Solos is a 7-part series with individual monologues – or at least each starring one actor, the first being Anthony Mackie (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) as Tom, who’s playing two characters arguing with each other. Coming across like something set in the near-future, this could be Amazon’s version of Black Mirror.
Nothing is known before it begins, so I won’t go into too much detail, other than the fact Tom’s logged on to a website and paid $30,000 to wait 6-8 weeks for a clone of himself, and while talking on the phone to customer care, we learn Tom’s purchase is a robot who “looks nothing like me” and is petty and sarcastic.
In addition, our human nature has a number of quotients. In Tom’s case, he has an ‘asshole quotient’ of 7 (because he referred to his daughter’s friend as a “dipshit”), anger is a 6, sarcasm is an 8, fear is a 9.
There is an important reason why he bought this machine, though, which you will discover. However, the situation will require them to discuss Tom’s life at length, so his new acquisition can learn everything about him and what makes him tick, figuratively-speaking.
There’s also a little bit of product placement when Tom tells his clone that to play music, he can do it through the Alexa 😉
This opener – which runs for 24 minutes – has a few f-words in here, so bear that in mind if younger viewers are looking to see what Falcon’s in at the moment. It’s certainly a fascinating watch, so I’ll be checking out more of these episodes very soon.
Solos is similar in a way to Apple TV+’s Calls, except this in the flesh. Either way, it’s another example of how to make a decent piece of entertainment while in a lockdown situation.
Peg (31 mins): National Treasure Helen Mirren plays Peg (31 mins), who’s onboard a spaceship and undergoing a study by its computer.
We learn how she’s been able to do this simply by applying via a Zoom call, and not requiring any previous experience, but to what end exactly? Then again, the company requires senior citizens only, and people who don’t mind that this is a one-way trip and are looking for a new kind of adventure.
Along the way, she reminisces about her formative years with some potential regrets that can ring true to as well, although thankfully one of those regrets is NOT watching Speed 2: Cruise Control. That was a great film.
You’ll note one link in this story with Anthony Mackie’s story as you watch them, but I won’t detail that here – that’s for you to discover. However, as an aside, it does sound a bit daft when Ms Mirren uses the American pronunciation of the words “mom” and “bus dee-pot”, even though she’s British.
And for this entry in the series, it does feel a bit like Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, but not talking directly to the camera.
Leah (30 mins): Leah (Anne Hathaway) has been trying to make contact with the future for a number of years, to find her ‘future me’, and referencing things not yet happened, such as Trump fleeing to Russia…
What I can say is that after all this time, she has finally discovered herself, literally, at first chatting to a voice that we can only hear, and then to a Leah that we can also see, the other Leah will have been pre-recorded before that, but the acting between the two in terms of timing is still quite brilliant in its effectiveness, even arguing with herself at times.
There’s plenty more to get into about the episode, but to do so here would be spoilers, so you will just have to watch it.
As an aside, There’s a slight subtitle error at 23:38 when Leah talks to the other Leah and begins, “Leah…”, but the subtitles misinterpret as “I, uh…”
Sasha (24 mins): Sasha (Uzo Aduba) has been stuck inside her house for 20 years after a worldwide virus caused everyone to lock themselves indoors forever… so that’s very reminiscent of current affairs. However, her Safe Home – named Zen – is insisting she takes her first trip outside in all this time.
But is it now safe outside? She misses her daughter, Nia, but she’s not sure if she can trust a machine. But then what is real and what is Memorex?
Overall, this episode was very watchable, but didn’t really have a satisfying conclusion.
Jenny (23 mins): Jenny (Constance Wu) has been in a waiting room since forever, she isn’t quite sure why, but is trying to recall, and she thinks it may has something to do with trying for a baby with her husband.
As it went on, I couldn’t get a handle on this one, though, since she was basically just moaning about her life and didn’t come across as any sort of a likeable character. However, this story does start to connect together in the final third, even though it does take a long time to get there.
Nera (21 mins): Nera (Nicole Beharie) is about to become a mother, inside, but outside, it’s a blizzard, and she’s in a house that feels like it’s been furnished in the 1950s.
The premise for this episode said she realises there’s something unusual about her son, but he’s growing up rather too quickly. He’s only just been born, and already has turned two years old… Plus, why is the radio repeating the same song?
This episode, with the shortest rnning time of ust 21 minutes, could’ve done with longer to develop the story, since it gave us some intrigue, and then just fizzled out without following it through.
Stuart (32 mins): is the final episode and sees Otto (Dan Stevens) has arriving to visit Stuart (Morgan Freeman), even though these individuals (as ‘solos’) are meant to live on their own.
He gives Stuart an injection which is synchronised with himself – since the man isn’t quite feeling himself, and we learn he’s been given some stem cells in order to help cure his Alzheimer’s Disease.
But what connection does Dan have with him? There is a definitive reason, but it’ll sneak up on you. At least with 32 minutes, it gives the brief story room to breathe.
Overall, this episode is a very heartfelt one for reasons you will discover, but I’m glad the series ended on a better episode after a few not-so-good ones.
Solos is similar in a way to Apple TV+’s Calls, except this in the flesh. Either way, it’s another example of how to make a decent piece of entertainment while in a lockdown situation. I’d certainly look forward to a second series of this.
Solos streams today on Amazon Prime, but is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. All episodes are available on demand from today.
Directors: David Weil (Tom, Jenny, Sasha), Sam Taylor-Johnson (Peg, Stuart), Zach Braff (Leah), Tiffany Johnson (Nera)
Producer: Pixie Wespiser
Creator: David Weil
Writers: David Weil, Tori Sampson, Bekka Bowling, Stacy Osei-Kuffour
Music: Martin Phipps, Patrick Jonsson
Tom: Anthony Mackie
Peg: Helen Mirren
Tym (Peg’s spaceship computer): Dan Stevens
Leah: Anne Hathaway
Sasha: Uzo Aduba
Zen (Sasha): Jack Quaid
Jenny: Constance Wu
Workers (Jenny): Chris Diamantopoulos, James Monrow Iglehart
Nera: Nicole Beharie
Stuart: Morgan Freeman
Otto (Stuart): Dan Stevens
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.