Making of ‘Upload’: Lively roundtable panel with creator Greg Daniels and 3 top crafts artisans [Exclusive Video Interview]

Is “Upload” the ultimate comedy series to virtually die for? The witty afterlife sci-fi comedy is the perfect blend of outrageous and heartfelt as it explores the age old question; “what happens after you die?” — but with a twist: what if we could create our own afterlife, where we upload ourselves into a bespoke utopia that caters to our every whim? Would it be the answer to all of humanity’s prayers, or like a lot of other recent developments in technology and social media, will we just screw it up again?

To celebrate the series’ second season, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, watch our special 40-minute “Making of” roundtable discussion with series creator and showrunner Greg Daniels (“The Office,” “The Simpsons,” “Saturday Night Live”) and three of his key behind-the-scenes crafts artistans — costume designer Farnaz Khaki-Sadigh, Emmy-winning editor David Rogers and head writer and producer Maxwell Vivian. Together they are joined by Gold Derby senior editor Rob Licuria for a memorable Q&A. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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Set in the not-too-distant future of 2033, humans have developed the technology to “upload” themselves into a virtual afterlife of their choosing, where they are able to virtually interact with the world of the living. When computer programmer Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell) dies prematurely, he is uploaded to the premium Lakeview, a digitized heavenly resort that comes with a hefty price-tag. Unfortunately for Nathan, he can’t escape the clutches of his controlling girlfriend, the still-living Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), as even in death, she micro-manages his every move from the real world. While Nathan adjusts to his new digital afterlife, he becomes friends with Nora (Andy Allo), his living customer service rep, who is struggling with the pressures of her job and her dying father. The two soon grow even closer together as they realize they have feelings for one another, while also coming to terms with the discovery that Nathan may have been murdered. Season 2 opens with Nathan at a crossroads, as Ingrid has unexpectedly arrived in Lakeview, while he secretly yearns for his “customer service angel” Nora, who has become involved with the Ludds, an anti-technology group of anarchists living off-the-grid.

The show’s first season premiered on May 1, 2020, with the under the-radar gem so well-received by critics and viewers that it prompted the streaming giant to renew it for a second season just seven days later. Despite production delays due to the ongoing pandemic, the visual effects-heavy show finally returned on March 11, 2022 to even more critical acclaim and strong word-of-mouth, scoring a rare “fresh” rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Season 2 was such a hit that Amazon again acted quickly, locking in the cast and crew for season 3, with Amazon’s Head of Global TV Vernon Sanders declaring in his statement celebrating the show’s renewal on May 11 that it “continues to connect and provoke endless possibilities for the future of technology and humanity.”

The multi-Emmy winning writer/director reveals that they’re been busily writing the anticipated third season, knowing that fans are clamoring for more after the second season ended on a cliffhanger. “We ended the season on a high point and we’re almost done writing season 3,” he shares. “Maxwell and I have been on Zooms, nonstop for the last four months and season 2 is going to roll very nicely into season 3.”

“I was overjoyed with the way season 2 turned out,” Vivian declares. “Honestly, it’s so hard to look at it in terms of, did we get what we wanted? But we were producing it at such a crazy time. We were writing in the room when COVID first hit and we switched right over to Zoom and didn’t lose a beat, we just kept writing,” he says, adding with a grin, “and when things were first going down, I was one of the people that was like, oh, it’s about to be ‘Mad Max’ times!” Rogers was overjoyed with how the season turned out, proclaiming that “with the launching into season 2 with the relationship between Ingrid and Nathan, Nora is on the run and gone; I thought all of those story-lines really came together in such a nice way. They really coalesced while still keeping all the satire and the tech jokes and the futuristic things,” he says. Khaki-Sadigh agrees, noting that “for us, it was a huge challenge doing season 2 in the midst of COVID because we didn’t have a lot of the liberties that we did in season 1,” she explains. “It was really nice to kind of see it at the end, and see wow, it came together and it looks amazing!”

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