Since “Terminator”, I’ve watched a lot of material about the evilness of corporations. “Terminator” was the first and the scariest. Because of that, I must admit that I was skeptical when SyFy started “Incorporated”. It was a longshot since I expected just one more show about the food shortage and the apocalypse. More to that, it had problems from the start. It had trouble in finding pace, main actor had no expressions, and the story was already seen. Then, very slowly, things changed. Some characters were suddenly lifelike. I continued to watch. After the first season, I’m not disappointed. That’s a lot, all things considered. “Incorporated” can grow, which is the biggest compliment I can give.
Climate disaster caused a catastrophe. World’s food supplies are controlled by corporations. There are two of them: Spiga and Inazagi. Of course, the Japs are (kind of) enemies in the story. I say kind of since in the “Incorporated” there is more than one antagonist to choose from. The world of the show is grey so there are no clear heroes (or villains for that matter). People live in a segregated world. There are two zones: red and green. Scum of the world is in the red zone and corporate “suits” are in the green zone. The border is defined, but it can be crossed and, if you haven’t guessed already, our protagonist is one of the few who succeeded in crossing.
I had associations on Trump and his infamous Mexico wall while I watched the show. On the green side of the wall, everybody must contribute to the corporation. Children are brainwashed, people are obsessed with success. Everybody wants to climb up, all the way to the mystic 40th floor. Dream of capitalism in which even you can be part of the few works. Those ultimate lucky ones are part of Arcadia, place where all dreams come true. Arcadia is an elite place with only one moto: “What happens in Arcadia, stays in Arcadia”.
Ben Larson, our main protagonist, is aspiring young hope of the corporation. He’s married to the director’s daughter and works hard to benefit Spiga. His other identity, dark one, is the one he was born with. Aaron, kid from the red-zone. In the corporate world, everything he is and everything he’s aspired to be is false. His actions and words come into corporation’s scrutiny. His motivation, to climb more up, will come into direct conflict with the hidden past. In the midst of it all, he has personal agenda and his “green-zone” identity is merely a tool in fulfilling it. With two different characters, Sean Teale, for the most of the show, seemed quite lost. He was the show’s weakest link and I just have to say: “Thank God for female power”.
Allison Miller as Larson’s wife Laura and Julia Ormond as her mother, Spiga’s director Elisabeth, were the real strength of the show. As the story progressed, they grew. In the process, they saved the show from its own shortcomings. Teale is just the biggest of them, but not the only one. Concept of the Red zone and all the sequences with Theo (minor character in the story, but with too much screen time) were, at times, painful to watch. I wished they could cut-off these scenes and carry on with what they’ve been doing well in the rest of the plot.
All things considered, “Incorporated” isn’t the one of the best shows of the year, but it could be the one with the biggest upside if the producers resist the urge to make another soap-opera. They are indications for that in the end of the season 1, but I think/hope that the “bigger picture” will be good enough to make those moments insignificant by comparison.
Rating: hopeful 7/10