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'Severance' blurs lines of memory in full trailer for Ben Stiller's high-concept Apple TV+ sci-fi series

The new series — which feels like a combination of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Office Space — arrives on Apple TV+ Friday, Feb. 18.

By Josh Weiss
Severance Adam Scott Apple TV+ PRESS

A grueling work week doesn't seem so bad when you're able to completely separate your office life from your personal one. At least you'd think that'd be the case, but the official trailer for Severance paints such an arrangement as a dystopian nightmare. Coming to Apple TV+ next month, the high concept sci-fi series from executive producer Ben Stiller looks like a mind-bending cocktail of Eternals Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Office Space (we're also accepting Black Mirror and 1984 comparisons at this time).

Adam Scott (Big Little Lies) leads the cast as Mark Scout, a lowly cog in the corporate machine who agrees to undergo the titular and experimental procedure that splits the mind in two (a bit similar to the real-world corpus callosotomy). All seems fine and dandy until Mark and his fellow co-workers begin to realize that the blatant erasure of certain memories is keeping them from a dark and Kafka-esque conspiracy related to what they actually do for a living at the mysterious Lumon Corporation.

Patricia Arquette (Escape at Dannemora), John Turturro (The Plot Against America), Britt Lower (High Maintenance), Zach Cherry (Succession), Dichen Lachman (Jurassic World: Dominion), Jen Tullock (Before You Know It), Tramell Tillman (Hunters), Michael Chernus (Orange is the New Black), and Christopher Walken (Wild Mountain Thyme) round out the ensemble cast. 

Watch the new trailer (set to I Monster's "Daydream in Blue") below:

From the shifting color palette, to the uncanny performances, to the can't-quite-place-the-time-period setting, to the eerily symmetrical production design that recalls Wes Anderson, we expect Severance to be the television equivalent of dropping a fresh tab of LSD.

Dan Erickson created and wrote the nine-episode show, with Stiller occupying the role of director. While known for his comedic turns, Stiller has started to tackle more serious projects in recent years like the biographical Escape at Dannemora, which nabbed him a prize from the Directors Guild of America. Both he and Erickson serve as executive producers alongside Mark Friedman, Chris Black, John Cameron, Andrew Colville, Nicky Weinstock and Jackie Cohn. Scott and Arquette are producers.

The first two episodes of Severance (in the works for the last three years) will premiere on Apple TV+ Friday, Feb. 18. After that, the remaining seven episodes are scheduled to be released on a weekly basis every Friday. It's unclear if this is intended as a limited series or it will be renewed for subsequent seasons.