TV shows

Exit government, enter the corporation: ‘Incorporated’ is a show for our times

The American TV series imagines a dystopic future in which mega-corporations have taken over the United States of America.

The year is 2074. Governments have crumbled in the face of sweeping, devastating climate change, leaving huge corporate conglomerates to pick up the slack and complete the takeover they have seemingly been aiming at for years. The United States of America is effectively run by these multinational corporations; the zones in which they are located are called Green Zones. Outside are the Red Zones, dens of vice, violence, and a desperate struggle for survival.

This is the world of Syfy’s new drama, Incorporated. Produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, the series made its debut in the US on November 30 and was immediately hailed as timely in the wake of the election of Donald Trump as President. What could have been dismissed as yet another dystopic thriller to join a long queue – a more adult Hunger Games or a less sophisticated version of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy – is getting a closer look thanks to its uncomfortable closeness to reality.

Play
‘Incorporated’.

From the get-go, the show plonks its viewers the shadowy world of mega-corporations, specifically SPIGA, a bio-engineering company that proudly takes credit for feeding “most of the world’. One of the SPIGA holdings in Jakarta has been attacked, and the company is on high alert, its security forces aware that even those within its glass walls are not above suspicion. Ben, a fast-rising employee (Sean Teale), is our window into this conglomeration, though we’re quickly shown that his own allegiance to SPIGA is suspect. Ben is on a mission to find a young woman with whom he has some sort of romantic history. She has been missing for six years, but using SPIGA’s extensive resources, he hopes to locate her somewhere within the morass of the system.

The writers use each of the main characters to highlight some aspect of the near-future world. There’s Laura, Ben’s wife (Allison Miller), a doctor at a cosmetic surgery clinic who has recently received permission to get pregnant. That’s right – if it seems like women do not have agency when it comes to terminating pregnancies, Incorporated pushes the premise further, creating a world where even getting pregnant is subject to checks and permissions. Tellingly, it is Ben’s bosses who have the right to tell Laura when and if she can start a family, no matter that she is a well-qualified doctor who runs a successful practice.

Laura’s mother, Elizabeth, also appears to be a key player. Played by Julia Ormond, best known for her role as the volatile Marie Calvert on Mad Men, Elizabeth is the head of SPIGA. She is also, however, on the outs with her daughter, and their relationship promises to be one of the more intriguing personal elements of the show. Calvert seems to be gifted at playing simultaneously terrifying and yet vulnerable women, and it will be interesting to see what she does with the role here.

The first episode includes a trip outside the haven of the Green Zones and into the seedy Red, following the trials of Theo (Eddie Ramos), a young man who comes up against trouble and is forced to push himself into prize fighting. The world of the Red Zone is painted in dull yellows the gritty luminescence of a streetlight in smoggy air, while the Green is primarily shot in clear, white light. They both have their dangers, even if those of the Red are slightly more obvious, and the Green more sanitised.

Incorporated seems worthwhile for, more than anything else, its ability to create a convincing futuristic world. Many creations in the dystopic genre fail to effectively address the world outside of their narrow lens. Though Incorporated is restricted to erstwhile Wisconsin thus far, characters speak of the world outside, of how events have affected countries as far flung as Micronesia (disappeared under the rising waters) and as close to home (for them) as Miami (also gone to the sea). Through little slips in conversation, we learn that the best champagne now comes from Norway, that fakon (fake bacon) is the new normal. Save for one quick exposition at the start, the show seems set on building its world for viewers brick by brick, letting it emerge organically, through the course of conversations, events, little anecdotes related by characters. For instance, nothing underscores the desperation of the residents of the Red Zones as clearly as one particular, small encounter in Laura’s clinic. Want to know what it is? Watch to find out.

Julia Ormond in ‘Incorporated’.
Julia Ormond in ‘Incorporated’.
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Get ready for an 80-hour shopping marathon

Here are some tips that’ll help you take the lead.

Starting 16th July at 4:00pm, Flipkart will be hosting its Big Shopping Days sale over 3 days (till 19th July). This mega online shopping event is just what a sale should be, promising not just the best discounts but also buying options such as no cost EMIs, buyback guarantee and product exchanges. A shopping festival this big, packed with deals that you can’t get yourself to refuse, can get overwhelming. So don’t worry, we’re here to tell you why Big Shopping Days is the only sale you need, with these helpful hints and highlights.

Samsung Galaxy On Nxt (64 GB)

A host of entertainment options, latest security features and a 13 MP rear camera that has mastered light come packed in sleek metal unibody. The sale offers an almost 40% discount on the price. Moreover, there is a buyback guarantee which is part of the deal.

Original price: Rs. 17,900

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Samsung 32 inches HD Ready LED TV

Another blockbuster deal in the sale catalogue is this audio and visual delight. Apart from a discount of 41%, the deal promises no-cost EMIs up to 12 months.

Original price: Rs. 28,890

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Intel Core I3 equipped laptops

These laptops will make a thoughtful college send-off gift or any gift for that matter. Since the festive season is around the corner, you might want to make use of this sale to bring your A-game to family festivities.

Original price: Rs. 25,590

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 21,900

Fashion

If you’ve been planning a mid-year wardrobe refresh, Flipkart’s got you covered. The Big Shopping Days offer 50% to 80% discount on men’s clothing. You can pick from a host of top brands including Adidas and Wrangler.

With more sale hours, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days sale ensures we can spend more time perusing and purchasing these deals. Apart from the above-mentioned products, you can expect up to 80% discount across categories including mobiles, appliances, electronics, fashion, beauty, home and furniture.

Features like blockbuster deals that are refreshed every 8 hours along with a price crash, rush hour deals from 4-6 PM on the starting day and first-time product discounts makes this a shopping experience that will have you exclaiming “Sale ho to aisi! (warna na ho)”

Set your reminders and mark your calendar, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days starts 16th July, 4 PM and end on 19th July. To participate in 80 hours of shopping madness, click here.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Flipkart and not by the Scroll editorial team.