Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously, a 9-part series that travels the planet with celebrities and newscasters to show how climate change is rapidly altering our world, is available on a 5-disc DVD set and on Amazon Instant Video starting Sept. 7. Showtime Networks is replaying the series, co-directed by David Gelber and Joel Bach, on Sept. 5-7. It first first aired in April 2014. The series, featuring such stars such as Don Cheadle, Harrison Ford, Matt Damon, Olivia Munn, Ian Somerhalder and more, won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Series.
By Brett Kessler
Years of Living Dangerously, the epic series by Showtime that just won an Emmy, takes a panoramic look at the current state of climate change. Each episode follows several celebrity activists around the globe as they investigate the effects of drought, deforestation, coal emissions and other issues. Well-known newscasters assist the inquiry by interviewing scientists and locals from New York to Indonesia.
At its most effective, the series’ spotlight approach shows how climate change is the nexus point connecting a variety of issues, indiscriminately affecting different regions around the world. For example, the first episode cuts back and forth between Texas and Syria, two places where drought has shut down agricultural production and rising temperatures threaten to corrode the soil even further. A Syrian woman, now a refugee in Turkey, says that the land “became like adesert, a salt wasteland. I can’t even describe how terrible it was.” She echoes the sentiments of those in Texas, unable to raise cattle now that their land is too dry to support life.
Harrison Ford visits Indonesia, where great swaths of forest are being cleared to make way for lucrative palm oil plantations. The process of clearing the land involves burning carbon-rich peat, releasing carbon pools up to ten times larger than those found in the forest.
In another segment, Olivia Munn visits Washington state to learn how the use of coal is worsening ocean acidification, threatening marine life and jeopardizing the seas ability to act as a carbon sink.
The series is structured with an eye toward dispelling popular myths about climate change. Interviews with Texas evangelicals about the proverbial battle between science and faith are effective, to a point, but this segment will leave those already on board with the science hungering for something more substantial.
Still, Years of Living Dangerously ultimately offers a thoughtful, cinematic look at a whirlwind of topics, with something to impress every viewer. Few have attempted a project of such scope with such a first-rate cast of activists, reporters, and scientists. Years of Living Dangerously will engage and enrage both seasoned activists and casual viewers.