Incorporated Season 1 Episode 1: “Vertical Mobility”
Written & Directed by David Pastor, Àlex Pastor
Starring Sean Teale, Allison Miller, Eddie Ramos, Julia Ormond, Dennis Haysbert, Damon Herriman Syfy
Air Date: Wednesday, November 30th, 2016, 10:00pm
Incorporated made its debut last night on SyFy, and perhaps right in time for President-Elect Trump. The show is based in the year 2074 and corporations govern all… freaky right? The series is executively produced by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Jennifer Todd, and created, written and directed by the Pastor Brothers (Alex and David). They co-wrote the 2015 film Self/less starring Ryan Reynolds, and wrote and directed the underrated and underseen 2009 plague film, Carriers. As we learn in the opening crawl, the world was destroyed thanks to global warming (you hear that PE Trump!), and now the corporations rule, secretly battling over Earth’s dwindling resources. Humanity is divided into zones. Green is good for those working for one of these corporations. Red is for the rest of us.
Spoilers below for the premiere of Incorporated!
We open with soldiers escorting a hooded man down to a torture room where the deep voice of Dennis Haysbert’s Julian Morse greets him. “I take no pleasure in what I’m about to do,” he says. We get evil corporations, global warming, illegal immigration, and terrorism references thirty seconds in, and it’s a tad overbearing to be honest. Ben Larson (Sean Teale) is a seemingly happily married Green-Zoner who is working on a technology to read people’s minds as they sleep, to better spot traitors. He secretly pines for a lost love which makes it awkward when his wife brings up having a baby over dinner.
Turns out everything about Ben is a lie. He is some sort of undercover double agent. After work, the gang heads out to the Green Zone, and hit a Vegas/Tijuana zone right outside the gates. While everyone is doing drugs, shots, and enjoying cage fighting, Ben is collecting his drunk boss’s blood and storming off into the Red Zone. In Red, cash buys all, including motorcycle rides up to the 18th floor of a dilapidated highrise. Ben is really Aaron, and he meets with old friend Theo (Eddie Ramos). The lost girl he found is Theo’s sister Elena (Denyse Tontz) and she’s working for a high end club (40th floor execs only), and Theo’s convinced she’s basically a sex slave. Ben’s plan comes full circle when he frames his boss as a spy. This opens a vacancy on the 40th floor, and the woman in charge of the vetting just happens to be Ben’s mother in law, Elizabeth Krauss (Julia Ormond).
Incorporated certainly got stronger as it went on. I felt it went far too political in the beginning, but quickly got back on target and produced some good futuristic fun. The Green Zone reminded me of other science fiction faux-utopias, Minority Report and Elysium sprung to mind. The Red Zone reminded me of Bladerunner. The material is good and there is a healthy dose of mystery to the story so far. I just hope they keep the blatant politics out of it.
Incorporated returns next Wednesday night at 10:00pm ET on SyFy.