induction (induction, US, 2023) is a series that combines individual chapters with stories that follow one another over the course of several episodes. All the stories have something in common, they describe a catastrophic future for the planet if the current line is followed. The episodes are set in different times and places, the first being for example in the year 2037, but then it flashes forward in time, showing an increase in the climate crisis.
What unites all the stories, even some of them funny, is the idea that humanity is facing its greatest crisis and that a warning issued decades before it was heard was true. To flesh out this futuristic setting, the series has deluxe creator, screenwriter Scott Z. Burns, who is also the showrunner and producer here. Burns has an important career as a screenwriter, but in 2020 he gained additional fame due to a screenplay he wrote in 2011: Contagion. In this movie, he predicted a Covid-19-style pandemic. This led to the film being searched for and seen by many moviegoers who couldn’t believe how predictable this script was.
When asked about his writing, Burns said that all the scientists consulted told him the same thing about the epidemic, and that the question was not “if it will happen, but when it will happen”. Now that he’s written in Extrapolation about a colossal climate catastrophe, one has to wonder if it’s time to take Scott Z.’s predictions. Burns more seriously. The series seems so up-to-date in terms of data and projections that in one episode they talk about the drought in Argentina and its consequences, something that happens in parallel with the premiere of the series.
The cast of the series is – perhaps in support of its ideas – amazing, although many of the performers have brief appearances: Meryl Streep, Sienna Miller, Kit Harington, Edward Norton, Diane Lane, David Diggs, Matthew Rhys, Gemma Chan, David Schwimmer, Kerry Russell, Marion Cotillard, Forest Whitaker and Tobey Maguire, among many others. Famous faces allow faster recognition of characters who spend little screen time.
The series describes wildfires, melting glaciers, floods of large cities, and various disasters that are multiplying and putting humanity beyond its own borders. Some stories are part of the world we are experiencing today, and others are projections that lead us to think about a terrible future if urgent decisions are not made. There are figures with religious doubts, corrupt politicians, scientists looking for a way out, irresponsible millionaires, unsung heroes and other celebrities. There is a wide variety describing humanity with its best as well as its worst characteristics.
Some stories may sound better than others and in this field it all seems told, but it is good to remember again that the person who described the pandemic a decade ago now represents a disturbing future for us. At least in fiction, Scott Z. Burns has rightfully earned our attention. induction is a series on Apple TV+ worth watching, partly to entertain and partly to think about what might happen next.
you can see induction on AppleTV+.