Tales from the Loop (2020) Drama Review: Persevere in love in the solitude


In front of batches of sci-fi dramas with magnificent scenes, ups and downs, and suspenseful brains, "Tales from the Loop" is an absolute alien.When other science fiction dramas were eager to shake off the burden in the pilot episode, creating a strong plot tension, "Ring of Story" chose a completely opposite direction. Its eight united episodes share the same world view, but tells 8 ordinary, trivial human stories with beautiful pictures slow enough to doze off.

When other sci-fi plays tried to be fascinating, it used a restraint enough to even express its unprecedented whimsy. Most of its eight episodes are cold, lonely, and emotional, but it can make you feel the emotion that is full and overflowing-whether it is the love of a lover , Family care, and even the emotional connection between detached species.

To be precise, "Tales from the Loop" is not a science fiction drama, but it is better than a science fiction drama. It is concealed under the setting of science fiction, and discusses friendship, family, love, responsibility and life in a straightforward way. Throughout the season, there is a simple reincarnation view of reincarnation, but instead of using the grand narrative of some common science fiction motifs, it takes a full 8 episodes and 400 minutes to drip through the stones.

In this world, the impossible becomes possible, triggering a series of fantasy, beautiful, and finally fall on some sad but satisfying viewers. You will find that in this world, although the laws of physics are broken by an indescribable existence, commendable love, protection and fulfilled virtues, there are still a group of people who persist in the loneliness that spans time and space.

The actual shooting location of "Tales from the Loop" is in the suburbs of Winnipeg, Canada, but the story is set in a small town called Mercer in Ohio, USA. It is a mysterious laboratory in the town that casts a layer of sci-fi on the story: the Mercer Center for Experimental Physics (MCEP), also known as the Loop by the locals.

MCEP is the largest employer in town, every inhabitant of the town not work here, is for people who work here to provide services - with MCEP founder Russ Willard (Russ Willard) words: Town Everyone on the way is related to the "ring" in some way. The story of "Tales from the Loop" is not the mysterious laboratory, but the story of the residents of the town after they are associated with it.


"Tales from the Loop" adopts the unit drama format commonly used in English dramas. In the episodes of the common unit drama format, the plots of the single episodes are usually independent of each other, or occasionally, as in "Black Mirror", the episode of this season and the episode of the previous season are in the same parallel world. In "The Story of the Ring", the same actor has always played the same role. A character is the protagonist in this episode and will become a supporting character in the next episode.

More cleverly, there are many explicit and implicit storylines in the episode. Although the plots between episodes and episodes are independent, they actually belong to a narrative context that is above the top, forming a subtle connection. And this may be the meaning of the sentence that Russ said at the beginning of the episode: a sudden robot appeared in the episode as a prop, it seems to have nothing to do with the direction of the plot, but at the end of the next episode, It was discovered that this entire episode was laid out for the origin of the robot, but it left a little suspense, and it was not complete, making the audience even more expecting that it will or will not appear in the subsequent episodes. The one is very happy or sad, but At least a happy ending.

The frequency of this connection in the film is not high, but it is wonderful every time. For example, in the third episode, the male and female protagonists walk in the forest. A line "I heard that time is slower in the woods" contrasts the ambiguity between the two, but the audience will only realize it when they see the final eighth episode The true meaning of this line. As another example, only those who watched the full play and observed carefully enough would find a hidden story line on a teacher in the only school in this town (I admit that I was not until the end of the play was revealed) Found this).

This clue across time and space echoes eight main stories that seem to be unrelated except for role sharing. Such echoes will always appear once or twice in each episode, teasing the audience ’s kind of psychological pleasure when the “both visual sense” triggers—especially for a small number of viewers, which is a noble and dedicated to their focus Extravagant rewards.

At the end of the show, we ca n’t understand what the “ring” is, but by observing the people in the town, how their lives change due to the existence of the “ring” —more importantly, even if this change occurs, their How concepts, emotions, relationships, beliefs, etc. are retained and adhered to—we try to understand the theme that the original creator wishes to express.

To say it is "love" is a bit cliché, but there is no more accurate and general word than "love". Love is the mother ’s commitment to the life of his son who disappeared in the woods, his brother ’s desire to reunite with his deaf sister, the mutual relief of the two exchanged bodies, the brother ’s bondage across species, and the incompetent father ’s efforts to his daughter. The protection of is the completion of the object of love, the understanding and acceptance of the limited life ...

From the stories in chapters and chapters, we continue to experience how this group of town dwellers whose fate has been completely changed by the "circle" how to stick to different forms of love in the solitude across time and space.


The screen of the play is largely icy. Even if the season is from winter to summer, even if the screen is cut from the deserted suburbs to the noisy streets and taverns, you still can't feel the vitality. This is the unique style of "Ring of Story".

This icy picture, and the background sound that is balanced in music and atmosphere without excessive special effects, serve a self-consistent narrative method with the theme: calmly telling the ordinary, trivial and warm one by one The little story conveyed some seemingly non-existent emotions with restraint. "The Story of the Ring" does not have a grand narrative, nor a stimulating and refreshing picture. Even the audience's interest in the "ring" is too lazy to seduce it-it only has the endless mountain and rain to come, but the drama tension Tension and release left the audience's heart.

A few more words about painting style. I do n’t have much accumulation in the art field, but I agree with Douban netizen Pablo Meng ’s evaluation: The style of the play has an Edward Hope-like solitude. This master painter is considered a member of the "Trash Can School" and is good at depicting the lonely contemporary urban and idyllic landscapes of the United States. This makes the picture of the character Loretta in the "Ring of the Rings" dragging the trash can several times, which seems to have become a hidden tribute.

As a type of literature, science fiction always has the same motifs as other literary works. For example, "The Matrix" is the "brain in the tank", that is, the physical and consciousness are independent; "Western World" is the awakening of consciousness of artificial intelligence and the innate fear of human beings for their own invention.

The main theme of "Tales from the Loop" hopes to return to human nature itself: when betrayed, can you uphold tolerance? When suffering makes you collapse, can you stick to your responsibility to protect your family? When the turbulent love is scorned, can you let it go? When life finally comes to an end and say goodbye to the one you love for the last time, can you accept it? When destiny makes a joke with you, can you let go?

Nathaniel Halpern, the lead creator, mentioned in an interview that most of today ’s science fiction dramas are filled with an anxiety, fear, and anger, a desolate sense of weariness, and what is missing is a human nature Technology) optimism and hope. At this point, "Ring of Things" may indeed not be a "qualified" science fiction work, because science fiction is not the dominant element in the play-human nature is.

In these stories written by Halpern, technology becomes a background. Even in such a different but normalized background, the protagonists of the story still live a peculiar life that is difficult to reproduce even in the real world. Their hobbies are still football, bird watching and photography; they invent and repair technology, but they have a cold (Naikāmya) sense of technology; "ring" changed their destiny, but did not change their humanity.


This is "Tales from the Loop" , a cold, simple, yet sweet, optimistic ethical drama hidden under the skin of a science fiction drama. It does not have a tense rhythm and ups and downs of plot, but it has full tension and straightforward narrative, beautiful pictures, trivial stories, restrained expressions, and real emotions. It doesn't have the final result of overjoy and sadness, but it is a work that will make you feel complete after reading, and regain confidence in yourself, the people around you, and the human life completely rewritten by technology.