Beyond the escapist adventure that viewers will be pulled into, The Peripheral has at its core the relationship between Flynne and her brother, a bond that Smith says was assisted by a similar closeness between the actors on set. “Chloë and Jack, the two actors that we got for the roles, felt like siblings as they were filming,” he says. “They became really close, and I think that comes through in their performance. You feel like they’re brother and sister and that there’s this lifelong love between them.”
Plageman agrees that the family relationships in the show are what viewers will latch onto first. “You want the audience to care about something, and you definitely care about this relationship. In the same way, you care about the relationship with their mother, which I think is integral to the show,” he says. “A great access point for Flynne Fisher is that you immediately identify with all the aspects of her life… her circumstances and her father being gone, her mother being terminally ill, and all these things.”
The deeper lore involves Flynne’s side job participating in VR games for wealthy people, which leads her to the titular peripheral, a headset that connects her to a world across the Atlantic that’s unlike any game she’s played. “The Peripheral is referencing how Flynne Fisher’s character can access this future London world,” says Plageman. “What’s great about this is, given Flynne’s circumstances, having the ability to access another world opens up this almost Cinderella aspect to the show.”
The fairy tale nature of escaping the small southern town of Clanton to the big city provided an opportunity to create a visual contrast between realities. “We worried sometimes about transitions between the worlds like, oh, do we need to make that more a story point?” says Plageman. “And then even as I’m looking at the color, there’s a warmth to Clanton. It’s almost got this sun-kissed glow about it. And then future London is a little bit more blue and cyan and that kind of thing. You can really tell the difference between the cosmopolitan and the rural here.”
Whether viewers come to this show as fans of science fiction, puzzle box mysteries, or family drama, The Peripheral has it all. “There’s something in here for a lot of different demographics in terms of its sci-fi appeal, in terms of the gamer aspect of the show,” says Plageman. “Obviously, Chloë and Jack bring their own fans… and speculation about what could happen between now and then in future London. So many things evolved so quickly in the world these past few years; it was a little startling. There is a relevance to the show that I think you’re going to find that is underneath a little bit harrowing.”
The Peripheral premieres on Prime Video October 21st.