What if corporations ruled the world? Syfy's Incorporated gives four nightmare scenarios

A work-life balance may be one of the most difficult relationships to maintain as an adult. Taking work home can burden your social life and handling personal issues at work can weaken your job performance. Syfy’s new science fiction drama Incorporated explores a future that precludes that balance because everyone’s shelter, food, and, literally, life is controlled by the corporations they work for.

The show is set in the year 2074. Climate change has ravaged the world and bankrupted governments, which has lead to multinational corporations controlling 90 percent of the globe. Since resources are scarce, the land is separated into two zones: Green and Red. The Green Zone is the corporation-controlled section with the modern amenities and plush life reserved for people who are employees or their immediate relatives. The Red Zone is in perpetual squalor with limited to no resources reserved for everyone that is not permitted into the Green Zone.

Digital Trends previewed the first five episodes of the new season, which premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET. It’s strange, eerie, and got us thinking. So, in honor of the premiere, we picked four nightmarishly realistic scenarios from the show and how they differ from real life. (SOME VERY MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD.)

Giving birth becomes a luxury

In real life, for a business, hiring someone is essentially an investment and some corporations try to minimize how much time that investment is not working. Up until last year, the United Postal Service was sued for pregnancy discrimination after it required a pregnant worker to go on unpaid leave — causing her to lose her medical coverage — due to her informing the company a medical professional recommended she stop doing heavy lifting.

Incorporated showed us how good we have it.

Incorporated showed us how good we have it. In the show, companies show prospective parents a video that explains how “the corporation demands your peak performance at all time” and how pregnancy is the leading cause of marital strife and divorce. Natural births are considered a liability as the corporation would have no way of controlling which genetic defects or abnormalities that could show up in the child. And so the new way of having children in the Green Zone involves using a surrogate known as a “gestator.” For those who want to do it the old-fashioned way, the couple will get no health care assistance from the corporation and will have to pay for everything themselves.

Non-Disclosure Agreement = memory wiping

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) are pretty standard employment contracts that usually stipulate an employee can not speak about private company information or speak bad about the company either during or after employment. Google once fired someone hired to promote Chromebooks at Best Buy stores for posting a picture of himself with the Google uniform on social media prior to the Google I/O event in 2012. NDAs are serious business, but not normally life threatening.

In a show where corporations are fighting over natural resources, potentially leaking classified information puts one character in Incorporated under treason charges. Once the corporation deems the employee no longer valuable, it executes their NDA. Executing an NDA in Incorporated means wiping that person’s memory clean of all knowledge. (Yes, all knowledge. Not just of their time at the company.) It’s hard to leak secrets when you don’t even know who you are.

Non-compete clauses come with a kill switch

Similar to NDAs, non-compete clauses in contracts have commonly stipulated that an employee agrees to not work for a competing employer as a means to protect the company’s intellectual property from being used by competitors. But, in the technology field where cell phone carriers are also providing TV service, almost every company is a competitor to another, making it hard for people to have careers. The punishment is usually a hefty fine, but never your life.

Every paycheck is a gamble.

In Incorporated, corporations play the role of the government and anyone wanting to change jobs is referred to as a “defector.” To preclude defections, high ranking executives possessing sensitive company information are implanted with a virus that contains a kill switch that will terminate that person if they try to leave the company.

Your paycheck is entirely based on company’s value

Cryptocurrencies are becoming so popular that some people are being paid entirely in Bitcoin. Unlike dollars, the value of a these cryptocurrencies have a history of being volatile, with one Bitcoin being worth $500 one day and $400 the next. It would be pretty inconvenient if you never knew how much your paycheck would be worth.

That fear is a game in Incorporated where people living in the the Red Zone are not paid in dollars but instead are paid in the currency of their employer, referred to as “Black Coin.” The best chance for those people to get better pay is to “roll a surge,” referring to a split-second in the market where the exchange rate makes a considerable jump before leveling off. In essence, every paycheck is a gamble.

These are just a few of the nightmare scenarios in Incorporated. The show debuts tonight at 10 p.m. ET on the Syfy channel. The pilot episode can be streamed on YouTube for free.

Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Skip the flowers and sunshine this spring and watch the best shows on Hulu

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Mid90s, BlacKkKlansman, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Jonah Hill's Mid90s, vampire action movie Blade, and more.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now (April 2019)

Amazon Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be a major undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.

Weekend box office: Curse of La Llorona tops Shazam! over slow Easter weekend

Warner Bros. Pictures' horror film The Curse of La Llorona beat pundits' predictions and middling reviews to end the two-week reign of superhero adventure Shazam! at the top of the U.S. box office.
Movies & TV

Best new podcasts of the week of April 13, 2019: Spacebridge and more

Feel like you’re drowning in podcasts? In this weekly series, we’ll help you pick out the best of the new and returning shows. This week’s picks include a spacebridge, love advice, Topher Grace, and bite-sized history.
Movies & TV

HBO’s Game of Thrones episode 3 preview looks ahead to the Battle of Winterfell

HBO released a brief video that teases the upcoming third episode of Game of Thrones' eighth and final season. It will feature the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell that pits the show's key characters against The Night King's undead army.
Movies & TV

Want to make Netflix browsing even easier? Try this useful trick

If you know exactly what category of film you're looking for on Netflix, you'll find this hack for the streaming service useful. It allows you to manually browse genres and subgenres of interest.
Movies & TV

Watch the Captain Marvel, other MCU post-credits scenes before Avengers: Endgame

Catch up on the Marvel Cinematic Universe's ongoing storyline before Avengers: Endgame's big finale by watching the post-credits scenes for every Marvel film, including Captain Marvel, via Twitter.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on HBO and what’s leaving in May 2019

Whether you're a cable lifer or a staunch cord cutter, there's never been a better time to get down with premium TV. May 2019 brings the Deadwood movie, the final episode of Game of Thrones, and the PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 on HBO.

Swing Thor’s Stormbreaker during the Fortnite-Avengers: Endgame crossover

Epic Games revealed a new crossover with Marvel and Disney's Avengers: Endgame film, showing off Captain America's shield. Players will also get to summon the powers of a god as well when they wield Thor's Stormbreaker.
Movies & TV

Disney Plus will have less than 20% of the content available on Netflix

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Plus compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.