain Glen. The two incredible actors do real emotional work on Silo. The show likely could have survived without it, but it wouldn’t have risen to greatness.
Watch Silo on Apple TV+
We’re currently in the first season of Silo. New episodes arrive Fridays on Apple TV+.
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper and But God Made Him A Poet: Watching John Ford in the 21st Century, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.