‘Extrapolations’ series review: A dull star-studded affair on the perils of climate change

The first three episodes of the climate-fiction show on Apple TV+ featuring Meryl Streep, Kit Harington and Sienna Miller, overwhelm the audience with plot devices and fail to establish a narrative structure

March 17, 2023 02:30 pm | Updated 04:32 pm IST

A still from ‘Extrapolations’

A still from ‘Extrapolations’ | Photo Credit: Apple TV+

The year is 2037 and we have resolved the Israel-Palestine conflict. The horrors haunting the Gaza Strip are now issues concerning water scarcity. Even 14 years in the future, a school-going climate activist is asking people to pay heed to the issues of climate change. 

David Schwimmer, Matthew Rhys, Meryl Streep, Kit Harington, Sienna Miller Yara Shahidi and Daveed Diggs cannot save Apple TV+’s latest science fiction show on the perils of climate change. Produced by Scott Z. Burns of Contagion fame, Extrapolations is too on-the-nose and preachy with its message tiring out the audience in the first three episodes itself. Playing out as an interconnected anthology series, each episode is about a new story which makes it hard to gauge the overall calibre and quality of the show with ease.

Extrapolations (English)
Director: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: David Schwimmer, Matthew Rhys, Meryl Streep, Kit Harington, Sienna Miller Yara Shahidi, Tobey Maguire, Daveed Diggs
No. of episodes: 8
Plotline: An anthology series that depicts the effects of climate change on the planet through various different points of view through interconnected stories

The first episode introduces us to a businessman hoping to build casinos in the arctic circle, patents governing desalinisation and water purification technologies, raging forest fires and innumerable climate refugees, often overwhelming the audience with new characters and plot points. The episode struggles to establish a narrative structure and the filter of a distinct yellow shade over it all makes it hard to continue looking at the screen. 

While the second episode attempts to extrapolate a time in the future which is rife with animal extinctions, it soon plunges into macabre sensibilities where humans communicate with the last humpback whale about the philosophies of life and death while the whale is endowed with Meryl Streep’s voice... (we aren’t kidding). The episode feels bizarre and funny even, as one slowly starts to figure out that there is very little thought that went into imagining an apocalypse triggered due to climate change. 

While the actors are in great form, the script dulls their charisma and the painfully less screen time given to most of them does not let them grow into their characters fully.

The show is at its strongest when climate change forms the backdrop of the story, and not the story itself as demonstrated in the third episode where the creators inspect humans’ relationship with theology in times of duress. Following a youth pastor in Miami, the episode lays bare the generational divide in addressing climate change and examining if religion has the power to assuage fears brought upon by the ills of climate change.

Extrapolations is currently streaming on Apple TV+

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