Fifth Season / Red Hour Productions in association with Apple (Apple TV+)
In this prescient Apple TV+ series, director and executive producer Ben Stiller and creator Dan Erickson, along with their brilliant cast, probe what it means to live a meaningful life if given the choice of separating our work and non-work lives. By mining the desire for personal contentment, whatever the cost, Severance explores the social and individual consequences of escaping the pain of human trauma, alienation, and discontent. Through this master class in world-building of the impersonal, rule-laden, and surveillance-saturated corporate workplace, viewers experience the deadening and degrading weight of routinization, monotony, and repetition. This is a workplace where compliance is perpetually demanded and rewarded and where social relations are defined by small banal pleasures, momentary recognition by bosses, and meaningless social interaction with co-workers. Severance details the emotional and psychological effects of the micro practices of discipline and control that its characters endure.And yet at its most hopeful, Severance probes the desire for meaning, the emotional power of memory, the bonds of social attachment, and the urge to rebel against subjugation and control. Armed with small acts of individual and collective courage, the principle characters challenge authority wielded by the corporate machine and their functionaries, conjured by the powerful desire to regain their memories and to rebuild their lives outside of the totalizing logic of the workplace. For its powerful elaboration of hope and engagement with the large questions of work, labor, grief, relationships, and what it means to be human in a world increasingly defined by discipline, control, and alienation, Severance wins a Peabody.