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Necessary Tomorrows

Finalist in Podcast Mini Series


The year is 2065, and Ursula, an AI instructor, has detected your anxiety about the future. She designed an audio course for you, “Necessary Tomorrows,” that blends science-fiction stories and audio documentaries preserved from the turbulent 2020s—another time when people were anxious about the future.

Named for science-fiction titan Ursula Le Guin, the AI knows that the antidote to anxiety is hope. But she also knows that hope is not an emotion, nor a synonym for optimism—it’s an everyday commitment to taking action to make things better. 

“Necessary Tomorrows” is structured in three episode pairs: one, a science-fiction drama from the 2020s that imagines a favorable future; the other, a nonfiction episode featuring real-life activists, scientists and researchers working to turn the first episode’s fictions into fact. 

The aim of “Necessary Tomorrows” is to avoid depicting dystopian futures that illustrate what would happen if the world ended. Instead, the series spins hopeful stories about what it would take for the world to not only carry on, but make encouraging progress. Taken altogether, it presents three tomorrows that are within our power to create.



What will our future look like? What should it look like?

These are some of the questions which inspired us to create “Necessary Tomorrows.” The idea behind the podcast was to not only explore the future of humanity, but to imagine solutions to today’s current problems through the entertaining lens of speculative and science fiction. We hoped to capture young audiences with exciting stories from their favorite international sci-fi writers, and then buttress those fictional stories with documentary interviews from scientists, activists and intellectuals — interviews that showed that science fiction is not as far-fetched as we imagine it to be.

One challenge we faced was to imagine not-too-distant futures that were not only interesting and accessible to people from all over the globe, but also turned normally dystopian sci-fi tropes on their head and instead painted hopeful pictures of tomorrows that felt within reach.

This is why it was so important to us that the writers and stories we featured were diverse and relevant. And it’s also why the stories span from AI-powered courtrooms and the fight to save precious ecosystems to Indigenous communities struggling to retain their local wisdom and identity. The whole series is brought together by a futuristic AI educator, Ursula, who interacts with our audience as though they are students in 2065 who are anxious about what’s to come. Ursula urges them to study the turbulent 2020s in order to alleviate some of this anxiety. This immersive framework helps to engage young audiences and transport them to another time, while simultaneously rooting them in the present, asking them to envision constructive solutions to the global challenges we face today.

We hope that through “Necessary Tomorrows,” we intrigue audiences with science fiction as a means of digging deeper into science fact, and spark important conversations and debates that will have long-lasting effects for generations to come 


An exclusive cut of the first two episodes of “Necessary Tomorrows” was launched at Tribeca in June 2023 as an Official Audio Storytelling Selection. It debuted to an enthusiastic audience at Tribeca’s Established Audio Artists Panel, hosted by podcaster Avery Trufelman (“Articles of Interest,” “99% Invisible”), where creator Brett Gaylor discussed the series’ origins and creative development. Since then, the full series has garnered 75K listens/views to date on YouTube alone, with thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. 

Apple Podcast peaks have been promising; throughout its run, “Necessary Tomorrows” has finished in the top 50 or top 100 sci-fi and fiction podcasts. It ranked as the #1 sci-fi podcast in South Africa and New Zealand, #3 in Australia, #4 in Brazil and Canada, #9 in Great Britain and #16 in the US. Meanwhile, it ranked as the #3 fiction podcast in South Africa, #7 in New Zealand, #11 in Brazil, #16 in Australia, #18 in Canada, #39 in Great Britain, and #66 in the US.

The podcast has also captivated the latest cohort of Doha Debates Ambassadors, a group of young change-makers from across the globe selected to participate in a 10-week program in which they develop advanced intercultural communication, facilitation and problem-solving skills. Ambassadors have engaged in discussion and analysis of the podcast and the global issues it addresses, using it as a jumping-off point to envision their own hopeful futures and collaborate to find actionable ways to make those visions a reality.


Video for Necessary Tomorrows

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Doha Debates, Imposter Media, and Wolf and the Door Studios


Entry Credits