“I Don’t Need Your Help! I’m a Scientist!” Biotechnology, Digital Visual Effects, and (the Lack of) Human Control of Life in Zoo

Michael Fuchs


This article explores the American television series Zoo (CBS, 2015–2017). The show’s convoluted narrative revolves around mutations that are put into motion by genetic engineering. These mutations first affect animals and later humans The article argues that the biotechnological control of life, which takes center stage narratively, is mirrored in the television show’s use of digital visual effects to create animals. More importantly, Zoo suggests that this control of life is nothing but an illusion, as the mutation quickly gets out of hand and leads to unexpected consequences. Thus, the television series reflects the Anthropocene condition, which is characterized by the emergence of humankind as a planetary force; however, the planetary effects of anthropogenic activities have been largely unwanted. While Zoo seems to expose these processes of our age, the article also stresses that as a television show, Zoo must reach a broad audience. Thus, the critique of human fantasies of planetary control are, somewhat paradoxically, accompanied by an anthropocentrism which arguably undermines the show’s ecological subtexts.


science fiction; American television; technoscience; genetic engineering; biotechnology, environmental criticism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17951/nh.2022.7.101-115
Data publikacji: 2022-12-28 15:00:02
Data złożenia artykułu: 2021-11-24 08:49:35


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