ORBzine - The Feed TV Review

The Feed

Season 1

The Feed The Feed [Season 1, Episode 1]
Shown 16th September 2019 [Monday]

This is set in a world where everyone has a brain implant which allows them direct access to the Internet. Much like the show Humans , this Earth-shattering piece of tech has not really affected society. Everything is recognisably the same old middle-class England, where there have been no real knock-on effects despite the many new industries that must be involved in the creation of such super-tech.

The protagonist is the son of David Thewlis ( Dragonheart (1996) ) and Michelle Fairley , the brains behind the brain implants. He gets called in when certain incidents occur.

It turns out that someone can hack the supposedly unhackable feed.

The Feed The Feed [Season 1, Episode 2]
Shown 23rd September 2019 [Monday]

The protagonist's wife suspects someone tapped into her live-feed. Her suspect is her father-in-law (David Thewlis - Dragonheart (1996) ), so she investigates him behind his back.

The protagonist visits the secure mental health facility where the suspects of the two incidents are held. Unfortunately the place is not as secure as it ought to be.

The Feed The Feed [Season 1, Episode 3]
Shown 30th September 2019 [Monday]

The protagonist, his wife and child go to a digital detox retreat. This is in an old country house, where the inhabitants spend the time target-shooting. Most of them use shotguns, except for the token black guy who prefers a bow and arrow.

Michelle Fairley goes to the Third World, in an attempt to sell the tech to the President (Art Malik - The Living Daylights ). Unfortunately the locals are revolting.

The Feed The Feed [Season 1, Episode 4]
Shown 7th October 2019 [Monday]

The investigators have a new subject to examine. He claims that he is no longer brainwashed, but they have no way of knowing if the hacker is still controlling him. The protagonist is assigned to conduct the investigation.

In the social climate of 2019, the year this was produced, we must examine the identity politics of the characters. Most of the white males are in interracial relationships. However, the token black guy is with a black woman, presumably because she reminds him of his mother. No doubt extremists will seek some deeper meaning in all this.

The protagonist's wife goes looking for an off-the-books doctor who can surgically extract her child's brain implant. To do this, she needs to make contact with radical anti-Feed activists known as The Resisters.

There is a new subplot about some new characters. A working-class black kid decides to hang around with some Resister types.

The Feed The Feed [Season 1, Episode 5]
Shown 14th October 2019 [Monday]

The protagonist's wife is probed by a doctor who can surgically extract her child's brain implant. Unfortunately there appear to be complications.

The audience now know who the leak is. One of the main staff has been compromised by malware in an app. The villains have also compromised one of the janitors. It turns out that, as with The Terminator (1984) , its presence can be detected by dogs.

Max, the token black guy, is allowed to go home. But has he been cleansed of all hacker influence?

The working class black kid discovers that his socialising has consequences. His Resister-affiliated friend has been arrested by the cops, who act as an enforcement arm of the Feed corporation.

The Feed The Feed [Season 1, Episode 6]
Shown 21st October 2019 [Monday]

David Thewlis ( Dragonheart (1996) ) has been removed from power, and his wife ( Michelle Fairley ) is in charge now. However, the hackers send an assassin after him anyway.

The Feed The Feed [Season 1, Episode 7]
Shown 28th October 2019 [Monday]

The Resistance plan a break-in. They use special dispersal pattern camouflage which renders them invisible to CCTV cameras ... and to the security guards, whose brains (like everyone else's) are plugged into The Feed. Combined with non-lethal tasers this is quite effective. The next step is to hack the Feed via a secure terminal inside the HQ.

The real problem is that the Feed is plugged into everything. When they mess with it, they take out half the city's power grid. This means that the Hub's security, which keeps the brainwashed psychos under control,

The Feed The Feed [Season 1, Episode 8]
Shown 4th November 2019 [Monday]

It turns out that the sleazy white guy is not the only one to use Virtual Companion as a tool to act out his fantasies. The Afro-Carribean woman who does the actual work in the software firm also uses it, although she uses it to deal with her grief at losing her boyfriend. Of course, he is not entirely gone. His body was hijacked by the Takers, one of whom is walking around in it like a meat suit. And since the Takers escaped in the previous episode, guess where their first stop will be.

The good guys finally get their first clue as to where the Takers come from. Apparently there are stacks of them, disembodied minds waiting for the chance to occupy a living human host body. If this sounds familiar, it resembles To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer . Yes, it turns out that rather than do a good adaption of some classic literature the producers just decided to do a cheap rip-off version instead.

Just one question remains. Are the Takers aliens, ghosts, invaders from a parallel dimension or a botched science experiment gone wrong? In all fairness, they might in reality be all of the above. The storyline may be quickening in pace, but the real enemy is The Producers.

The Feed The Feed [Season 1, Episode 9]
Shown 11th November 2019 [Monday]

With the Pater Familias out of the way, the mother ( Michelle Fairley ) is now in charge. She flies off to her favourite Third World Country to seek asylum for the whole family. As a bargaining chip, she takes with her the patents for all the technology her corporation purchased so it could establish a monopoly. This illustrates exactly how the modern world has become similar to that of Cyberpunk 2020. Mega-Corporations, once a cliched threat in Dystopian fiction, are a real thing. Facebook, Amazon and Google are more than just websites. They are corporations that span the globe, and through their monopolistic behaviour they pose a great threat both to private commerce and to democracy in the free world.

Mama's plan is convoluted, to say the least. She offers a good deal to the President (Art Malik - The Living Daylights (1987) ), and she might be willing to go through with it. However, when she is alone with his sister she offers a second deal a treasonous rebellion. Is she making things up as she goes along, to play both ends against the middle, or is she genuinely intending to create a revolution? After all, she has no friends left elsewhere - and leaving one civil war just to start a new one is not a good plan.

Back in England, the Afro-Carribean people are in charge. Well, the political leader is an Africo-American woman but everyone else (outside the villainous main family) is Black British. The computer programmers, even the average people in the street. This makes about as much sense as everyone in London being from the Northern Ireland community. After all, they are about the same size compared to the UK population overall. And Michelle Fairley does not count - she is not using her Norn Iron accent here, she is speaking in received pronunciation.

The young black man, feeling guilty about getting his gal-pal arrested as a prank, gets himself handed in to the cops as a suspected Taker. The cops throw him in with the other suspects in the Hub, where the Corporation's private security guards patrol with 1990s-style G3 rifles. Apparently they have the legal right to use lethal force, yet another problem with Mega-Corporations coming to power. In a proper democracy it is one vote per citizen, but a corporation has one vote per share - and the rich have many more shares (and thus votes) than the poor.

Finally, the two brothers start to work together. This is great because it develops both their characters and it helps speed the plot along. Almost as if the previous half a dozen episodes were just filler, and this is beginning to tell the actual story. First they investigate their father's lab, and discover where the Takers came from. They even discover how many Takers there are - and there are a LOT more than anyone had previously expected.

Finally, the hero's wife is locked up in a cabin in the woods with her sister. One of them is a Taker, of course. Lots of emotional drama as well as slasher suspense. The local South Asian man drops by to be friendly. What is is life expectancy? After all, he is not a main hero so he is more likely a sacrificial lamb.

The Feed The Feed [Season 1, Episode 10]
Shown 18th November 2019 [Monday]

The creepy brother, like a cut-price :Loki from Thor: Ragnarok , has gone off with one of the Takers. They have the hero's baby, so the hero must give chase.

The all-black cast has a few more members. To start with, the cop who pulls over a certain speeding car.

The plot comes to a climax. It is not about the technology, it is about inter-personal conflict. Naturally this is a better sell to British audiences.





The Feed

The Feed The Feed [Season 1 , Episode 1 ]
Shown th October 2019 [Monday]

Reviewed in our special supplement The Feed

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