HBO Max Is Turning The Uninhabitable Earth Into a Fictional Series

This aerial view shows a flooded area beside the Oppegawa River in Kawagoe, Japan, on October 13, 2019, one day after Typhoon Hagibis left at least 15 people dead.
This aerial view shows a flooded area beside the Oppegawa River in Kawagoe, Japan, on October 13, 2019, one day after Typhoon Hagibis left at least 15 people dead.
Photo: Getty

The climate apocalypse is coming to your television. HBO announced Wednesday that the David Wallace-Wells’ book The Uninhabitable Earth will influence a fictional anthology series that examines what our future may look like as climate change progresses.


The book gave the world a glimpse of the fear-inducing world full of droughts, floods, and fires that we may soon enter if the climate crisis goes unchecked. The vivid pictures the book painted will now be translated to the screen. Oscar- and Emmy-award winner Adam McKay who wrote and directed The Big Short will help visualize the gloom and doom in all its horrible glory for the show’s first episode. The series will be on HBO Max, a new streaming service coming this spring.

Hollywood has become more engaged on the climate front recently. Actors put it front and center at the Golden Globes last week, and Jane Fonda has led weekly climate strikes called Fire Drill Fridays that’s about to expand nationally. With climate change making a huge impact on culture, even including how we talk, it makes sense that HBO is diving into how to tell the story of what the future holds if we don’t act.

“The plan is for the first season to enlist top directors and writers to join in creating a provocative and entertaining series that taps into our unease with just how delicately our planet is teetering on the precipice,” a statement on the show reads.

“First season,” eh? Sounds like the creators of the show may give us climate nerds at least a couple of seasons of this, and Earther reached out to HBO for comment on this. We’ll let you know if they clarify the point.

I am a big fan of any type of TV that involves end-of-the-world drama. The Walking Dead? Loved it (until I didn’t). A Quiet Place? Ugh, such a great scary-ass movie. Black Mirror? That’s definitely an apocalyptic show I can dig.


The Uninhabitable Earth is a little different, though, because it focuses on a topic that’s a bit more real than zombies and aliens (though Black Mirror isn’t as far from our present as we may like to think). The climate crisis is something people should be scared of it, and the show’s creators need to treat it sensitively and realize the crisis is already here for many people in the world. I wonder whether this show will attempt to ground the crisis by putting people at the center, something that wasn’t always clear in the book.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but I am here for it. Let’s freak everyone the hell out. It’s about time, baby.


Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.


Times up, time to leave!

Just as long as no one starts nuking cyclones it sounds like it might be worth a watch.

All time fave enviro thriller would have to be Edge of Darkness with Bob Peck and Joe Don Baker (not the Mel Gibson movie), just so damn well made and totally believable.