The Peripheral, From the Creators of Westworld, Sure Looks Fairly Westworldy

It’s pretty fascinating, in the grand scheme of adaptations, which William Gibson stories make it to the screen and which do not. Will there ever be a Neuromancer movie? Can’t we get a series about Cayce Pollard?

Maybe. But until then, we’ll have to content ourselves with Johnny Mnemonic (ed. note: I think you mean “Johnny Mnemonic, The Best Movie Ever”) and the little-seen New Rose Hotel—and, now, Prime Video’s long-gestating adaptation of The Peripheral, which looks very shiny in a “nothing in this show is allowed to have a color” kind of way.

Produced by Westworld‘s Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, The Peripheral is about two people in broken worlds who meet rather unexpectedly, given that they live seventy-odd years apart in time. Amazon’s summary says:

Flynne Fisher lives in the rural American South, working at the local 3D printing shop, while earning much needed extra money playing VR games for rich people. One night she dons a headset and finds herself in futuristic London—a sleek and mysterious world, alluringly different from her own hardscrabble existence.

But this isn’t like any game she’s ever played before: Flynne begins to realize it isn’t virtual reality… it’s real. Someone in London, seventy years in the future, has found a way to open a door to Flynne’s world. And as utterly beguiling as London is… it’s also dangerous. As Flynne searches to discover who has connected their worlds, and for what purpose, her presence here sets dangerous forces into motion…forces intent on destroying Flynne and her family in her own world.

This sticks pretty closely to the book’s summary at first, and then diverges dramatically (and not just in its overuse of ellipses). The book’s cover text doesn’t say anything about dangerous forces intent on destroying Flynne. Instead, it ends with the suggestion that the dangerous folks of future London “will learn that some of these third-world types from the past can be badass.”

The trailer looks extremely “from the creators of Westworld,” which is probably a more exciting selling point if you found more to enjoy in the later seasons of Westworld. The rural world is pretty and slightly unreal; the future world is shiny and strange. Light and color are limited to dark gloom, high gloss, and a distracting sort of ’70s golden-brown, especially in the rural scenes. When you’re thinking only about the light and not about whether Chloë Grace Moretz is well cast as Flynne, there is something a little weird going on.

The Peripheral is created by Scott B. Smith (A Simple Plan), who serves as showrunner. It also stars Midsommar‘s Jack Reynor as Flynne’s brother Burton and Gary Carr (Downton Abbey) as Wilf. The eight-episode first season premieres on Prime Video on October 21st.



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