Extrapolations Season 1 Review – self-righteous and self-indulgent

By Marc Miller
Published: March 16, 2023 (Last updated: December 22, 2023)
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Besides two great television episodes, Extrapolations sacrifices entertainment for the right to be self-righteous and self-indulgent.

We review the Apple TV+ series Extrapolations Season 1, which does not contain spoilers.

If you were taken aback by the star-studded cast in the trailer, and it’s jaw-dropping, you will be equally shocked by how uneven and dull the new preachy science fiction anthology series can be. Extrapolations is the type of series that sacrifices entertainment for the right to be sanctimonious and self-indulgent. After watching all eight episodes, you’ll be in awe of two, mildly enjoy the pilot, and the rest, you may shrug and wonder why you wasted your time.

Extrapolations Season 1 Review and Plot Summary

Extrapolations is brought to you by Contagion, An Inconvenient Truth, and The Report writer and director Scott Z. Burns. This series is a frighteningly relevant attempt to have the world wake up to climate change. If you consider Burns has a God-like gift for predicting horrific pandemic futures, you can’t ignore how brilliant a writer he is. The anthology series looks at the future, a very near one, where corporations utilize how climate change is heating the Earth to make a profit. The main villain of the series is Nicholas Bilton (played by Game of Thrones Kit Harington), who, get this, wants to build the first hotel and casino in the Antarctic.

From there, the series attempts to fold in other characters and string in family timelines from 2037 to 2070. You have a Rabbi in Tel Aviv (Blindspotting‘s Daveed Diggs) whose parents are begging to take over a synagogue in Miami. It doesn’t help matters that there is an international conference on climate change happening in the same city, an area with no water overheated, and political protests so intense many set themselves on fire as a sacrifice to bring attention to the crisis. You have a lawyer, Omar (Tahar Rahim), trying to negotiate the world’s most precious resource — water. His wife, Rebecca (Sienna Miller), is pregnant with their child but is trying to save birds in the Adirondacks, where a forest fire is blazing.

The anthology series is incredibly uneven, if not well written. However, folding in themes of one’s faith, love, and family within its timeline can be oversentimental. In fact, so many things about the show are overly done and overwrought it’s hard to enjoy or even be moved. One main issue is that Harington’s Nicolas Bilton is so over the top in his actions he comes across as an incredibly comic-book-level cartoonish villain. He actively tries to beach whales for entertainment profit. There is also the subplot in the finale that ties the plot together — eye-rolling.

Another issue is the series’ penchant for being self-indulgent. The producers give in to Daveed Diggs’s need to perform a song and dance number. The scene is not only out of place, even in an anthology series, but also in the episode. There are long speeches about debating climate change that goes on for endless amounts of time that try to tie in the old, played-out cliche of a father-and-son conflict. This doesn’t help matters when those actors have to debate Edward Norton and cannot rise to the occasion.

The very best episodes in the series also have the show’s most compelling performances. In the second part of “2059,” Adarsh Gourav is undeniably great here. A suspenseful outing in the best episode since the pilot. One that hit’s that sweet spot of an apocalyptic thriller without the preaching. The other is episode 2066 is an extraordinary metaphor for grief. Rahim gives a moving and heartbreaking performance here. It’s an innovative, risky, and bold episode of television.

Is Extrapolations Season 1 good?

Besides a few episodes, the rest of the Scott Z. Burns series doesn’t live up to the pilot. I would estimate five of the episodes fall down a self-righteous rabbit hole with some genuinely over-the-top performances that drag down the series. For a series that has the great Meryl Streep to the suddenly reclusive Tobey Magure, Extrapolations wastes its most precious resources in telling a genuinely effective story.

What did you think of Extrapolations Season 1? Comment below.

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