Ahead of its season two premiere, Allison sat down over zoom to chat with some of the cast and creatives behind Amazon Prime’s Upload. In this season, we return to follow Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell) as he navigates the digital afterlife and deals with the repercussions of his inescapable girlfriend, Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), uploading herself and in effect “killing” herself without his knowledge. Nathan also continues his takedown and investigation into the evil Horizen company. We talked with creator Greg Daniels, as well as actors Kevin Bigley (Luke) and Zainab Johnson (Aleesha). The differences between content for streaming versus network TV, potential romance, and dreams streamed like for public consumption: nothing is off bounds! Read on for our exclusive interview.
Along with recent films like Free Guy, Upload raised the notion of a digital consciousness human. Do they deserve the same rights? What are your thoughts on this? Do you think these uploads should theoretically be considered real humans?
GREG DANIELS: I think, therefore I am. If you have your memories and your brain going, then yeah, I would say you’re a real human. It’s an interesting philosophical question. Once you start taking away humanity from people because they aren’t as whole as other people, then where do you stop? The question then becomes, are they allowed to work and compete with people who actually have to put food in their stomachs? So, there’s a lot of good questions the show raises, and we try to do it in a super entertaining way, so you don’t even notice till afterwards that interesting things were raised to talk about later.
If you see the show getting picked up for season three, do you have any other interesting facets in mind regarding potential digital life that you haven’t yet explored? The digital baby, prototykes, dream streaming, and Dreamhub concepts were a hilarious and unique touch.
GREG: Well, we do have a bunch of other things that are little extensions of the world that are other kind of satiric targets. There’s a lot more to be to be talked about for the main characters. The important part is that if you watched season one, season two is kind of like season one, but better, I think, or more. If you haven’t yet watched season one, now’s a good time to start. Now you’ve got at least eight or nine hours of continuous episodes to look forward to.
Between Upload, Space Force, Parks & Recreation, and The Office: which was your favorite show to work on and why? How different was it to craft sitcoms for broadcast television versus streaming?
GREG: Everything’s changing, right? To me, the funny part is when I started working on Upload, I was told all the rules are different—think of it as a five hour movie. I was excited to do it like that, and to to prepare something that was very appropriate for binging and for just gulping down. I’ve had a really good time doing that. The irony, of course, is that the whole time I was working on the show, the number one streaming show was The Office, which was not produced like that at all. I don’t know, they’re all good. Who do you get to work with everyday? Who do you get to interact with, and the casts are hilarious of all the shows. The ability that a great actor has to take a line that you’ve written, and then add extra life to it by the way that they do it is something I’m always in awe of, and just makes the whole process fun. I’m just happy that I get to continue to do this job. I did my first reality show with my daughter it’s on HBO Max. It’s called My Mom Your Dad. Check that out, because it’s pretty fun too.
Allison also spoke with actors Kevin Bigley and Zainab Johnson about their characters, hopes for future seasons, and dreams!
Aleesha definitely cares for Luke, even though she pretends to be constantly annoyed by him. If there’s a third season, do you think we’ll see Luke and Aleesha get together? Is there anything you can tease in regards to the relationship?
ZAINAB JOHNSON: I think that Aleesha and Luke, they get together in the second season in a way? Together in the same room, and fight some more? I don’t know, I don’t know. I hope that we get a third season and that we get to see whatever is going to play out between Aleesha and Luke. I hope that we get to see it. In the second season, they learned some new things about each other. That changes the dynamic of their play with one another. They still play, but it just changes a bit, you know, and I would love to see it even further. Does it end in romance? I mean, we don’t know. Kevin and I are just as curious and on the edge of our seats as the viewer.
KEVIN BIGLEY: Yeah. All I know is that it’s just gonna be weird. Yeah, just strange. It’s just a strange relationship. They’re both weird people. They have this relationship I don’t think that I can even necessarily put words to, so I couldn’t imagine that they could either. But they seem reliant upon each other. They seem to respect each other in a weird way. I guess it’s maybe one-sided, but maybe a little bit on your side that are some kind of perverse sexual attraction.
ZAINAB: Aleesha took a really strong stance against Nora dating and falling for an upload in season one. Whenever we do discuss that temptation to do that for Luke and Aleesha… I mean, it’s not up to me. I’m always reminded, like, wait, she had a very strong opinion. There has to be something strong for her to shift.
The central plot of season two also revolves around dreams from uploads being shared to a platform called Dreamhub for public consumption as if they are movies. What are the wildest dreams you guys have had? Do you think any would make for a good show?
KEVIN: They would all be just terrible movies. Here’s the deal, whenever I wake up, and it’s like, you think it’s something fantastic. If you give it like 20 minutes, just 20 minutes, like go to the shower, wash your face or something? By the time you’ve done that, and you replay it, like, oh, that didn’t make any sense at all. Like it would be just nonsensical television or film. Or it’s just stuff that I’ve straight up in my dream ripped from movies and television. One that I think it is very generational, running away from a dinosaur. I think that that’s very much our generation.
ZAINAB: It would be scary for literal dreams to be a reality, because sometimes they’re like nightmares, right? I dream in color. You know how they say, you can never dream about something or someone that you’ve not seen? What’s crazy about that is, I wake up from dreams all the time, like, ‘who was that?’ I would love to see a show where the character’s just waking up like ‘oh, wait, who are you?’
Thanks again to Greg Daniels, Kevin Bigley, and Zainab Johnson for taking the time out of their busy schedules to speak with us. I know Allison is waiting anxiously for official word about season three.
Upload’s first season can be found on Amazon Prime, and the second premieres on Friday, March 11th.