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Try to maintain your grip on reality as you watch the first teaser trailer for Severance. Hailing from director and executive producer Ben Stiller, the new Apple TV+ series (not to be confused with Servant) feels like a strange cocktail of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Black Mirror, Maniac, Ex Machina, and Terry Gilliam's Brazil.
A clever play on the words "severance" (as in occupational termination) and "sever" (as in to cut something in two), the sci-fi project follows Mark Scout (Adam Scott), one of several employees of the Lumon Corporation who agrees to undergo an experimental procedure that will surgically separate his work memories from those relating to his home life.
"This daring experiment in ‘work-life balance’ is called into question as Mark finds himself at the center of an unraveling mystery that will force him to confront the true nature of his work… and of himself," reads the official synopsis provided by Apple.
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) co-star.
Check out the unnerving teaser below:
It's quite clear that Stiller and writer/creator Dan Erickson want to put the viewer off-tilt, setting the show in a strange, pseudo- 1970s reality of antiquated analog technology that exists alongside the fictional medical procedure lying at the very heart of the story. This inspired stylistic choice lends an almost surrealist and dream-like quality to the proceedings.
"Ok so I’ve been working on a show about the work/life balance…" Stiller wrote on Twitter. "Very happy to share this."
"I’m so excited to be a part of this incredible show," tweeted Lachman.
Erickson serves as an executive producer with Stiller, Mark Friedman, Chris Black, John Cameron, Andrew Colvill, Nicky Weinstock, and Jackie Cohn.
The first two episodes of Severance are scheduled to premiere on Apple TV+ on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. Subsequent episodes will then make their way to the subscription streaming platform every Friday after that (there are nine episodes in total).