Extrapolations review: a series of dire warnings ignored

Sienna Miller in Extrapolations

Extrapolations is a series of interrelated stories meant to illustrate where we are headed if something isn’t done about all the carbon pouring into the atmosphere. It’s a huge, ambitious attempt to warn us, show us, teach us, that we need to change what we’re doing.

I thought Extrapolations grew more powerful in terms of its message as the eight episodes of the series rolled along. The stories covered a span of about 50 years in a variety of places using a variety of characters.

Kit Harington in Extrapolations

Some characters appeared in more than one episode. Kit Harington played corporate CEO Nicholas Bilton. He represented greed, evil, and every corporation that makes its money seizing the “opportunities” global warming represent. When they knew how to make it better, they made it worse to reap more profits. Martha Russell (Diane Lane) and Jonathan (Edward Norton) both worked for him as he let the earth burn for profit.

Rebecca (Sienna Miller), pictured above with a huge tree, was a biologist working with species near extinction. She took her son to see the last humpback whale. She recurs in several episodes.

Rabbi Zucker (Daveed Diggs) was the example of what global warming can mean to religion and faith. There were some interesting discussions about faith in the episodes he appeared in.

Politics played its part in helping and hurting the situation in an episode with Cherry Jones as President.

Whether it was business, religion, science, or politics getting the focus in an episode it was always about the money, never about the planet or the people.

Marion Cotillard in Extrapolations

I thought Marion Cotillard as an unhappy wife in episode 7, “The Going Away Party” had some of the best lines in the whole series. She spoke about hope, love, and the failings of being human. There were some powerful lines in various episodes, but overall the dialog was not compelling.

Lily Buchanan in Extrapolations

Toward the end of the series Nicholas Bilton was on trial for leading a corporation that contributed to global warming. He was ultimately stymied, not by lawyers or courts, but by Decima (Lily Buchanan), his own child. She learned about a carbon removing technology that he had hidden and did something about it.

Yes, Extrapolations made its points and provided a message. But it was a little on the dull side. I think about something like Don’t Look Up that used absurd humor to make the same points and I’m not sure if being serious is any more effective than being ridiculous. It safe to say we need all kinds of methods for spreading the message about global warming.

The cast is top notch. Here are a few actors who showed up: Leslie Uggams, Gemma Chan, Eiza González, Meryl Streep, David Schwimmer, Tobey Maguire, Keri Russell, Indira Varma, Judd Hirsch, Forest Whitaker, Matthew Rhys, Hari Nef, Heather Graham, Anna Deavere Smith, and Marianne Rendón. When you’re trying to spread an important message, Hollywood actors will support you!

The futuristic technology used in the series was impressive. As were the scenes set outdoors where the heat, the flooding, and the toxic air were effectively represented.

Nicole Holofcener and Ellen Kuras each directed one episode of the eight. The series was created by Scott Z. Burns. It’s streaming on Apple TV+. Have you watched it? I’d love to hear what you thought about it. Leave a comment below.

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