The Watchman: ‘Extrapolations’ Imagines Climate Change a Few Years Down the Road
Senior content producer Michael Malone’s look at the programming scene
Extrapolations, a drama that touches on climate change in the near future, begins on Apple TV Plus March 17. Featuring eight connected stories that depict how climate change has become embedded into everyday life, the show comes from Scott Z. Burns. The cast includes Meryl Streep, Sienna Miller, Kit Harington, Daveed Diggs, Matthew Rhys and Edward Norton, among other A-listers.
Episodes “about love, work, faith and family from across the globe will explore the intimate, life-altering choices that must be made when the planet is changing faster than the population,” Apple TV Plus said.
At the TCA Press Tour, Burns said stories that touch on climate change focus on the end, which no one really knows. “But we do know enough science now to know that there are a lot of steps between where we are today and the end,” he said.
He aimed “to tell a series of stories that allow you to go on this hopefully amazing thrill ride between where we are today and where we might end up, and what we can do to change any of those steps along the way.”
Rhys was drawn to a compelling story with an important message. “It was great to read something that contextualizes it,” he said, “and can actually show it in a very real and human way how that will affect us.”
Bob Odenkirk Gets ‘Lucky’ With New Project
Lucky Hank, a mid-life crisis tale with Bob Odenkirk as Hank Devereaux Jr., chairman of the English department at a janky Rust Belt college, debuts on a batch of AMC Networks channels, including AMC and BBC America, March 19. Aaron Zelman and Paul Lieberstein adapted the project from the Richard Russo novel Straight Man.
Odenkirk was finishing up Better Call Saul when he saw the script. “I liked it a lot,” he said at the TCA Press Tour. “Then I read the novel, and then I read it again, because translating something from a novel to television or a movie is always a trick. I wanted to see what it shared with the novel and where it went. And I liked it very much, especially in connection with the work I’d been doing on Saul.”
While Saul was often flying solo, Odenkirk liked that Hank had his family to lean on. Mireille Enos plays his wife, Lily.
Zelman and Lieberstein are co-showrunners and executive producers. Lieberstein, who played Toby on The Office, wanted to set a show at a college. “I love this idea about tenure where you are trapped in success,” he said. “You can’t leave that job. So it just allows people to behave very badly in a semi-protected way. It really felt like this was a great opportunity.” ■
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.