But certainly not in the way that the series creator Scott Z. Burns intended, extrapolation is a difficult task. Throughout eight agonizingly long episodes, the bloated, dull anthology on Apple TV+ tries your tolerance and willpower.
The program, which has a big cast and debuts on March 17, focuses on climate change and its terrible effects on the environment, making it tremendously timely and strangely fascinating.
Yet, unoriginal writing and confusing acting bury all of its admirable concepts. There are many Prestige Drama shenanigans, but they can’t redeem this boring TV program.
Contagion, Burns’ foresightful 2011 film about a global pandemic and the hunt for vaccinations, demonstrated his skill at addressing emotional tales based on real-world dynamics.
Yet what we have here is not a two-hour movie with a well-developed, factual plot and thesis. Instead, Extrapolations spreads out important concepts over many episodes, plotlines, people, places, and years.
Also, despite the theatrical speech and numerous predictable turns, there is never a substantial reward. The idea of global warming is crucial and well-intentioned, but the execution is a pointless exercise in Emmy bait.
Extrapolations, which take place between 2037 and 2070, illuminate the catastrophes that await humanity if climate change isn’t treated correctly. Big tech and organizations like Alpha, led by CEO Nick Bilton, are the primary antagonists (Kit Harington).
It is a firm that is everywhere and involved in everything, from producing grains and water to holograms and intelligent home appliances.
Although Harington’s stoic portrayal is luckily mostly reserved for the conclusion (he also made a fleeting appearance in a few early episodes, although it’s easy to forget that fact), he serves as the unifying theme across each expedition.
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A wildfire-ravaged Earth suffers as the temperature increases in the show’s imagined future. In addition, though, we have conquered the battle on democracy in America, cured cancer, and colonized Mars (minus Texas, apparently).
Burns creates a complex but uneven world despite his best efforts. The program frequently has an Upload and Black Mirror vibe.
While some episodes are character-driven stories (such as two couples at a tense dinner party in San Francisco or a man experiencing memory loss in London) with climate disaster only as a backdrop, others are character-driven stories with a heavy emphasis on environmental disasters, such as trying to save the last humpback whale or the severe air pollution in India.
Extrapolations do a terrible job of juggling these arcs, which causes confusion and annoyance when the program ought to evoke real feelings.
Everyone else involved (authors, directors, and especially the actors) believes they’ve produced a thought-provoking drama, even though the set design and visual effects are stunning.
Nobody seems to be pursuing the same genre, which is a big problem. In strange situations, actors like Tahar Rahim, Forest Whitaker, Marion Cotillard, and Edward Norton act too naturally.
Others try to have fun (they understood the task), such as Matthew Rhys, Tobey Maguire, Heather Graham, and Eiza González. They regrettably feel cut off from the rest of the show.
The underuse of the remaining ensemble is a greater injustice. Gemma Chan is reduced to a sort of damsel in distress, Meryl Streep voices a talking whale (although she also appears in a few moments in person), and Murray Bartlett has a glorified cameo as a lawyer near the film’s conclusion.
After six seasons of The Americans, Keri Russell, who plays a no-nonsense assassin, is wasted in a bit of a part that was crafted only for her.
The show’s MVPs, Daveed Diggs, Indira Varma, Sienna Miller, and Adarsh Gourav, try their hardest to save a sinking ship. (Gourav from The White Tiger is particularly impressive as he assumes the spotlight in episode five.)
A talking whale, killer walruses, two characters randomly breaking into “Singing In The Rain,” and a rabbi sincerely saying, “I think we all have a choice whether to suck or not” are all included in Extrapolations, which shifts from being a catastrophic portrait of climate change (hotels being built on the Arctic, Miami flooding) to a whimsical take on the crisis.
And despite its current subject, the program ends a successful run of blockbuster dramas on Apple TV+. Indeed, eight hours of seeing a documentary about how the Earth may collide with itself if humans don’t act quickly to rescue it is supposed to be tiresome.
Extrapolations, however, are depleting in all the wrong ways: from the opening scene to the bitter, seemingly circular conclusion, it is monotonous and depressing.
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