When T’Nia Miller was a child, she was faced with an unsettling albeit intriguing thought: “What about if we just are in a box in a laboratory somewhere?” she tells STYLECASTER, recalling her father saying. “You know, we could just be ants in a box.” Miller’s father is certainly not the first, nor will he be the last, human to question the nature of human existence.
To take a more modern approach, the creators of Rick and Morty Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland suggest there are infinite realities with infinite versions of ourselves, thus our reality as we know it doesn’t matter. There’s a point to all of this. The reason we’re talking about existentialism is that it’s a theme explored in Prime Video’s sci-fi thriller, The Peripheral in which Miller (The Haunting of Bly Manor, Foundation) stars. Much like William Gibson’s 2014 dystopian novel of the same name, the show is a cautionary tale about human existence and its increasingly complicated relationship with technology.
The Peripheral is set in 2032. Because it depicts civilization a mere 10 years away, the themes presented in the series hit particularly close to home in relation to how humans interact with technological advancements. Miller stars alongside Chloë Grace Moretz, who plays the central character Flynne Fisher. Struggling to pay for her mother’s mounting medical bills, Flynne plays virtual reality video games on behalf of wealthy clients who pay her to level-up their character, using an avatar she and her brother Burton (Jack Reynor) share (this kind of thing already exists for online games like World of Warcraft; it’s called paid level boosting).