between virtual and reality, from one future to another


You have to watch the first episodes of this doubly dystopian series to get the definition of the word “peripheral” of the title. Here, the term designates neither a bypass nor a printer, but a way of being in the world that allows you to slip from one era to another, which places Peripheral devices. Flynne’s Worlds in the category of cerebral sci-fi series. It is also produced by the duo Lisa Joy-Jonathan Nolan, who is at the origin of Westworlda series that has reached, over the seasons, a level of complexity capable of inducing migraines in the user.

Maybe because Peripheral devices finds its source in a novel by William Gibson, pioneer of cyberpunk, it unfolds a clearer, and ultimately more seductive story, which begins in a future as close as possible. In 2032, Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz) lives in a small town in North Carolina, between her mother, suffering from cancer, and her brother Burton (Jack Reynor), who served in the haptic commandos (here, the term refers to a technology that allows members of a military unit to share their sensory perceptions) of the US Marine Corps.

Flynne works in a small local business, Burton earns his living trying out new games, a virtual reality headset on his head. The summary and effective description of the daily evokes the collision between a certain independent American cinema (Winter’s Bone, of Debra Granik, for example, which once revealed Jennifer Lawrence) and the universe of Ready Player Oneby Steven Spielberg.

Relationship with the world of video games

Which wouldn’t be so bad. The sticky atmosphere of a small southern community fallen under the thumb of a mafia is torn with attacks of violence effectively staged, the characters struggle to tear themselves away from a world that makes less and less room for them. . Soon, the story offers them a way out whose attraction is as irresistible as that of a black hole. A new virtual reality device allows Flynne to move through London in the year 2099, in a transfigured city (the designers of the digital sets have indulged in their wildest architectural fantasies) and almost emptied of its inhabitants.

We guessed it, our heroine does not move in a game but in a possible future, generated by a series of disasters. Scott Smith, the showrunner of Peripheral devices, plays on the contrast between the sordid violence that governs the daily life of Flynne and Burton Fisher and the power games that oppose the ultra-rich of a not so distant future. The scenario and the staging do not deny their kinship with the world of video games. In Appalachia and on the banks of the Thames, the characters must overcome trials, face seemingly invincible adversaries and level up.

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