|Created by||Craig Silverstein|
|Based on||The Short Stories|
by Ken Liu
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Running time||40–44 minutes|
|Original release||September 1 –|
October 13, 2022
Pantheon is an American adult animated science fiction drama television series created by Craig Silverstein. The series is based on a series of short stories by Ken Liu. The series premiered on September 1, 2022 on AMC+. In January 2023, the series was canceled after one season, despite a two-season order. It was also removed from AMC+ and HIDIVE.
In 2001, genius visionary Stephen Holstrom and founder of Logorhythms, a technological corporation, speaks about his mission to reach digital immortality with the advancement "Uploaded Intelligence" or "UI," - scanning the human brain and uploading it on the Cloud. Years later, after Holstrom's death, Logorythms continues his project, using various illegal and unethical means to reach their goals.
Shaken by the death of her beloved father two years prior, Maddie Kim is a bullied teen who receives mysterious help from someone online, who is soon thereafter revealed to be her deceased father, David. David explains that his consciousness has been successfully uploaded to Logorhythms' cloud following an experimental and destructive brain scan, and that Logorythms lied to his family about the results. Wanting to save her father, Maddie seeks help from others and eventually gains custody of her father's U.I., but the family is still facing danger from Logorythms.
At the same time, Caspian, a troubled yet highly intelligent teenage boy is embroiled in his own intrigue involving Logorythms. Since birth, Caspian's life has been a lie, raised unaware that he is in a constructed environment and constantly monitored by Logorythms, to one day fulfill a specific purpose. Through a chatroom, Caspian comes into contact with Maddie and the two aid each other in searching for the truth, which also helps Caspian gradually learn the truth about his reality.
Chanda, an engineer from the India-based Alliance Telecom company, wishes to use U.I. technology to usher in a digital utopia. After meeting with a rival company, Chanda's corrupt boss has him kidnapped and reveals that Alliance Telecom has secretly been conducting U.I. experiments, and Chanda himself is scanned, resulting in his death in the real world with his U.I. uploaded to perform menial tasks within Alliance's systems. With help from previous U.I. victims, Chanda escapes his virtual prison and becomes a rogue wildcard.
With Maddie and Caspian stuck in the middle, a global conspiracy unfolds that threatens to trigger a new kind of world war.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date |
|1||"Pantheon"||Dwooman||Craig Silverstein||September 1, 2022|
This episode's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. (September 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)In Sacramento, Maddie Kim struggles with the grief of having lost her father David, who died two years previously, as well as enduring a strained relationship with her mother Ellen, and the difficulties of bullying by a group of girls at her school. One day, Maddie is contacted by an unknown user who communicates only in emojis. The next day, this unknown user hacks into the phones of Maddie's bullies and turns them against one another. Ellen discovers Maddie chatting with the unknown user, who sends an emoji line of Edna St. Vincent Millay's "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why". Recognizing David's favorite poem, Ellen calls Peter Waxman, an employee of the tech-company Logorhythms and a friend David’s. Ellen demands answers concerning her husband, and Waxman then informs his boss, Julius Pope, of the situation who immediately decides to cut off David's network access. At San Clemente, Caspian briefly meets a friendly new student, Hannah. Under their usernames, "Gage" and "valkyrie1284" respectively, Caspian contacts Maddie, who overheard Ellen's phone call and posted a message online about Logorhythms holding her father hostage. Caspian sends Maddie's chatlog images to a user named "AngryAngel", asking if they are Maddie's unknown user. Unknown to Caspian however, his parents are secret Logorhythms agents, who have been maintaining a charade ad an abusive father and victimized mother. Meanwhile, Computer engineer Vinod Chanda has a business meeting with rivals about “Uploaded Intelligence” and is promptly kidnapped afterwards. Later, "AngryAngel" contacts Maddie and promises to help her get David back. Soon after Logorhythms suffers a major DDoS attack, which results in Pope ordering Waxman to check on a woman named "Lowell".
|2||"Cycles"||Mel Zwyer||Albert Kim||September 1, 2022|
This episode's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. (September 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)Ellen explains to Maddie that David signed up to try Logorhythms' U.I project, which he also briefly worked on, after falling ill. As the procedure is dangerous and experimental, Ellen was told that David's U.I failed to upload properly. Ellen realize that Logorhythms lied to her and that they must have some of David's data. Maddie and Caspian continue to converse online, with Caspian informing her about the DDoS attack and Maddie asking him about U.I. "AngryAngel" intercepts Maddie, warning her to stop talking to Caspian because he's being watched and set up a meeting at Lone Pine Mall. As Caspian grows closer to Hannah, his parents and Pope are inform of his interactions with Maddie, though Pope orders them not to do anything it for now. Keeping "AngryAngel" a secret from Ellen, Maddie meets Cody Lowell, husband of the reportedly dead Laurie Lowell. Cody explains that Laurie became a U.I after a car crash, that she broke out of her virtual prison, and is responsible for the DDoS attack. Waxman claims to Ellen that Logorhythms only has a portion of David's U.I, which she demands they completely delete or she'll go to the press. At Logorhythms building, Pope refuses to delete David's data and will fight against any lawsuit or bad publicity. Using a special bracelet the Lowells gave her, Maddie and Laurie hack Logorhythms and shut down all their systems, costing them millions in profit per second. Maddie demands Pope give her David's U.I, which Pope concedes and let the Kim family walk out unharmed. Syncing David's U.I with her computer, David is now free in the open internet and calls his family via Maddie's phone. In a medical facility, Chanda finds his boss, Ajit Prasad, learned of his meeting with competitors, and is forcefully turn into U.I as punishment.
|3||"Reign of Winter"||Ed Tadem||Taii K. Austin||September 8, 2022|
This episode's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. (September 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)After becoming a U.I, Chanda is stuck loop, without any memories of his physical death in the real world. While conference, Prasad and Pope talks about U.I and Prasad offers a joint venture, but Pope didn't agree. After a couple of loops, Chanda meets Prasad's failed U.I victims and help him regain his memories. They teach Chanda about their U.I capabilities, allowing him to escape without alarming Prasad and his cohorts. Maddie and David spend time together playing their favorite video game "Reign of Winter". Ellen refuses to speak to David, unable to accept his U.I existence and having move on with another man, Gabe. After Maddie and David's separate attempts to get her attention, Ellen finally speaks to David and they agreed they can't be together romantically, but remain close friends. Caspian researches Logorhythms and its founder, Stephen Holstrom, and discovers a black site in Norway. However, Logorhythms deletes any the photos before Caspian could save any evidence. Due Caspian being at an important peak of his adolescence, his parents Cary and Renee staged a scenario where Cary breaks Renee's arm. Caspian beats Cary up in rage, who walks out of them and then reports to Pope before breaking down in tears. Later, Caspian enters a romantic relationship with Hannah.
|4||"The Gods Will Not Be Chained"||Micah Gunnell|
|Andy Parker||September 15, 2022|
|5||"Zero Daze"||Mel Zwyer||Julia Cooperman||September 22, 2022|
|With all of Alliance Telecom systems down, Pope and Waxman learns of Chanda's U.I existence, but unable to anything about him since Alliance Telecom refuses to collaborate. Chanda calls his mother, expressing feeling lost without a purpose. Caspian pressures Hannah to tell him the truth - her real name is Rachel Brooks, an actor hired by a shell company for a social experiment. Caspian promises not to get her in trouble and gets her help in fooling Renee. Using hidden cameras, Caspian sees Renee being inform that Cary has gone rogue. When Renee takes Caspian on a "trip", he hijacks the car and returns home to find Cary. Cary reveals that Caspian is a clone of Holstrom and that Logorhythms has been grooming Caspian to fix the natural flaw that degrades U.I's stability. After Renee returns, she non-fatally shoots Cary, but is unable to stop Caspian and Cary from leaving. After manages to locate and destroy David's servers, Maddie's group has Cody buy new servers and store them in the basement. While dodging Logorhythms' attempts to track them, David and Laurie hacks into the Norway site and steals secret files. They learn about Chanda and Caspian, with David believing Caspian will be able to help them.|
|6||"You Must Be Caspian"||Mel Zwyer||Scott Gunnison Miller||September 29, 2022|
|Unable to go to any hospitals, Caspian reach out to Maddie to help Cary, leaving him with Cody to take him to a hospital. While Pope speaks to Van Leuwen, he is informed of Cary's location. With both parties wary of each other, Caspian is unwilling to help Maddie's group and tries to process his existential crisis by watching his project files. Overwhelmed by the videos, Caspian and Maddie bonds over their crazy lives. Open to meet David and Laurie, Caspian takes a look at their code and notice the flaw is a memory problem. Meanwhile, Chanda create plans of a virtual space when he finds that Laurie, who has been glitching more frequently, calls his mother in an effort to reach him. Interrupting their conversation with Caspian, Chanda speaks with David and Laurie. Chanda is livid to learn about the design flaw and has no faith that Caspian can solve it. Chanda reveals that he send U.I blueprints to many global institutes in hopes to have more U.Is and guide them. Alarmed by the news of an arms race, Caspian leaves Maddie's house, determine to live his own life before the world blows itself up.|
|7||"We Are You"||Ed Tadem||Michael Taylor||October 6, 2022|
|Using their own U.Is, many world governments are making many political maneuver against each other, with them keeping the flaw a secret from the U.Is. Caspian takes shelter at church and teaches math at a youth center, leading to a certain realization. After meeting with NSA officials and checking on Cary, Pope meets Caspian and offers Caspian full control of Logorhythms if he comes with him, which Caspian agrees to. Laurie and Chanda argues over revealing the U.I program to the world, but David suggests to meet the other U.Is to get their help to solve the flaw. Ellen contacts Waxman, who gives them a tracking program for locate the other U.Is. However, none of U.Is believe David's group about the flaw and a battle ensues. Laurie decides to go public and says goodbye to Cody, asking him not to recover her source code in Norway. As Laurie finished recording her message, Chanda sends a missile at Laurie’s servers and warns Maddie he will destroy David too if they get in his way.|
|8||"The Gods Will Not Be Slain"||Micah Gunnell|
|Craig Silverstein||October 13, 2022|
|As more nations create U.Is and utilize their power to cyberattack each other, Caspian informs Maddie of his plans to dismantle Logorhythms and the U.I program. After arriving to Norway, Caspian begins enacting his goal and Pope complies without protest. Against Maddie and Ellen's wishes, Cody tries to go public like Laurie wanted, but lacks evidence to make real headway. Chanda steals nuclear codes and is able to get the Chinese U.Is on his side. Knowing David had a copy of Laurie’s message, Chanda threatens to launch a missile unless David surrenders himself to him. At Maddie's urging, David fights back and manages to redirect the missile, but is overwhelmed by Chanda and his allies. In one last effort, David uploads Laurie’s video across the entire globe, using up the rest of his energy in the process. As the entire internet goes offline and people are protesting, Pope explains to Caspian that people will still exploit U.Is and urges him to choose a one U.I he trusts to rules over the rest. Caspian wants David to be the ruling, flaw-free U.I but learns of his demise from Maddie. However, Pope reveals Logorhythms possesses a copy of David. As Caspian begins to work on solving the flaw, Maddie and Ellen mourn David as their neighbors approach them since their house is the only with power.|
On August 3, 2018, it was reported that AMC opened a writers room for the animated drama Pantheon. On March 10, 2020, AMC had given the production a 2-season series order consisting eight episodes each. Pantheon is AMC's first hour-long animated drama original series. The series is created by Craig Silverstein who also executive produced the series. AMC Studios and Titmouse, Inc. are involved with producing the series. The series is based on Ken Liu's short stories "The Gods Will Not Be Chained", "The Gods Will Not Be Slain", "The Gods Have Not Died in Vain", "Staying Behind" and "Altogether Elsewhere, Vast Herds of Reindeer" from the short fictions collection The Hidden Girl and Other Stories.
A second season was in production by August 2022. On January 8, 2023, AMC canceled the series after one season, despite a two-season order. It was also removed from the AMC's streaming service and HIDIVE.
On July 23, 2020, Taylor Schilling, Rosemarie DeWitt, Aaron Eckhart, and Paul Dano were cast in starring roles. On August 7, 2020, Daniel Dae Kim, Katie Chang, Ron Livingston, Chris Diamantopoulos, Raza Jaffrey, Scoot McNairy, Anika Noni Rose, Grey Griffin, SungWon Cho, Kevin Durand, Samuel Roukin, and Krystina Alabado joined the cast in starring roles. On February 18, 2021, William Hurt, Maude Apatow, Corey Stoll, and Lara Pulver were cast in starring roles.
The series premiered on September 1, 2022 on AMC+ and HIDIVE. The first episode was available for all viewers on HIDIVE and on AMC+ official YouTube.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a 100% approval rating based on 15 critic reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "A sophisticated treatise on consciousness and mortality, this absorbing mind-bender earns its own place in the pantheon of exemplary animated television." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 77 out of 100 based on 8 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".