Usually the best future casting videos that aren’t actually science fiction films or TV come from corporate concept videos, usually car companies. But Showtime series The Affair pulled off a major futurism coup in its 5th and final season by giving viewers a look into the world of 2053. 

One the characters, named Joanie, played by Anna Paquin (True Blood, X-Men), is living her own life in the future of the series while trying to uncover the mysteries of her family. If you’re a fan of the show, beware, there may be a couple of spoilers here. 

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In short, in the show, the world of 2053 features all nearly electric cars (Joanie has trouble getting gas for an old car), and the environmental apocalypse that’s being predicted today is coming to pass, complete with major coastal erosion. It turns out that Joanie is a coastal engineer, working to try to help save the planet, even as her own personal life unravels. 

During the final season, which had its finalize on Sunday, Nov. 3, the show gives a ton of great futurecasting imagery. 

First, it appears that smart homes are now common. While tending to her indoor produce farm, the house reports on the health and growth status of the plants. The news isn’t good (remember, the world is ending). 

At another point, after changing her mind on committing suicide via overdosing on pills, Joanie spits them out into the toilet. But instead of getting rid of the evidence, the smart toilet begin analyzing the contents of her deposit, something she desperately wants to avoid, lest someone get a whiff of her suicidal tendencies. 

In another scene, her boss at the environmental company chats with her while swiping across a translucent computer on her desk. 

We see the same kind of computer, but in mobile form, when Joanie is sitting alone at a dive bar. She swipes through a couple of videos (presumably of her children) before folding the tiny translucent screen up and tucking it away into her purse. 

The translucent computer dynamic comes up again later when Joanie is at home dictating a message to her clear laptop, through which we can see her legs. 

But then the smart home concept comes up again, as an unexpected call comes up and she’s able to — via voice command, GPS, and embedded video systems in her home — quickly determine that the caller is calling from her very doorstep. 

Finally, while at the beach, Joanie (remember SPOILERS) gets a hunch about the suspicious death of her mother. So she goes to the spot where her mother died, pulls out a pair of smart glasses, and tells the device to recreate, via augmented reality overlay, what the weather conditions and moon position where for the location on the date her mother died. The evidence doesn’t fit with what the police report found, which solidified her hunch that her mother was murdered. 

Frequently, when a drama-centric show set in the present attempts to delve into the future, the just get so many things wrong. But the producers of The Affair hit a home run, and nailed it.  


Cover image via Showtime