Sunday, April 3, 2011

Views of the future


Public broadcasting has begun a web series called Futurestates.  As the name implies, it will feature a series of ten vignette features depicting life in several possible futures.

While this is about the future and it is science fiction by definition, it appears to have far more to do with concept and character than special effects.   From the descriptions that I've read, here are a few the more interesting concepts:

-A man struggles to find a CD player in world where such technology is long forgotten.  He does this to retrieve data from a CD left to him by his mother.

-A plastic bag (voiced by Werner Herzog) searches for it's maker: the woman who brought it home from the supermarket and then discarded it.

-There's sort of a riff on Ender's Game where an office drone is rescued from his mundane existence to a job where he plays an online computer game, shooting at aliens.  I think we all know how this ends up.

-A family living in San Francisco is told by government agents that the city is now strictly for the wealthy class and that the family needs to vacate.
-Two sisters live a nomadic life, displaced by Global Warming.

Admittedly, I've yet to watch a single episode, but the clips and descriptions I've seen really impress me.  This isn't just engaging film, this is social awareness.   These are narratives dealing with problems that we have right now.  By watching these, we are forced to contemplate just what kind of future we might find ourselves in.  In these futures depicted, we may not be abstemious out of altruism, we'll be that way because we have to.

You can watch full episodes here.  I know I will be.

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