Pantheon is AMC+’s new animated science fiction series. Created by Craig Silverstein and starring voice actors Katie Chang, Paul Dano, Rosemarie DeWitt and Aaron Eckhart, the show centralizes on the frightening idea of uploaded intelligence (UI). Set in a dystopian world not too distant from our own, Pantheon is a technological thriller that tackles one of life’s most unanswerable questions : what if you could live forever?

The Plot

Maddie Kim (Chang) is a teenager who grieves her late father, David (Daniel Dae Kim), and is the target of high school cyberbullying. After a rough day at school, she logs onto her computer and an instant message from an unknown source pops up. The emoji-filled conversation drags Maddie down a rabbit hole she can’t crawl out. And it doesn’t take long for Maddy’s overprotective mother, Ellen (DeWitt), to discover the chat and jump to her own suspicions.

Ellen gives Maddie's bully a piece of her mind.

Ellen’s worries are not ones a typical mother may have; she believes the anonymous source in the chat is David. She calls Logorhythms – the tech company David worked at – demanding to know where her husband is and what they’ve done to him. Unbeknownst to Ellen, Maddie hears the entire conversation and takes to public web forums to find answers.

Enter Caspian (Dano), a friendly, goth recluse who lives and breathes the internet. Caspian has his own struggles at home; his parents (Eckhart and Taylor Schilling) play the roles of “abusive father/abused mother” as a cover for their work as secret agents for Logorhythms.

Caspian in a tense dinner with his parents

While his parents are up to their own games, Caspian is clearly lonely and depressed. He retreats to his computer whenever possible to escape the traumas of daily life. One night, while scrolling through the internet on multiple monitors and listening to electro-pop music, he finds Maddie’s post on a forum. She claims Logorhythm faked her father’s death and is hiding something. His interested is piqued; he private messages her and the two begin a strange, digital partnership.

The Style

The first thing that sticks out about Pantheon is it’s gorgeous appearance. The illustrations have white highlights mixed with primary colors, creating an aura of otherworldliness. The artwork feels like a living comic book dream. The animation style share similar components to those in a traditional anime; slow pan-over shots during dramatic scenes, protagonistic narration, angled shots. All of this combined with the music, talented voice acting and immersive storytelling creates a one-of-a-kind viewing experience few.

David, Maddie's dad, receiving chemotherapy

The Verdict

Pantheon‘s first episode is absolutely gripping. Uploaded intelligence has been a reoccurring theme in science fiction for as long as digital media has existed. (E.g. “The Infinite Brain” by John C. Campbell, Neuromancer by William Gibson, and even modern television series like Westworld and Made for Love).

However, technology is so volatile, especially in the 21st century, that there is a smorgasbord of ways to depict digital consciousness in both the living and the dead. The show is complex and well written. It demonstrates faith in the audience. Episode 1 has left me with a lot of unanswered questions, and I can’t wait to watch more and see how Pantheon answers them.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Check out the other shows we’re watching here at Haunted MTL.

About the Author

CourtCourt is a writer, horror enthusiast, and may or may not be your favorite human-eating houseplant.

View Articles