Humanity has been obsessed with the end of the world nearly as long as we’ve been upright and self-aware. We’ve spent centuries predicting it, arguing about it, fretting over it, and imagining all the myriad ways we might, as a species, cease to be. Now Hulu is teaming up with the BBC for Hard Sun, a new TV series that asks, what would it be like to try and enforce the law in a world that knows, unequivocally, that the end is nigh?
Deadline reports that Hulu has partnered with the BBC and Luther creator Neil Cross for the high-concept “pre-apocalyptic crime drama.” Hard Sun stars Jim Sturgess (Cloud Atlas) and Agyness Deyn (Sunset Song) as a pair of partnered London detectives who butt heads with each other, even as they attempt to uphold law and order in a world crumbling beneath the knowledge that, in five years, it will all be over. Sturgess’ Robert Hicks is “a family man” but also “profoundly corrupt.” Deyn’s Elaine Renko, however, is described as “difficult and damaged, but utterly incorruptible.”
Hard Sun was originally commissioned by the BBC in 2015. Here’s how BAFTA-winning creator Neil Cross described the show at the time:
Imagine the world you see when you look out your window… except it’s been given a death sentence. This isn’t science fiction. This is the real world. There’s no hero to come save us; no contingency plan. We’ve got five years. This is the world of Hard Sun… and the world of Elaine Renko and Robert Hicks. What’s it like, trying to keep order, trying to enforce the law in a city that, day by day, slips closer to certain destruction? How do you get up in the morning? How do you get out of bed and leave your family and go out there, putting your own life at risk? And what about the predators? What about the murderers, the rapists, the thieves? What about the psychopaths, the religious nuts, the cult leaders, the serial killers? Who among them would fear a prison sentence, in a world like this? Who among them would fear legal consequences? What does a life sentence even mean, any more? What’s the point of justice in the face of Armageddon?
It sounds like this has the potential to be a really interesting twist on the bog-standard TV cop procedural. It also will, hopefully, do what science fiction does best: examine and critique our own current society through the lens of a fantastically different one. Certainly, the end of the world is as relevant a topic as ever, whether from the threat of climate change, increased tensions between the nations of the world, antibiotic resistance, terrorism…you name it. An exploration of how one continues to function and push forward in the face of despair is something that will no doubt hit home for many.
Hard Sun will begin filming its six-episode first season in London this month. It should be a noteworthy addition to Hulu’s lineup of originals and exclusives, including 11.22.63, The Path, and the upcoming The Handmaid’s Tale.
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