tv series

Global refugee crisis gets a sci-fi twist in time-travelling thriller ‘The Crossing’

The ABC show is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

The Crossing, the new show from ABC streaming on Amazon Prime Video, has an offbeat premise that speaks to contemporary concerns: a group of refugees lands via the sea route in a small Oregon town. Many of them have died while making the arduous journey but the few that have survived seek asylum from the genocide they are trying to escape. The twist: the people claim that the genocide is in America 180 years from now.

Sheriff Jude Ellis (Steve Zahn) is at a loss understanding the claims of the 47 people who have washed up in his laidback town. But he is equally chary when the Department of Homeland Security takes over the case because he knows from past experience that federal government is the last thing a local police officer can trust. It does not help that he and the DHS incharge, Emma Ren (Sandrine Holt) get off to a rough start.

In due course, we learn that the society of future has engineered a supreme being called the Apex with heightened powers of cognition and physical strength. The class divide so engendered is not just the cause of the genocide but also provides the other major theme of the show. During the escape, Reece (Natalie Martinez), an Apex, lost touch with her non-Apex adopted daughter Leah (Bailey Skodje) and must immediately find her. Lean, as a non-Apex, has a condition for which she requires frequent blood transfusions from her mother.

All of these strands merge on the surprising note that there has been an earlier migration, some of whose members now populate the top echelons of American society. How far should the current lot speak about this is a question that is tied up in both bureaucracy and intrigue. Those running away from the war hoped to find succor in what the show calls “The Long Peace” (America in the 21st century) but the future looks to be in danger of reshaping the past.

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The Crossing.

Science fiction has long tackled political and social themes by using the avenues opened by scientific discovery to comment on the schisms that continue to rip society. The class divide between an advanced being and the lay person – a common feature of sci-fi dramas such the recent The 100 and 3% – is an upgrade of the current political reality, where hundreds of refugees from war-riven West Asia poured into Europe beginning 2015.

The Crossing dovetails individual storylines of the refugees with the pulls and minor miracles of law enforcement to craft a compelling drama that offers a worm’s eye view of any migration crisis that is lost amidst the headlines. While food is plentiful, freedom is not – and not everyone among the harried group of newcomers is a victim. Drawing too many parallels between reality and fiction may be self-defeating but the trope, being timely, is deeply engaging.

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A special shade of blue inspired these musicians to create a musical piece

Thanks to an interesting neurological condition called synesthesia.

On certain forums on the Internet, heated discussions revolve around the colour of number 9 or the sound of strawberry cupcake. And most forum members mount a passionate defence of their points of view on these topics. These posts provide insight into a lesser known, but well-documented, sensory condition called synesthesia - simply described as the cross wiring of the senses.

Synesthetes can ‘see’ music, ‘taste’ paintings, ‘hear’ emotions...and experience other sensory combinations based on their type. If this seems confusing, just pay some attention to our everyday language. It’s riddled with synesthesia-like metaphors - ‘to go green with envy’, ‘to leave a bad taste in one’s mouth’, ‘loud colours’, ‘sweet smells’ and so on.

Synesthesia is a deeply individual experience for those who have it and differs from person to person. About 80 different types of synesthesia have been discovered so far. Some synesthetes even have multiple types, making their inner experience far richer than most can imagine.

Most synesthetes vehemently maintain that they don’t consider their synesthesia to be problem that needs to be fixed. Indeed, synesthesia isn’t classified as a disorder, but only a neurological condition - one that scientists say may even confer cognitive benefits, chief among them being a heightened sense of creativity.

Pop culture has celebrated synesthetic minds for centuries. Synesthetic musicians, writers, artists and even scientists have produced a body of work that still inspires. Indeed, synesthetes often gravitate towards the arts. Eduardo is a Canadian violinist who has synesthesia. He’s, in fact, so obsessed with it that he even went on to do a doctoral thesis on the subject. Eduardo has also authored a children’s book meant to encourage latent creativity, and synesthesia, in children.

Litsa, a British violinist, sees splashes of paint when she hears music. For her, the note G is green; she can’t separate the two. She considers synesthesia to be a fundamental part of her vocation. Samara echoes the sentiment. A talented cellist from London, Samara can’t quite quantify the effect of synesthesia on her music, for she has never known a life without it. Like most synesthetes, the discovery of synesthesia for Samara was really the realisation that other people didn’t experience the world the way she did.

Eduardo, Litsa and Samara got together to make music guided by their synesthesia. They were invited by Maruti NEXA to interpret their new automotive colour - NEXA Blue. The signature shade represents the brand’s spirit of innovation and draws on the legacy of blue as the colour that has inspired innovation and creativity in art, science and culture for centuries.

Each musician, like a true synesthete, came up with a different note to represent the colour. NEXA roped in Indraneel, a composer, to tie these notes together into a harmonious composition. The video below shows how Sound of NEXA Blue was conceived.

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You can watch Eduardo, Litsa and Samara play the entire Sound of NEXA Blue composition in the video below.

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