I’m a pretty big fan of television. There’s nothing I like more than kicking back on the couch with a bag of chips and a can of pop, ready to waste a couple hours watching The Simpsons, That 70s Show, or Lost. With the lack of pertinent prime time recently, though, I’ve been a bit disappointed with TV’s offerings. But this past Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, I was able to catch a mini-series corroboration between GlobalTV and the BBC called Burn Up.
The story is set in the not so distant future, when leaders from developing nations are meeting in Calgary for a summit on the new “Kyoto 2” agreement, concerning carbon trading and caps, among other things. The main characters are the CEO of a fictional oil company in Britain (Rupert Penry-Jones), the “minister of renewables” recently hired by said company (Neve Campbell), and the marketing spin doctor in charge of way too much (Bradley Whitford).
Throw in a dedicated and passionate aboriginal woman (Sandrine Holt) with a burning message for the oil tycoons and her attempt to grab attention by burning herself alive, and you’ve got the makings of a brilliant, relevant, thought-provoking four hours of television. Her suicide letter included hard facts on climate change affects to her people, and six simple and moving words. “Think of me when you lie.”
The show was a fascinating look into government politics. At one point I said to myself, “Is that how summit meetings work?” I can only assume it is… and I was impressed. Much more organised than any House of Commons gathering in Ottawa. Even the way the US filibustered the new agreement was orderly, albeit frustrating as hell.
In the end, the good guys won, but the US still got their way. We saw dramatic changes of opinion from more than a couple characters, learned of the possibility of waning oil reserves in the Middle East, and were shocked by the fictional (or is it?) readiness of the US government to “eliminate” any high-profile opposition. Eye-opening, to be sure. If you can find it online, I highly recommend you watch it. (Or not, since watching streaming video of previously aired programs is now illegal, stupid mofos.)
Oh, and if you’re American, don’t expect to see this on the local airwaves anytime soon. I’m not surprised by this at all. And as a bonus, I found some pics on Flickr from the film set taken last November: