Severance reflects the modern office as a toxic hellscape

Once the television workplace was sacred but, as Severance shows, our long and storied TV romance with offices is officially dead.

Television workplaces were once an escape. If they weren’t full of crazy co-workers constantly bouncing jokes off each other, they were hotbeds of drama where teamwork was the name of the game. Idealised maybe; they were definitely the kinds of places you’d want to spend eight hours in – or just half an hour watching.

Now one of the most talked-about series on television is Severance (now available on Apple TV+) a drama based on the idea that going to work is so awful people will agree to actual brain surgery to ensure they remember nothing about it. The TV workplace is still an escape, only now it’s the characters on-screen who want to leave their lives behind and it’s turned their office into a nightmare.

Unlock Padlock Icon

Unlock this content?

Access this content and more

Anthony Morris is a freelance film and television writer. He’s been a regular contributor to The Big Issue, Empire Magazine, Junkee, Broadsheet, The Wheeler Centre and Forte Magazine, where he’s currently the film editor. Other publications he’s contributed to include Vice, The Vine, Kill Your Darlings (where he was their online film columnist), The Lifted Brow, Urban Walkabout and Spook Magazine. He’s the co-author of hit romantic comedy novel The Hot Guy, and he’s also written some short stories he’d rather you didn’t mention. You can follow him on Twitter @morrbeat and read some of his reviews on the blog It’s Better in the Dark.