Tales from the Loop: Loop
April 5, 2020 1:19 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Adapted from the work of Swedish illustrator Simon Stålenhag., this Amazon series centers around various strange happenings in Mersa, Ohio, site of an underground physics research facility known colloquially as "The Loop". In the first episode, a young girl (Abby Ryder Fortson) goes looking for her missing mother, and ends up wandering further afield than she planned.
posted by Ipsifendus (20 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Whoa, i’ll Have to check this out. I was a Stålenhag fan some years ago.
posted by Monochrome at 1:27 PM on April 5, 2020

And it's run by Nathaniel Halpern, who was one of the people behind Legion, which is a recommendation to me, at least.
posted by Grangousier at 1:35 PM on April 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

I checked out your link and the illustrations have left me stunned. Wow.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:01 PM on April 5, 2020

I saw this without knowing it was based on Stalenhag's work and decided they had ripped him off before crossly googling and being pleasantly surprised! It's slow going so far but the production and atmosphere is impeccable.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:17 PM on April 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh my god, I can't wait to watch this.
posted by rp at 5:56 AM on April 6, 2020

I really liked Episode 1, looking forward to the rest of the series. I like that it's little stories about different people and events. And the integration of the "loop tech" within the real world is good. Things just "are" without a lot of backstory and explanation. This is the world, these are the stories.
posted by jazon at 8:41 AM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Watched the first two, managed to spoil the first one for myself by checking X-Ray which gave me more complete character names than I think it should have. Enjoying so far and want to get back to it asap.

I was so cold during the first one, not only because of the winter scenes, but the kids took their gloves off way too much for my liking. Plus the glacial pacing.

Speaking of which, I'm looking forward to a time when streaming series episodes are only as long as they need to be and not stretched to fill an hour slot (thinking of so many examples I could use). It's possible my current constant sensation of impending doom makes me think "hurry up, would you" at the TV more than I normally would.
posted by sageleaf at 9:31 AM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed this; it's a great example of humans first science fiction. There's no attempt to explain any more of the ‘science’¹ than is absolutely necessary to tell the story. I was honestly expecting something much lighter, but I am all in for the heartbreak and hope that I got.

I am definitely curious about the rest of Loretta's childhood. I'm hoping we get to see some of that later.

¹ Clarke's third law definitely applies here.
posted by thedward at 1:30 PM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

I only saw the first episode so far, and oh man, it's so beautiful. The first episode has a really timeless aesthetic to it so far and I really hope it holds throughout the series. It gives the same vibe as a lot of Stålenhag's work; my wife who is completely unfamiliar with his artwork kept asking me "do you know when this is supposed to take place?"

It reminded me of my favorite parts of Lost actually (namely the aesthetic of an aged Dharma Initiative). I'm a sucker for midcentury-science-institute-vibes.
posted by furnace.heart at 2:12 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

One of the things I'm loving about this series is the absolute Bradbury-an mode of making sci-fi shorts about the *emotional* impact of a world of mysterious wonders - the sci itself is effectively just magical realism, each character's personal vignette is a tale of their own troubles and discoveries and growth rather than an exploration of exactly how the physics makes a space ship go whoosh or whatever.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:40 PM on April 6, 2020 [5 favorites]

Almost makes me regret unsubscribing from Prime literally yesterday; this was filmed in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, including the town of Morden, which is mostly known for their Corn and Apple Festival and is home to the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre and birthplace of Loreena McKennitt.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:44 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just watched this episode and enjoyed it, despite it pegging the “wistful nostalgia” meter in the red. I guess especially for me, since everything is so 1979, when I was just a bit younger than young Loretta is in this episode. The soundtrack worked non-stop to maintain that tone too.

When they got down into the Loop itself it was very much like a child-friendly version of the FBC from the video game Control, which was nice.

I don’t know if they’re going to continue Loretta’s story at all, but I guess once she gets home, she goes back to the Loop and gets herself adopted by Jonathan Pryce?
posted by ejs at 6:53 PM on April 6, 2020

Laretta is a featured continuing character, according to IMDB.

We watched this back to back with s03e03 of Westworld and the use of Glass-like minimalist building figures was a little odd here at first, until I realized that at least in this episode, there was some, you know, actual Philip Glass.

I also sorta felt like they were borrowing a lot from Stranger Things, and that show has also used Glass on occasion if I recall correctly. It seems unlikely ST creatives would have been unaware of Stalenhag’s work, so maybe the loop goes in two directions.

Anyway, very promising start. I wish they had just left it set in an unknown locale that features strong Swedish cultural influences but which bleeds inexplicably into the US rather than Ohio, one state away from Stranger Things.
posted by mwhybark at 11:24 PM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

Q: How melancholy?
A: All. All the melancholy.

I've watched the first four so far. I think if you're paying close attention what happens to Loretta in the first episode is apparent: her clothing and the tech before her mother disappears are all mid-50s while, after, it's somewhere around 1980. I did not, however, guess who Loretta was until the reveal. I should have at the bar scene.

So far, the theme seems to be the challenge of dissatisfaction.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:21 PM on April 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

posted by 2N2222 at 8:13 PM on April 9, 2020

Just started watching this because I’m on a quarantine-induced sci-fi kick...I loved the atmosphere and premise, but I wasn’t completely taken with this episode. Maybe because I just finished Dark, which is like this episode but on steroids. That is to say...this was intriguing, but not particularly innovative after watching all of that other show. Looking forward to more though! Hopefully the other episodes explore and push more.
posted by sprezzy at 2:13 PM on April 10, 2020

I loved this - simple, a bit melancholy, but with beauty and hope.
posted by harriet vane at 9:34 PM on April 10, 2020

This is so good. I remember hearing about it back when, thanks Ipsifendus for posting this.

Stålenhag's illustrations are amazing. I get a deep sense of futility/ despair/ acceptance.

Pryce has been great as always, the child actors are good. Ryder Fortson (young girl/ young Loretta? That's the name on her division [math] test) really resonates with me as The Conscientious Child.

Her companion boy-child's (Cole) jacket screams early 1980's Canada to me. I have a very poor feel for the time periods/ frames here. The television set in the living room was state of the art 80s, but the furniture was much older.

This is a far better treatment of ineffable/ trans-science than, say, Annhiliation (the movie was terrible, the book trilogy started intriguing, but... I hate read through it hoping it might end up saying something, but nah.).

thedward's totally right on with Clarke's 3rd, and this deals with that really well. Very 'Roadside Picnic'/ S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Overall very appropriate, in terms of the 'joke' that the Large Hadron Collider did something funny with fundamental physics/ reality and that's why we're in the timeline that we're in now.

Forget Baby Yoda - that robot in the woods is far cuter, to me at least.
posted by porpoise at 6:09 PM on April 11, 2020

Young Loretta passes a movie theater playing "Summer With Monika", a 1953 Swedish film, which provides a likely year for her original timeline. The rest seems 1979-1982 to me even though the furniture is older.
The kids were watching the 1966 Canadian film "Paddle to the Sea" on TV, which I recognized instantly. Not a plot point or time stamp but a weirdly random choice.
Anyway, loved the slow pacing, the lack of explanation, the color scheme, and of course the reveal.
Looking forward to more.
posted by rocket88 at 6:45 PM on April 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

The actress who played Young Loretta was excellent.
posted by bq at 11:48 AM on May 1, 2020

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