‘Solos’ is one of many television productions motivated by the global pandemic. As for example it was ‘Talking Heads’ last year, of which it could well be a North American response seasoned with a fantastic touch to ‘The Twilight Zone’ that never misses when in short, we talk about a series of independent stories related in principle only in a thematic way. Stories, or in this case rather monologues. Six in all, plus an epilogue half shared by Morgan Freeman and Dan Stevens. All of them between 20 and 30 minutes long, ideal to cover one of those afternoons in which we think about life and blah blah blah.
As might be expected, ‘Solos’ is a work that tries to reach emotion through the insistent use of the word. And of course, an irregular and unstable work, both in terms of the different episodes and within them, combining fascinating and truly intense moments with others in which it can be easy for us to disconnect. Without solution of continuity and almost without realizing it. Nor is it anything strange or something that does not happen on the tables. Because beyond the Ikea-like paraphernalia that surrounds each protagonist, it is still something like that for some to understand, every time Phoebe Waller-Bridge looks at the camera in ‘Fleabag’.
But without looking at the camera. ‘Solos’ is a series of fantastic cut only in appearance, a resource that serves as an adequate and timely reflection of the inner world of each character so that its interpreters enjoy the type of project that an interpreter undoubtedly enjoys the most: The one where the 90% of success resides in your work. Above any text, whether genuine or imposed, whether it is more or less artificial as is the case: It has always been said that there are interpreters capable of capturing our attention for 90 minutes by reading the telephone book. No more. And in ‘Solos’ we have the intensity of Anne Hathaway, the emotionality of Constance Wu or the restraint of Helen Mirren.
In this case, for no more than 30 minutes, as we said, they work in a somewhat uneven and intermittent way where not all the interpreters shine the same nor everything is equally convincing. If it ends up being important, which in reality not much: As a whole, ‘Solos’ prevails due to the balance of its various ingredients (if we accept the use of science fiction as a means and not as an end) and the tight duration of all its episodes. Because of its ability to evoke, even if only for moments, those in which we succeed and / or are allowed to overcome the barrier of a predefined model and see beyond an interpreter basking in his own interpretation.
The latter is especially blatant in the episode starring Uzo Aduba, which together with Nicole Beharie has more of a fantastic anthology like ‘The Twilight Zone’ than a monologue written by Alan Bennet. Also, more of artifice in the background welcome, being at the same time the two episodes that best evade the sober and minimalist hieraticism of the other five remaining. However, it should be noted that this miniseries never intends to emulate the steps of the aforementioned ‘The Twilight Zone’ (or its descendants), being that its approach to science fiction is an interested subterfuge on which to develop more comfortably his monologues.
‘Solos’ would come to be a cross between ‘Talking Heads’ and the wonderful ‘Calls’ of a more existential nature that, like those, tries to find the meaning of life between the lines. Try, or pretend to try, being that each one will be the one who will have to elucidate how much there is truth, and how much there is on the front. How much of character and how much of interpreter, being that here the ornamentation has been reduced to just enough to feed this doubt. In that sense, ‘Solos’ is a stimulating work that through its seven subtly related stories, or monologues, builds a derivative narrative that works by the weight of our own doubts about our surroundings, life and blah blah blah .