“Exant” is a term in biology referring to a still living species, family, or genera. You can think of it as the opposite of “extinct.” That little fact hints at the science and the mystery of Extant, the new science fiction drama starring Halle Berry and produced by Steven Spielberg.
The show begins with Halle Berry’s character Molly Woods returning from a 13-month solo mission aboard Extant‘s equivalent of the International Space Station. The Nerdist-exclusive clip below shows how Extant‘s space scenes were inspired directly by movies like Gravity (even though the show was working on a much tighter deadline) and how the show crafted a plausible future:
It’s always encouraging to see Hollywood trying so hard to get its science right. According to the producers, the show worked directly with NASA engineers and scientists to make sure the mechanics of the space station were accurate. And even the near-future imagining of Extant‘s spinning space station is plausible. It’s based on a spinning wheel design called a “Stanford torus,” which creates artificial gravity in a microgravity environment by effectively forcing its occupants against the sides of the station–like a spinning carnival ride. The movie Elysium used the same concept.
And Extant‘s imagining of our future phones, tablets, and even trashcans is refreshingly believable. It’s easy to picture our devices as basically just displays. According to the show’s producers, that’s the important part. “It should feel like a real story that just happens to be set in the future,” says production designer Cabot McMullen.
As for Halle Berry’s character having an immaculately conceived space-baby, put your disbelief in zero-G.
Extant airs Wednesdays at 10 PM/9 PM Central.