On April 13, the premium cable network Showtime will air the first episode of “Years of Living Dangerously,” a star-studded new series about climate change.
For the series, Showtime has put together an enviable roster of talent. The series was produced by a team including director James Cameron, of Titanic and Avatar fame, along with Joel Bach and David Gelber, former “60 Minutes” producers with close to a dozen Emmy awards between them.
Onscreen, the series features the kind of celebrities that ordinarily appear in Hollywood blockbusters. In the context of “Years of Living Dangerously,” though, they are correspondents who add a fresh (and inquisitive) presence to a subject that too often is mired in dispassionate scientific terminology. While the documentary will provide scientific evidence to ground its narratives, it focuses on the impacts of the climate crisis, as experienced by ordinary people.
Daniel Abbasi, one of the documentary’s executive producers, said:
We include science coverage, but less by charts and graphs and statistics and more by scientists showing us what they do in the field and why they’re reaching the conclusion that this problem is such a serious risk to the viability of our civilization and requires urgent action.
For his part, Cameron characterizes the series as “100 percent a people story,” while after seeing the series’ first installment, former EPA Administrator Carol Browner said:
I’ve see a hundred shows on climate change, and I’ve seen all the graphs and charts… But, really, in my experience this is the first time it is about people.
In the series, dozens of stories are woven together as the correspondents explore the impacts of climate change around the globe. “Years of Living Dangerously” will feature Harrison Ford travelling through the remote forests of Indonesia and Don Cheadle exploring drought in Texas. Jessica Alba, Ian Somerhalder, Olivia Munn, and America Ferrera will also appear.
The producers have also drafted an impressive cadre of journalists to serve as correspondents. CBS News’ Lesley Stahl covers the Artic; Chris Hayes of MSNBC challenges the longtime climate skeptic Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) on Staten Island; and two of the New York Times’ highest profile columnists, Thomas Friedman and Mark Bittman, cover climate change’s contribution to the Syrian crisis and on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, respectively.
The “Years of Living Dangerously” team has put together a beautiful website with information on all of the project’s contributors, as well as a section where visitors can engage with some of the series’ environmental advocacy partners and share their own stories related to climate change.
Here’s the official “Years of Living Dangerously” trailer.
The Showtime premier will occupy a high-profile Sunday evening spot, airing at 10PM US Eastern on April 13th. A special special online-only release of the first episode began Monday and can be streamed here.