What will the world look like when the world’s oil supply dwindles and nations compete for what lies beneath the Arctic?
This is the premise of a highly entertaining science fiction pilot called Borealis, which aired on The Space Channel over this weekend. Set in 2045, Borealis tells the story of a wild-west, frontier town situated in the high Arctic, exploring the political, environmental and social implications due to climate change after the polar icecaps have melted and nations compete for last remnants of oil in the Arctic.
Lisa Macklem at SpoilerTV.com provides a great plot summary:
Borealis takes place in the near future, 2045, in the not so near Arctic, in the International Arctic Free Zone. The central character is Vic Carboneau, played by Ty Olsson. Vic owns the tavern/hotel/brothel and is the Customs Officer. Meanwhile, a number of different international interests are vying for control of the area and the valuable mining and oil rights. Patrick Gallagher plays Taq, Vic’s best friend and right hand man. Terry Chen plays Roger, the town’s de facto coroner/doctor. Alison Freemont is an internationally known biologist/conservationist/blogger, played by Michelle Harrison. She’s trying to keep the indigenous wildlife from being driven to extinction. Greyston Holt plays Dan an American postdoctoral student who ends up helping both Vic and Alison. Cristina Rosato plays Bettina, one of the girls who works out of Vic’s place. Clive, played by Bryan Dick, is one of her customers and a recovering addict who also does some work for Vic. While Vic does his best to keep things running smoothly in Borealis, the “law” comes in the form of the Canadian military led by Raminder, played by Karan Oberoi. When things start to heat up in Borealis and an international shake up of control looms, the UN sends in Svetlana, played by Christine Horne, to keep things on an even keel.
Borealis has a broad appeal that extends beyond science fiction fans (note: this is a no ‘squeeing’ zone). As I tweeted to co-star, Canadian actor Patrick Gallagher (IMDB profile; Twitter: @PatrickGman) over the weekend:
The issues raised in Borealis are timely and encompass international law, the environment and geopolitics. As Brian Case of the CBC recently wrote in an article entitled “Sovereignty issues loom as Arctic sea ice shrinks: Global focus on region’s resources intensifying:
“The Arctic is a rapidly changing region,” says Charles Emmerson, author of The Future History of the Arctic.
“Access to some parts of the Arctic, particularly coastal areas of interest to oil and gas companies and to shippers, is expected to increase as a function of climate change and improved technologies.”
“Any country that can successfully establish a claim will gain control of a vast amount of sea floor resources in the central portion of the Arctic Ocean,” says geologist Hobart King, who manages a geology.com website.
Where there is doubt about boundaries, shared jurisdiction may come into play.
Regrettably, while Borealis boasts a stellar cast of great actors, a riveting, fast-paced storyline, and great special effects (including a spectacularly choreographed MMA-style cage match scene), it has not been picked up as a series by SPACE (Twitter: @SPACEchannel) following an internal decision by its new parent company, Bell Media – (Twitter: @BellMediaPR.
However, the show’s lead, Ty Olsson, (IMDB profile; Twitter: @TyOlsson) has undertaken a personal grassroots PR campaign on Twitter (hashtag #Borealis and #Borealis2045), which offers a glimmer of hope.
If you were able to catch Borealis and enjoyed it as much as I did (I couldn’t find a video version on the SpaceCast website), I encourage you to send an email to The Space Channel: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Bell Media President, Kevin Crull (Twitter: @kevincrull) and tell them. We need more quality Canadian programming.
Borealis will put you in a submission hold and keep you asking for more.
- Borealis – All New Must-see TV! (dnmmagazine.com)
- The Future; Borealis 2045 (immrfabulous.com)
- Spoiler TV Interview with Supernatural actor Ty Olsson (houseofvampires.wordpress.com)
- Borealis – Season 1, Pilot Episode (dnmmagazine.com)
- Arctic To Be Ice Free Before 2010 (stevengoddard.wordpress.com)
- Setting up international Arctic governance (rbth.ru)