Loki's retro-tech world is the best 19A0

Alexis Ong writes on the retro tech of Loki, the ambitious and exquisitely designed show about the Marvel antihero.

In creating this vast, faceless bureaucratic machine, the Loki design team needed to source enough old hardware to furnish whole offices. "A lot of it was our set decorator Claudia Bonfe and her team [who] found an amazing array of retro televisions," says Farahani. "Some of these things, they're old and they're brittle, so by the time you get them, the amount of modifications that we wanted to do to them, they just wouldn't hold up. So it was easier in many cases to just fabricate them or build them from scratch." (There is, however, a prominent Lear Siegler ADM-3A sitting on the reception desk when we first see the TVA, which could be the real deal.)

I've enjoyed Loki a lot, and moreover feel that it "completes" this particular liminal ratmaze. This haunted place I love, that weird missing decade between the 1970s and 1980s with amber monochrome displays and pyramid-shaped computers and the mangled memories, has perhaps gone to the MCU to die. Again!

They've executed it so well, and not just in terms of production design fetishes, either. They baked in the ironies, the ideological and cybernetic thresholds touched on, yet understand that even then it no more or less than an aesthetic. There's no point going too deep into it, because there are no real depths. The Temporal Variance Authority is the perfect final shape of whatever I was trying to get at with the whole 19A0 thing, with characters and stories and everything.

The show even understands that nostalgia, however sweet, is not your friend.

Nonetheless, I will be stuffing my next game-ready PC into the shell of a Panasonic Ranger 505 (the CRT will have to go, yes, but I have other plans for it).