Silo - Photo Apple TV+
Silo – Photo Apple TV+

If you enjoy sci-fi thrillers, stream 10 episodes of the first season of “Silo” on Apple TV+.  Based on a series of dystopian novels by Hugh Howey, it revolves around the inhabitants of a 144-story subterranean bunker built to shelter 10,000 people after an apocalyptic event left Earth uninhabitable.

Designed with a huge spiral staircase in its center and no elevator, living space in the Silo is strictly stratified. Those in authority and the elite occupy the top floors; the white-collar labor force is in the middle; and the blue-collar mechanical workers are down below.

There’s very little upward mobility since the Founders left a manual called “The Pact” that dictates rules which are administered by Mayor Ruth Jahns (Geraldine James), going into the 40th year of her tenure, and enforced by highly respected Sheriff Holston Becker (David Oyelowo) and Deputy Marnes (Will Patton).

Yet the crux of power seems to lie within the I.T. department, headed by soft-spoken Bernard Holland (Tim Robbins) and his Judicial Enforcers, led by smirking Robert Sims (Common). The ultimate form of punishment is banishment because nobody who has ever left the Silo has been able to survive in the toxic wasteland.

Adapted by showrunner Graham Yost, the storyline revolves around Juliette ‘Jules’ Nichols (Rebecca Ferguson), an outspoken mechanical engineer who is inadvertently thrust into the limelight. Ferguson (“Mission Impossible, “Dune”) is compelling and her job – maintaining the massive generator – is one of the most essential.

Contributing to the mystery of memory, identity and survival are persuasive supporting players like Harriet Walters’s Martha Walker, Rashida Jones’ Allison Becker, Avi Nash’s Lukas Kyle, Patrick Kennedy’s Rick Gomez, and Chinaza Uche’s Paul Billings. 

The second season was in production in England until the Writers’/SAG-AFTRA strike shut down the set, yet Rebecca Ferguson hinted that it may reveal what happened hundreds of years earlier – before humanity was forced underground.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, “Silo” is a thought-provoking 8, streaming on Apple TV+.

If you’ve been intrigued by Sarah Snook as sly Shiv Roy on HBO’s “Succession,” you may find it interesting to see how she tackles a very different role in the Australian psychological thriller “Run Rabbit Run.”

She plays Sarah, a fertility doctor, raising her daughter Mia (Lily LaTorre) as a single mother in suburban Melbourne. Ever since her seventh birthday when she ‘rescued’ a white rabbit, precocious Mia seems to be acting strangely and attentive Sarah cannot figure out why there’s been such a change in her behavior.

Is it because Mia’s father – Sarah’s ex-husband Peter (Damon Harriman) – and his new wife Denise (Naomi Rukavina) are expecting a baby? Or is Mia being bullied at school? And why is Mia, donning a makeshift rabbit mask, suddenly demanding to see Joan (Greta Scacchi), Sarah’s mother from whom she’s long been estranged.

Reluctantly, Sarah takes Mia to visit her grandmother, who suffers from dementia and lives in a nursing home. When Mia claims to ‘miss’ Joan, Sarah reminds her that she’s actually never met her grandmother, but Mia notes, “I miss people I’ve never met all the time.”

Although Joan greets Mia fondly, she calls her ‘Alice,’ the name of Sarah’s younger sister who mysteriously disappeared many years ago when she was Mia’s age. 

Then Mia begins to identify herself as lost-lost Alice, which Sarah finds extremely unnerving. Hoping to clarify family history for Mia, Sarah takes her to the rural, weather-beaten house in windswept Waikerie where she was raised, but that only serves to ensure Mia’s ominous obsession with Alice.

“You’re a terrible person!” Mia screams at distraught Sarah whose mental health is rapidly crumbling as repressed traumas from the past resurface.

Screenwriter Hannah Kent, director Daina Reid and cinematographer Bonnie Elliott have cobbled together an eerie, minimalist glimpse into guilt and motherhood, never quite developing Sarah’s conflicted character and backstory enough to emotionally engage the audience.

And, finally, the creepy, ambiguous symbolism of the white rabbit is far too vague to sustain any aspect of horror.

On the Granger Gauge, “Run Rabbit Run” is a fearful, frustrating 5, streaming on Netflix.

Westport resident Susan Granger grew up in Hollywood, studied journalism with Pierre Salinger at Mills College, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. In addition to writing for newspapers and magazines, she has been on radio/television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic for many years. See all her reviews at www.susangranger.com.