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Silo and The Mission
A new sci-fi series from Apple, and old music from the U.K.
Guest Post at Moviewise
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Apple TV+ released1 the first two episodes of Silo last Friday. Silo is based on the book series of the same name, a post-apocalyptic science fiction series following a group of humans struggling to survive inside a massive underground silo. They've been there for over 100 years, but they don't know who built the silo and why they need to stay inside it. Post-apocalyptic stories are all the rage, but the mystery at the center of this story makes for compelling reading and TV.
Superhero fatigue is a thing, and I’ve been worried that when the heads of the movie studios and streaming services finally show the capes the door, they’d toss out science fiction, too. Silo is a good sign that they understand the difference.
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The Silo book series is a self-publishing success story. Hugh Howey published the first entry on Kindle in 2011 and within a few years sold film and print rights while retaining ownership.
The first two TV episodes are very promising. AppleTV+ sticks to a lower volume/higher production value strategy, and it shows. Rather than releasing a 10-hour movie one hour at a time, Silo has an episodic structure, not unlike the short stories that launched the literary series. It makes the show very watchable, and helps fuel the mystery behind the eponymous structure.
When I discuss AppleTV+ with people, they tend to be confused. So, I'll clear this up: you don't have to buy Apple hardware to watch AppleTV+. It works on nearly any device you can stream on. It's a great service, and so far Silo, Pachinko, Severance, and For All Mankind alone make it worth the cost.
What I'm Hearing
It was only a matter of time before Echo and the Bunnymen led me, by way of The Sisters of Mercy and The Cult, to a week of The Mission or, The Mission UK over here in the U.S. (Having two bands with the same name is nearly as confusing as a streaming service named like a device.)
I picked up a copy of The First Chapter somewhere in Germany, probably in a German music store since it has The Mission sans UK on the cover. I don't remember if I bought the disc because of hearing a track on the radio or completely at random. I amassed a collection of over 1000 CDs by the time I switched to hard-drive based music, so "at random" is a distinct possibility.
The Mission and their gothic rock ilk are an acquired taste, and not everyone likes them. But, I was a fan of Joy Division from the first moment I heard Disorder, am always ready to listen to a little Bauhaus.
Gothic rock has its place, though. It's not a coincidence that The Cult's Ian Astbury fronted Manzarek's The Doors of the 21st Century: The Doors were the best gothic band there ever was, and they’ve got a few fans.
I loved this strange album with the boring cover. I'm a huge Neil Young fan and Mission's cover of Like a Hurricane couldn't sound more different if they recorded it with a Tralfamadorian backup band. It's gothic Neil Young. I played the album a few dozen times driving to and from our apartment and the Army base and set it aside, probably for Marillion's Clutching at Straws (but that's another story) and forgot about The Mission.
Fast forward to 1990 or early '91. I was repairing industrial controllers for a small family-owned business in Fairfield. NJ, and found a supplier for transistors a half hour or so drive from the office. On the way to restocking my supplies, I’d pass an independent CD store that sold imports and other albums the big stores didn't carry. I was in a habit of stopping there to look for releases from bands like Marillion and Klaus Lage Band.
I never found any Klaus Lage, and the Marillion albums were... different, but I eventually found several Mission discs, including a new favorite: Children. It has their biggest hit, Tower of Strength, and was produced by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones.
As gothic tunes go, Tower is up there:
You rescue me, you are my faith, my hope, my liberty
And when there's darkness all around
You shine bright for me, you are the guiding light
For years, I assumed it was a love song. But it turns out to be a message to the band's most devoted fans!
See you next week.
They dropped them. The verb released has been replaced one that means "to fall vertically" because we hate our language.