Extant is a Science Fiction TV Drama series which has broad appeal but which would also make excellent teen empathy media, combining as it does mystery, drama, a high-pace plot, with serious questions about what it means to be human. Also (and thankfully in a homily-free way) Extant has a lot to say about family. And the drama and difficulty inherent in accommodating difference in our closest relationships. The series sits firmly in the science fiction tradition of exploring the relationship between human and machine (artificial intelligence) but with a more nuanced and empathic tale to tell. Ethan, the small artificial intelligence at the heart of the story, has all the curiosity of a small child but set to turbo charge. Programmed to seek human connection, in a neat twist Ethan can only learn from the behaviour of the human beings around him. Without 'nature' Ethan is all 'nurture', and has a keen (and very child-like) awareness of hypocrisy and fudging. He can only become what he is taught by example, whether those who built him like it or not. It's an interesting premise with some surprising results.

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Created by Mickey Fisher
executive producer Steven Spielberg