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Review: 'Tales from the Loop' reminiscent of science fiction anthologies from the past

Review: 'Tales from the Loop' reminiscent of science fiction anthologies from the past

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Tales from the Loop

Under the quiet town of Mercer lies an experimental machine known only as the Loop. Though the details are quite vague, the nature of the Loop ties it to all the unfathomable mysteries of the universe, and that serves to “make the impossible possible.” With anomalies in time and space, defunct robots and other discarded technology, Mercer winds up being a pretty interesting place to live. Each episode of Tales from the Loop follows one of the townsfolk as their lives intersect with the incredible happenings that occur in Mercer. Though there is an interconnection between the episodes, Tales from the Loop plays more like an anthology show than a continuing story.

Tales from the Loop takes its inspiration from a collection of artworks with the same name by Simon Stalenhag. The Swedish artist is known for nostalgic images that incorporate a science fiction twist, and Stalenhag’s work is well worth an internet search in its own right. The show itself draws heavily from Stalenhag’s imagery, but in other respects, strikes out on its own. The backdrop of the show often feels like a slice of middle America from yesteryear—that is, until the wonders of the Loop are thrown into the mix.

Like a lot of good science fiction, Tales from the Loop gives us tales that focus on an aspect of the human condition, and then adds extraordinary elements to allow the audience to experience these things through a different lens. In this respect, Tales from the Loop excels, keeping its focus on developing its characters and how otherworldly experiences can reshape their lives. While the science fiction elements certainly add depth and interest to Tales from the Loop, the show starts to shine when it connects the audience to one of its characters.

With each episode more or less standing on its own, Tales from the Loop varies a bit in quality from one installment to the next. Fortunately, there aren’t any stinkers in the mix, and overall the quality remains high throughout the eight-episode run. For the most part, each story plays out rather slowly, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t offer many opportunities for excitement or tension. Tales from the Loop is reminiscent of science fiction anthologies from the past. For folks who appreciate such things, the show will definitely hit the mark.

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