TV dominates the culture at large now and plays a vital role when portraying our warming planet. This is the entertainment era of cli-fi and sci-fi where the climate crisis takes a central role.
Item: A June 2019 episode of ”Big Little Lies” dove into the subject in an unexpected way when the young daughter of the main character has an anxiety attack about the future of the planet. The storyline constituted just a single subplot, but it spawned a minor eruption of hot takes, analysis pieces and recaps. Grist magazine discussed the question of how to talk to children about climate change. Esquire magazine deemed the second grader’s panic-stricken retreat into a closet as a metaphor for living in 2019. The Vulture website called up a child psychologist to get her point of view. Climate-change anxiety is now a part of growing up, opined the Washington Post.
Pop culture has caught on to the cli-fi predicament we are in now. The 2020s will be an important decade in the entertainment industry, as producers and directors get the Greta Thunberg message.
Item: When an editor and writer with set out to find major cli-fi TV shows addressing the damage that humans are inflicting on our atmosphere he said he found three good ones: ”Game of Thrones,” a National Geographic docu-series called ”Life Below Zero” and the Norwegian cli-fi thriller ”Occupied.”
More are on the way, according to industry sources. Hollywood is waking up.
The climate crisis that’s reshaping every aspect of human experience is being mirrored now on TV and in Hollywood. Advocates think that this shows the chances for real, aggressive action on climate. A writer and producer for a climate-themed web series told a reporter earlier this summer that if we want to change the politics in this country, we have to change the stories that are being told around [climate change] issues. We need something [like cli-fi] that can contain the whole range of people’s lived and real experiences.
The deep level of emotional engagement that comes from a dramatic storyline can influence people’s real-world behavior, according to an American literary journalist who has been studying the issue for years and founded The Cli-Fi Report online.
Hollywood gatekeepers are no longer standing in the way of great climate television shows. Science Fictional and cli-fi shows and series are beginning now to agressively tackle climate change. The jig is up.
Although ecological catastrophe is often seen as supremely difficult to dramatize, more screenwriters, producers and directors are beginning to say “Lights! Camera! Action!”
Disasters linked to climate change are now more in the headlines than ever before and people are feeling the consequences much more acutely. The science has also become more terrifying. An American blogger says we have 30 more generations, 500 years, to create novels, movies and TV shows about global warming and try to stop it before it becomes ”unstoppable.’
While telling a direct story about climate change is hard because there aren’t instantly identifiable heroes and villains, according to industry sources, help — and hope — is on the way.
Hollywood will never be the same and neither will social media conversations after major new cli-fi TV series reach the masses worldwide.