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Inside Job

Entry updated 5 December 2022. Tagged: TV.

US animated tv series (2021-current). Taco Gucci, Jam Filled Entertainment, Netflix Animation. Created by Shion Takeuchi. Directors include Pete Michels, David Ochs and Vitaly Strokous. Writers include Chase Mitchell, Burke Scurfield and Shion Takeuchi. Voice cast includes Tisha Campbell, Lizzy Caplan, Chris Diamantopoulos, Clark Duke, Brett Gelman, Bobby Lee, John DiMaggio and Christian Slater. Eighteen episodes of around 30 minutes. Colour.

Most conspiracy theories are true (see Paranoia), created or covered up by Cognito, Inc: a company overseen by the Shadow Council, an ancient cabal which had found ruling the world (see Secret Masters) was not as easy as it used to be, and so decided to delegate.

One employee, genius Scientist Reagan Ridley (Caplan), is angered when made only co-head of her Department, along with Brett Hand (Duke), a young Washington yes-man whose "face is so generic it cannot be traced by satellites". Insecure but well-meaning, he possesses the social skills Reagan so conspicuously lacks. Their undisciplined team comprises Gigi Thompson (Campbell), in charge of media manipulation (see Media Landscape); Magic Myc (Gelman), a Telepathic tentacled mushroom who is the emissary of a Hive Mind based in the Earth's core; Dr Andre (Lee), a biochemist addicted to Drugs and Sex, and Glenn Dolphman (DiMaggio), a human/dolphin hybrid (see Genetic Engineering) in charge of military matters. Also prominent is Reagan's awful, manipulative father, Rand (Slater), the ex-CEO of Cognito, Inc: a bitter alcoholic who has been mooching off his daughter since his sacking, all the while plotting his return.

When the Robot President ROBOTUS (Diamantopoulos) gains sentience (see AI) and patriotically decides to box off the US from the rest of the world, Reagan and Brett work together to defeat it ... however, Reagan keeps the head and torso alive in a glass tube for study, despite ROBOTUS's expressed desire to destroy humanity if it escapes. Other stories involve Clones of dead celebrities; reptiloids; the Hollow Earth; James Bond (see Ian Fleming); and Buzz Aldrin ruling a Moon civilization and attempting to take the Moon out of its Earth orbit. Also, Atlantis and Cthulhu (see Cthulhu Mythos) are real but the Flat Earth is not. Films such as Akira (1988), The Thing (1982), Carrie (1976) and Men in Black (1997) are referenced. The first season ends with Reagan briefly made CEO of Cognito, Inc and planning to improve the world – her Ethics bot now declaring the company "51% not evil" – until the Shadow Board decides to postpone the promotion and put her father in charge. As Reagan has just explored her own mind via Dream Hacking to discover that Rand performed a Memory Edit on her as a child, she is not best pleased.

The second season continued the good work of the first. It is discovered that Rand once tried to invent a Time Machine, which instead is able to alter the world's timeline (see Alternate History); so he named it Project Reboot. He now uses it to find a version of the world where his wife never left him. Donning tinfoil hats, which prevent their memories being altered, Reagan and her team pursue him. Reagan falls in love and has to choose between her boyfriend or being sole head of Cognito Inc, so she uses Project Reboot to see his futures: the only one where he is happy is with another woman, so she erases his memory of herself. Meanwhile, it turns out that the Shadow Board is planning something.

The show's main flaw is its supporting characters, most of whom tend to be one-note, though there is some improvement by the end of the first season. Fortunately Reagan is a memorable lead, deeply flawed but likeable; whilst the Humour is strong, and includes much Satire. This is a very good series, one of whose Executive Producers is Alex Hirsch, creator of Gravity Falls (2012-2016). [SP]


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