Binge-worthy: New series The Peripheral gives sci-fi fans plenty to chew on

Chloe Grace Moretz stars in The Peripheral. PHOTO: AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

The Peripheral

Premiering on Amazon Prime Video on Friday

4 stars

Produced by the same folks who made the science-fiction smash series Westworld (2016 to present), The Peripheral is based on the 2014 novel of the same name by the ever-prescient William Gibson, whose musings on cyberspace, artificial intelligence and other technologies often predict the real thing.

Starring Chloe Grace Moretz as a young woman who gets more than she bargains for after playing a hyper-realistic simulation game, the show explores the tantalising possibilities of inhabiting a body other than your own – and other juicy concepts.

Here are three reasons to stream it:

1. Escapist thrills

Flynne Fisher (Moretz) feels trapped in her small North Carolina town.

Her dead-end job barely covers her mother’s medical bills, so she occasionally helps brother Burton (Jack Reynor) play video games for money – and somewhat reluctantly, even though she excels at it.

When she takes over his avatar to test a cutting-edge virtual-reality headset for a secretive company, it plunges her into an action-adventure simulation like no other – thrilling, sexy and violent, and set in a futuristic London that feels uncannily real.

2. Meaty ideas to chew on

Flynne is hooked – and so is the viewer – during her first heart-pounding London foray, which will appeal to gamers and James Bond fans alike.

But things take a turn for the strange when she logs out, and she and Burton soon find themselves in grave danger.

Like the best science fiction, The Peripheral can be enjoyed simply as an action adventure, but then you would miss out on its many intellectual pleasures, such as pondering the ethics of having multiple selves.

No one does near-future crystal ball-gazing quite like Gibson, so there are plenty of meaty technological what-ifs to sink one’s teeth into.

3. Beautifully moody

London never looked so beautiful – the show was shot on location but overlaid with haunting special effects.

And for all its big ideas, The Peripheral is adept at lingering on smaller moments filled with tension, existential dread or a surprising human connection.

Remote video URL

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.