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Series / Incorporated

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In corp we trust.

Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.
—attributed to Benito Mussolini

Incorporated (2016) was a one-hour show on Syfy. In a 2074 Milwaukee, climate change has wreaked havoc on the populace, and most governments have collapsed. Taking their place are corporations, that have become de facto governments who control areas called Green Zones. The remaining territories are called Red Zones, where governance is weak or non-existent.

One man, Ben Larson (Sean Teale) real name: Aaron, escapes the Red Zone, infiltrating the Green Zone to take them down and find the woman he loves. He is married to the daughter of the CEO and in a position to become an executive but only if he compromises every remaining principle he has. In the process, he will take on the entire system — with deadly consequences.

Incorporated came from executive producers Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Ted Humphrey and Jennifer Todd. The show was canceled after one season.

This series provides examples of:

  • All for Nothing: Ben discovers that Elena doesn't want to leave because she's a spy for La Résistance and joined to keep her family alive in the first place.
  • And Then What?: Hendricks is constantly asking Ben this about his plans, highlighting they're ill-thought out and shortsighted.
  • Antihero: Ben is willing to frame people, get families kicked out of their home, lie, cheat, and even murder in order to get back Elena. His perhaps worst behavior, though, is the treatment of his wife who he fully intends to abandon after he rescues his ex.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: The first-season finale offers a cynical version of this as Elizabeth Krauss is chastised for ordering a drone strike that killed several SPIGA employees and quite possibly the only scientist who could have reversed the world's food shortage. Her chastiser then tells her that all is forgiven because she prevented high-value proprietary information from ending up in Inazagi hands.
  • Asshole Victim: Ben's rival Roger Caplan is beaten to death by our hero with a brick. Its after Roger threatened to cut up Elena, tried to blackmail Ben, and displayed a hundred other Kick the Dog moments.
  • Becoming the Mask: Essentially the series' central hook. Aaron has been Ben for so long that he's slowly becoming him for real and it's causing him to suffer Motive Decay. Played with as Ben actually probably should do this as his original motive was highly questionable and based on flawed information.
  • Bland-Name Product: One currency in use is "blackcoins," a possible version of Bitcoins.
  • Butt-Monkey: Chad Peterson, in a very big way. He is Always Second Best to Ben in everything, the Unfavorite in his family, and forced to eat a rat at one point.
  • Company Town: Green Zones are a variant meant to provide a safe (and controlled) environment for corporate management.
  • Contraception Deception: Ben secretly installs a contraceptive implant in himself after promising his wife that they'd have a child. He forgets to wear it when he's Brainwashed and Crazy into forgetting his past.
  • Corporate Warfare/Private Military Contractors: The corporations have their own militaries.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The Green Zones.
  • Crapsack World: Any place outside of a Green Zone. Though even the Green Zones aren't so great, as anyone who steps out of the company line can and will be easily killed, mind-wiped, or exiled to the Red Zones.
  • Cyberpunk: A post-global warming disaster ravaged Earth where megacorporations rule the world. The protagonist is a morally ambiguous kid from the streets who wants to rescue his girlfriend from being a Sex Slave but uses duplicitous, bordering on outright evil, means to do so.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When Ben/Aaron asks Hendricks to aid him in his Memory Gambit, Hendricks finds out that Ben took no chances and laid all kinds of traps in the event Hendricks tried to let the memory loss be permanent.
  • Deadly Euphemism:
    • "Termination Of Contract" (Employee Is Killed)
    • "Nondisclosure Agreement" (Employee's Memories Are Completely Erased)
    • "Executive Club" (Brothel)
    • "Quiet Room" (Torture Chamber)
  • Designer Babies: In the Green Zones, procreation requires a permit and is a privilege given only to the top officers of the Corporations. All prospective parents are given the option to customize their babies physically (hair color, eye color, skin tone, etc.) and genetically (removing defective birth markers from their DNA coding). The use of surrogate mothers from the Red Zone is also a widely accepted practice.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: SPIGA's response to some farmers using their proprietary seeds is to have their corporate army unilaterally destroy the farm.
  • Divided States of America: In "Cost Containment," one of the currencies available at the currency exchange Aaron hacks to turn €2000 into nearly US$21,000 is the "Texan peso," implying that Texas finally managed to secede from the US.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Aaron is willing to do a lot in pursuit of Elena, up to and including stringing along an innocent woman, having an innocent man tortured and leveraging his only ally's family. But he isn't willing to have a child under these circumstances. In all honesty, Ben is a much better man than Aaron.
    • Julian is a Torture Technician and the head of State Sec but oddly is one of the kinder individuals in the show. He views himself as Necessarily Evil to keep some sort of infrastructure in place post-climate disaster. He always attempts to use the lightest touch possible.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The corporate rivalries, in this case INAZAGI vs SPIGA.
  • Explosive Leash: Inazagi uses a variant on this called the "Kusari", which is a fast-acting virus that triggers in the event a suspected defection occurs to another company.
  • Fallen States of America: The US is now a third-world country where voter turnout for the most recent election was 23%, Canada has had to build a border fence to keep Americans from illegally immigrating there, FEMA is said to be just "an old woman at a desk" by 2068, the Defense Department has ceased to exist, and China has its own feed-the-children charity ads for American children.
  • Fantastic Slurs: "(reffo) skint" for Red Zone denizens. Shown Their Work Fake Nationality term as "reffo" is Australian slang for "refugee" and "skint" is British slang for "broke," since Red Zone denizens are impoverished climate refugees.
  • Food Porn: Literally. Due to the limited supply of certain food items, videos of attractive women (and presumably men) seductively eating such foods have become a new guilty pleasure.
  • Green Aesop: Most of the problems are caused by Global Warming, melting the ice caps, flooding Indonesia, Miami and New York City, placing Providence, Rhode Island behind levees, turning Iceland, Siberia and Anchorage, Alaska into tropical vacation destinations, and anything south of Wisconsin is now called "the dust storm states."
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode's name is a popular term or buzzword in modern corporate jargon.
  • Indentured Servitude: SPIGA maintains an "executive club" brothel for high-ranking executives, which recruits concubines for a 20-year contract.
  • I Want Grandkids: Laura's mother, who also happens to be Ben's boss, pulled strings to get them a permit to reproduce.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Theo has spent his whole life eating synthetic food. When he gets his hands on a real steak, he tears into it like a wild animal.
  • Karma Houdini: Aaron/Ben. He had Chad framed twice, tortured, driven insane and killed and only suffered regret for his transgression.
  • La Résistance: It turns out one exists and Elena works for them.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: SPIGA's idea of a nondisclosure agreement is to mindwipe the former employee.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Renascienta Cosmetic Design, the company Laura works for, frequently has rich old women take their unwitting boytoys and have their faces reconstructed to look like the young versions of their late husbands.
  • Mega-Corp/N.G.O. Superpower: After SPIGA and Inazagi, two biotech corporations, buy out several of their closest rivals in 2050, becoming the largest corporations on the planet, they pretty much supersede any government's ability to control them.
  • Memory Gambit: Ben temporarily erases his memories of being Aaron to avoid being detected by the Everclear, storing them in a memory crystal to be restored later.
  • Motive Decay: Ben getting married and becoming a executive were all part of the plans to rescue his girlfriend from being a Sex Slave. However, he's since become so much like his cover identity and likes his wife that it's affecting him. Played With as Aaron was a wild-eyed impractical idealist who frequently screwed up the lives of those around him while Ben was a much more stable family man. His biggest problems result from his refusal to let go of Elena who became a sex worker willingly and is now undercover for La Résistance.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ben suffers tremendous guilt from framing Chad and other actions he's done to get promoted.
  • Only Electric Sheep Are Cheap: Bacon costs hundreds of dollars. Real meat is a luxury.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: Multinational Corporations have risen in power and now control 90% of the globe thanks to a Constitutional Amendment placing them above the law. These Corporations fight a covert war for market share and dwindling natural resources.
  • Population Control: In the Green Zones women are required to have IUDs until they qualify for a permit to reproduce.
  • Red Light District:
    • Southside, which is a holographic cyberpunk version of these.
    • Arcadia is the super-wealthy brothel that is its own massive building.
  • Room 101: The "Quiet Room", a torture chamber for anyone who breaks SPIGA's rules. People sent there have a tendency to not come back.
  • Secret Test of Character: In order to get promoted, Ben goes through a simulation where his wife is held hostage by men demanding information about Everclear. He lets her die... and is promoted.
  • Sex Slave: What Elena has become when she was put into an executive brothel. Rescuing her is the ultimate goal of Ben.
  • A Simple Plan: Aaron never expected finding and rescuing Elena to be fast or easy, but the prospect of bringing a child into a one-sided sham marriagenote  is clearly an unwanted spanner in the works.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: "Indentured Servitude" to be precise, but essentially the same thing. The Servants are allowed some freedom, but they're on a very tight leash.