A Review of the Star-Filled 'Extrapolations' From Apple TV+

Extrapolations, the new show from Apple TV+, throws – with notable speed and force – everything on the screen at once in its first episode, especially its impressive cast: Matthew Rhys, Kit Harrington, Sienna Miller, Daveed Diggs, and Heather Graham (and later: Meryl Streep, Edward Norton, Judd Hirsch, and even David Schwimmer). 

That cast alone will draw anyone to the show. Scott Z. Burns, writer for the movie Contagion, heads it up, making it more enticing. 

Burns anthologies this story with every episode focusing on a next year or a different part of the cast, most of whom have been introduced in the packed first episode. Its desired tone is realism, the scary sort that’s meant to change minds or call to action. And the futuristic series is no more science fiction than an earnest World War II film; it starkly warns of the coming dangers of climate change that feel all too prescient. 

Audiences who tune in may be turned off, though. After all, who is the intended audience for this grim-but-all-too-real narrative about how the world will look for – not our grandkids – but our kids? No idiot denier will binge this, much less watch it at all. Those of us who know how dangerous the climate has become are already bought in. Do we want a glimpse into this future that’s not dystopian in the strange vein of Escape From New York or The Road Warrior

Television tells stories, and much like the teenage character Alana Goldblatt in the third episode, we know where this one is going. We may not have the wherewithal to see it through. 

Burns banks on introducing nearly all of the cast all at once. It’s problematic: the first episode doesn’t allow for our interest to grow with any one character. Rhys, as great as an actor working today who can conjure caring with a simple downcast of gaze, is the most clearly defined but almost to the point of comedy. 

The good news is that episode two (“Whale Fall”) hones in on Sienna Miller’s scientist who literally talks to whales via a computer program that translates the whales’ songs. Here, by narrowing focal points on Miller’s scientist and her son, Burns demonstrates that those who care may not be enough. “The Fifth Question,” the third released in its first week, lands on notion that religion may not be of comfort in 2047. 

Extrapolations will come down to how much stomach you have for a first episode that’s too jumbled and, perhaps more importantly, how much stomach you have for a likely future that scares you senseless in incremental, logical ways. 

Extrapolations is now streaming on Apple TV+. New episodes are released on Fridays.  

Blaine Duncan
Blaine Duncan
Editor-In-Chief, Host of Taking It Down