Immigration is a hot button political issue, and it probably always will be. A new show called Refugees, currently being developed by the BBC and Astresmedia, a Spanish company, takes this topic and gives it a nice science fiction twist for all of us genre fans.
The concept is that Io9 lays out is simple and bare bones. When millions of immigrants from the future show up in a small rural community, the results are disastrous as the area becomes over populated and overrun. That’s as specific as the description gets, but you can imagine some of the issues. There’s going to be prejudice, jealousy, fear, curiosity, and many more. Not to mention the strain on resources, space, food, and all the usual jazz.
I’m curious to see why the time travelers abandon the future in the first place. The obvious option is that they wrecked up the planet, but there are a lot of ways that could go down. Could be environmental degradation, the after effects of catastrophic war, maybe there are creatures invading from other planets, or hell, maybe Terminator has finally happened and the machines have risen up.
This isn’t exactly a new concept, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be done well. Outsiders coming into a new area and causing chaos is one of most basic story structures of all literature, and this is one that sci-fi has embraced in a big way over the years. You’ve probably seen movies like Alien Nation and District 9, among dozens more than I’m not thinking about right now, about massive influxes from other worlds. Clifford D. Simak’s Our Children’s Children tells almost this exact story, and the fifth and final season of Fringe is a tale of oppressive invaders from a ruined future.
Those are just the ones that are popping out of the top of my head right now. And hell, Trey Parker and Matt Stone did an entire South Park episode about immigrants coming back from the future to find work.
Aside form the topic of the show, Refugees is unique in another way. Because the two sides are developing this together it will air simultaneously in both the U.K. as well as in Spain. The series is also being filmed in English, and the BBC’s current plan is to try to sell the show to other English-speaking countries. That means there’s a strong chance that, when this is ready to air, we could see it on this side of the pond eventually.