Have you been watching “Minority Report” on FOX? Based on the numbers, the answer is a resounding no. Until this weekend, I was among that majority. But then everything changed when
the Fire Nation attacked I visited the set as part of a whirlwind press tour. After seeing the massive sets, chatting with the cast, and having a fascinating discussion with their MIT Media Lab consultant Greg Borenstein (check back later for the full interview!), I decided to give the show a try.
Now I”m here to tell you that if you like “Shadowrun” or “Neuromancer” or “Bladerunner,” then “Minority Report” is right up your alley. Sure FOX has let us down before – looking at you “Almost Human” – but don”t let the Firefly Effect come into play.
“Minority Report” succeeds on several fronts when it comes to predicting the future. It deals with the reality that by 2065 there will be WAY more minorities than white people. Yes the precogs and their former caretaker Wally are Caucasian since they”re from the movie, but every other main character is non-white. The best part? No one mentions this or thinks it”s extraordinary.
The show also uses Borenstein”s MIT knowledge well in extrapolating what tech might look like 48 years from now. Touch screens are everywhere, police stun guns are now much more powerful, optic contact lenses have just hit the market, and passively invasive technology has integrated so fully into daily life that no one really notices. Eye scans that do everything from track your location to triggering customized ads are commonplace and accepted.
But while the big changes like population demographics, police surveillance, and futuristic city skylines are pretty cool, it”s the little things that really make “Minority Report.” After all, what”s the fun of science predicting the future if they can”t have a little fun with it?
#1: Beyonce is “classic” music.
Time marches on. One of the running jokes of “Minority Report” is Vega”s love of old music. Her dad was a vinyl buff – and a vertical glass record player is something that needs to exist now please – leading the detective to cover her walls in old posters of singers from days gone by. It also leads to other people ribbing Vega for liking “oldies” like Demi Lovato and Beyonce. Plus it”s a clever way to work modern music into a futuristic story.
#2: Washington Red Clouds.
One of the little digs at the present that keeps popping up is the Washington Redclouds football team. Changing their names from the insanely racist Washington Redskins in 2019, the current mayor was a former player. There”s even a whole plot that revolves around the rare 2019 Redclouds jerseys that were made in limited quantities. In case you”re wondering where the name came from Red Cloud was a predominant American Indian leader in the 19th century.
#3: People are nostalgic for Tindr.
You know how older people today complain that Internet dating has ruined everything? That the mystique is gone and “swiping left” is a cynical way to meet someone? Yeah. In “Minority Report” now Millennials are the old folks waxing nostalgic about how dating was way better back when you had to interact with potential dates with texts and photos instead of just tapping wristbands to see if you”re compatible.
#4: Fertility has been drastically extended.
As humans continue to draw out our lifespans, biology evolves to match. Vega has a younger brother who looks to be around ten years old…because Vega”s mom had a mid-life crisis at 60, went off her birth control, and voilà!
#5: Selfies are easier than ever.
If you think selfie sticks are annoying, I”ve got bad news for you friend. The future predicted by “Minority Report” sees flexible wristband phones that turn into miniature drones at the push of the button. Aerial automated selfies mean no more double-chins ever!
#6: Food has gotten weird.
It”s not really a secret that insects and algae might eventually make up a significant part of our diet. It”s just fantastic to see a show set in 2065 follow through on this inevitability. From Bugs-On-A-Stick in the lower-class Sprawl to Vega”s favorite breakfast of algae and palm frittatas, the future of food is varied. If you”re grossed out by this, just remember it wasn”t that long ago that lobsters were considered so disgusting they were only fit for criminals.
#7: Green space is mandatory.
During my behind-the-scenes tour of the Metropolitan Police Precinct, actor Wilmer Valderrama who plays Lt. Will Blake said the green wall viewers can see in the background is government mandated. Sometime between now and 2065, environmentalism makes a comeback and having natural spaces in public buildings is required by law.
#8: Customer service comes from an unexpected place.
Right now a lot of customer service jobs in America are outsourced to other countries. According to “Minority Report,” this led to the destabilization of the middle class and a rise in crime. To solve this problem, the show envisions a future where convicts answer inbound customer calls instead of making license plates.
#9: Extinct species have returned.
We haven”t seen a woolly mammoth (yet), but the extinct Passenger Pigeon has made a triumphant return to the world. In 1850, they were the most plentiful bird in North America. By 1914, the last Passenger Pigeon would die at the Cincinnati Zoo. All due to the utter devastation at the hands of humans. Science is currently working on reviving the species. Hopefully by 2065 we”ll have really succeeded.
#10: No one uses cash.
While President Obama graces the $500 bill in the “Minority Report” future, hardly anyone will see it. In a digital, environmentally friendly world, paper money has become mostly obsolete. Cash is mostly used when you don”t want to leave a paper trail. Basically cash is the currency of criminals. Everyone else uses credits.
“Minority Report” airs Mondays at 9/8c on FOX.