It means nothing but it sounds good.

Archive 81

When archivist Dan Turner takes a mysterious job restoring a collection of damaged videotapes from 1994, he finds himself reconstructing the work of documentary filmmaker Melody Pendras and her investigation into a dangerous cult. As Dan is drawn into Melody’s story, he becomes convinced he can save her from the terrifying end she met 25 years ago. – IMDb

This TV-show is amazing, I absolutely loved it. First of all, I had no idea that nowadays people would be interested in restoring old tapes. I googled “restoring old tapes”, the amount of results that appeared surprised me. Watching Dan working his magic in Archive 81, was hypnotic. Granted, it was shot in a way that I looked like eye candy. I think that I would have really liked this job.

The videotapes Dan needs to restore, were shot at the Visser in the 90’s. The decade that gems like Twin Peaks and the X-files were created. Archive 81 belongs on that same shelf to me. I think that the reason why I love this TV-show this much is because so many boxes are checked for me. 

Imagine taking on a mysterious job restoring a collection of damaged videotapes in a remote location where there is absolutely no connection, and no way to get in contact with anyone but your shady employer. Things start to happen, and none can be explained scientifically. All you know is that it’s real. If I would have been in Dans’ shoes, I would have gone insane.

I think that this concept mixed with Cthulhu-esque elements like alternate timelines, comets, some otherworldly intoxicating mould, a cult who worships a demon / god named Kaelego,… works like a charm on me. 

Archive 81 is based on a podcast with the same name so I started researching about Kaelego, hoping I would stumble on some ancient historical facts. Of course, like expected, it’s pure fiction (one can only dream). However, I did read an interesting article on Den of Geek about the deity / demon Kaelego, the comets, the Vos Society, the Baldung witches, the Otherworld,… All I can say is that I’m awestruck by the world they’ve created.

There are many references to Dante’s Divine Comedy. The main character’s name is Dan T. (Dante) and he’s being taken on a journey with a man named Virgil (Dante’s guide). I still can’t believe I’ve read those books one day though, it’s not exactly light reading.

The music Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow created for the show is haunting. It crawls under your skin and gives a dark and intense vibe to the show. You feel something building up, like they’re trying to create a rift between two worlds. It’s daunting and tense. It reminds me a lot of Eyes Wide Shut, The Lords of Salem, and Twin Peaks.

There are only a few jump scares in the entire first season, but it weren’t those that scared the living hell out of me. This show is more about a lingering feeling of eeriness / creepiness which creates a tense atmosphere. I absolutely love this kind of thing, and I was sad to hear that Netflix cancelled the show without giving any reason. Regardless, I still don’t give up hope that it’ll be renewed one day.

Westworld – Season 1

Dolores on a rampage.

This TV-show brought me back to the time I’ve played “Detroit: become Human”, I remember going crazy by the way humans were treating the androids in this game. Westworld does the exact same thing, all I wanted was for the robots to have their revenge.

Imagine being stuck in a park where rich creeps can play out their rapist and murder fantasies on you over and over again, this is downright atrocious. I strongly believe that from the moment you create a life, whether it’s a robot, AI, or android, this very being needs to be treated with respect. Humans tend to treat everything that is different from them as a threat, an enemy. They are so afraid to loose control, that they would rather destroy anything that is different from them than learning to coexist.

This is such a deep and philosophical subject, Chris and I can talk for hours about this, but I’m not going to go there because this post would become an insanely long rant. The true plot of the story is that they uploaded “reveries” which means that the robots can have memories, these memories create emotions, and because of these emotions, they can deviate from the paths that were coded and uploaded in their system. An intricate topic with tons of plot twists that I didn’t see coming.

The casting is excellent, Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Robert Ford), Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores Abernathy), and especially Thandie Newton, a complete badass in her role as Maeve Millay. Here’s one of her quotes:

Maeve Millay: [to Sylvester and Lutz] All my life, I’ve prided myself on being a survivor. But surviving is just another loop. I’m getting out of here. You two are going to help me.

Sylvester: No. Do, do you know how far these people will go to protect their IP? Every part of this building, including the skin on your back, is made to keep you here. It, it’d be a suicide mission.

Maeve Millay: At first, I thought you and the others were gods. Then I realized you’re just men. And I know men. You think I’m scared of death? I’ve done it a million times. I’m fucking great at it. How many times have you died? Because if you don’t help me I’ll kill you.

The show reminds me somehow of a real life MMORPG, where NPC’s relive their same fate over and over again. Humans are just guests in the NPC’s home world which is nothing more than an amusement park that provides an escapism from those guests’ real life.

On another note, I also absolutely loved the music and the player piano rolls used throughout the entire season. Some of the instrumental covers include songs of The Cure, Soundgarden, The Rolling Stones, Radiohead,… I’ve read on IMDb that the repetitive three-chord phrase, often heard in the background music, comes from Westworld (1973), where it underscored the Gunslinger’s slow but relentless pursuit of the hero. I really like this tune, it reminds me a lot of Carpenters’ music. It makes me wonder if season 2 will be as musical as the first one!

There is so much more that I could elaborate and mention about this topic, but I need to draw a line somewhere so, I’ll end this post with one more quote that is mentioned repeatedly throughout this season:

“These violent delights have violent ends” – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet