I watched the first few episodes of “Salvation” after looking through Amazon Prime for something to watch on the elliptical at the gym as there are only so many podcasts you can listen to and YouTube lectures you can watch before you need a break. The first four episodes are online, and it’s worth a look as it’s decent if one-dimensional popcorn fare, brain candy that will entertain those of us who like apocalyptic drama.
The story begins with an MIT grad student named Liam Cole who discovers the woman of his dreams and the fact that a “planet killer” asteroid is going to hit earth in about six months. The problem is that someone else knows, and they have something to hide. Or do they? Some of this is resolved after episode four. A lot of questions remain.
As an economist and a libertarian, I find the show kind of interesting as it explores a pretty classic public goods problem (asteroid protection is nonrival and nonexcludable, meaning it’s hard to provide via standard market channels) while at the same time exploring the tensions between the government (represented by Deputy Secretary of Defense Harris Edwards) and maverick entrepreneur Darius Tanz (a barely-fictionalized version of Elon Musk). The government has the resources. Tanz has the vision and the intuition. The tension is important over all four episodes.
There are a lot of tropes that viewers will find familiar. There’s an illicit and rocky office romance between people who should know better. The nerds feel unappreciated. Boy meets girl. Planet-killing asteroid is about to kill the planet. And so on.
I’m interested in how this finishes. I’m not sure it will be worth a second season.
I haven’t (yet?) bought the new season of “Fear the Walking Dead.” The next season of “The Walking Dead” isn’t coming until late October. I’ve heard “meh” reviews about the new season of “House of Cards,” and the second season of “Stranger Things” won’t be released until around Halloween.