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Calls is a visionary new series from Apple TV+ that premiered in 2021. The show is created by Fede Alvarez, known for his work in the horror genre with films like "Evil Dead" and "Don't Breathe". But this isn't your traditional televised series. In fact, Calls creates a whole new concept of multimedia storytelling, blurring the boundaries between television, film, and podcast. Calls takes an innovative approach in using minimal visuals and primarily audio to drive the drama in each episode. This groundbreaking series harnesses the power of audio and abstract visuals to create a deeply engrossing, suspenseful narrative, more similar to a podcast with a visual component than what audiences typically expect from a television show.

The series offers nine engrossing episodes that vary in narrative structure and length, each one visually represented through minimalistic graphics and text on screen. Despite its unconventional format, Calls boasts a star-studded cast that includes the likes of Rosario Dawson, Pedro Pascal, Mark Duplass, Lily Collins, and Nick Jonas, among others. Each episode features one or more of these lauded actors, their voices carrying viewers through each unique story.

Calls is a science fiction, thriller, and drama series that manages to depict human fears, tackle existentialism, and encapsulate the uncertainty and frailty of the human condition. Each installment introduces a new storyline built around a phone call or a series of calls, which plunge into increasingly eerie and inexplicable situations that lean heavily into the realm of science fiction and horror. These seemingly mundane conversations gradually reveal their strange, disturbing, and sometimes horrifying circumstances, leading to unexpected twists and chilling outcomes.

Despite its seeming simplicity, the show successfully crafts a sense of urgency, suspense and terror using only dialogue and abstract visuals, an evidence of Fede Alvarez's extraordinary ability to build tension. Viewers are pulled into a world of sound, where every sigh, breathing pattern, or pause resonates with questions and hints, effectively keeping audiences engaged. The creators use this to great effect, substitifying viewers as unseen spectators to unsettling events, or even as proxy participants in high-stakes scenarios.

Visually, Calls relies on dynamic and abstract graphics that correspond with the unfolding narratives, creating a unique sensory experience. The graphics are not used to depict literal actions, but instead serve as a sort of visual representation of the conversation. Oscillating lines and spiralling patterns correspond with the audio in a mesmerizing dance, inducing an almost auditory-visual synesthesia. In this aspect, the show does an excellent job of translating audio information into intricate, abstract images, captivating the viewer and serving as a guide through the auditory landscapes of its intricate plot threads.

Calls falls into an intriguing middle ground between cinema and radio, podcasts and television. The human voice is the predominant tool ingeniously used to construct nine powerful episodes that craft an ongoing sense of unease, tension and mystery. This stripped-down approach to storytelling might be initially jarring for viewers accustomed to traditional television formats, however, as episodes progress, they build a strong sense of narrative intrigue, utilizing mystery and the human imagination to fill in the gaps left by the lack of physical visuals.

Overall, Calls demands a concentration and close listening rare in television. It plays with the concept of how stories can be told, experimenting with the back-and-forth nature of plot development. In an age where we are saturated with visual content and high-end CGI, Calls is a breath of fresh air, delivering a series that is refreshingly different, yet impressively engaging. By combining exceptional voice acting, gripping narratives, and an innovative use of sound and abstract visuals, it has created a unique and fascinating viewing experience, that is sure to leave an impact long after the last call has ended.

Calls is a series categorized as a new series. Spanning 1 seasons with a total of 9 episodes, the show debuted on 2021. The series has earned a moderate reviews from both critics and viewers. The IMDb score stands at 7.7.

Apple TV+
Aubrey Plaza, Clancy Brown, Nika Futterman
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