Netflix’s newest original show Another Life kind of flew under the radar and was not really discussed by many people. As San Diego Comic Con was last week, I kind of expected a sci-fi show to have a presence, but it was no where to be found. Going into this show I knew two things. The first was that Katee Sackhoff was the star and the second was that Justin Chatwin was also starring in it. One thing to know about me is that War of the Worlds was one of my favorite movies growing up. Because of this fact I’ve always had a soft spot for Justin Chatwin. To say the least, I wanted to watch this show just based off of those two factors. As a regular person without that knowledge, I don’t know if many people knew about this show. Let alone if anyone was interested in it.
Here are my thoughts on the first episode and a general “go or no go”. There are minor spoilers, but I won’t get into much detail.
Right off the bat I was a bit confused as to what was happening. The CG choices are… interesting to say the most. It was a bit goofy looking, especially since other Netflix shows have put out some incredible CG scenes. The premise is pretty easy to follow. An alien artifact came to Earth and now we’re trying to figure out why it’s here. Chatwin’s character has spent his career trying to find something that will resonate with the “thing”. Their goal is to talk to it by any means necessary. His wife is Sackhoff’s character, Nico. Nico is a… well to be honest she feels like a Cylon. She’s cold and calculating, but definitely cares about her family. She is sent to space for a mission that she really can’t say no to, despite her husband and daughter’s pleas.
We get on the ship and meet the crew who has apparently been under the command of another guy up until now. They clearly are uncomfortable that Nico is in command. The crew is pulled out of sleep early because they’re off course and Nico needs help getting them back on track. They try to brain storm and this is where the main power struggle happens. I won’t discuss more, you’ll have to watch it yourself.
Some more stuff happens and we find Nico having to save the day. One of the best lines from this episode is “pretend you’re drunk at a bar, the walls are your friends.” I got a good chuckle when she said that. The space scenes are pretty cool, they do stick mainly to the ship and I will say that the CG when they’re doing the “hologram phone calls” is actually really cool. Nico continues to struggle with missing her family and trying to figure out if she made the right choice, but also struggling with her crew and whether or not they accept her.
I get some pretty strong “female empowerment” and “youth empowerment” vibes from this show. One of the characters even mentions that everyone on the crew is in their 20s (I think with the exception of Nico) and they all seem like they’re experts in their given fields. The crew dynamic is strange, they don’t really feel like full characters yet (duh, it’s the first episode), but I am already kind of annoyed with a few of them. The girl Michelle is blatantly ignoring Nico’s command and honestly she should be reprimanded for it. That’s clear insubordination and in a government entity that would not fly in the least. Nico just takes it though, well at first. William, the AI on the ship, is pretty awesome. I think so far he’s my favorite character. I also like that he is a pretty fleshed out character right off the bat. He has emotions, just like a human, and actually was on Nico’s side the whole time.
Here are the minor spoilers so skip down to the next header to avoid them!! The character Ian is a bit of a pain in the ass. He’s cocky and ignorant and clearly has no intentions of following Nico’s orders. He also definitely wanted to mutiny so when he says he “did not want it to go that way” that was complete bogus. It was stupid for him to even deny that, because he caused the mutiny! Also, there’s no way that he could say that if he had a kid he would put the crew’s life before the child’s. Plus, the entire Earth! He really did endanger everyone, not just the crew. What happens at the end is a bit bonkers and I can say that I definitely did not see that coming! Yikes! The thing that bothered me was her reaction to it. She seemed pretty unscathed and unbothered by what she did. What are they trying to imply here with that incident? That moment alone makes me want to continue watching the show.
Go or No Go?
So, go or no go? It’s hard to say. I think that if you have nothing else to watch, or if you’re tired of watching the same show over and over, or the show you watch over and over is being taken off of Netflix (R.I.P. The Office’s run), then yes it’s a go. However, with the amount and quality of the content that streaming services, including Netflix, are cranking out these days I can see this getting swept under the rug pretty quickly. It’s sad because I feel like it could have that Dark Matter vibe to it, but it is definitely not as much fun. Again, I’m only watching it for Justin Chatwin. Even Katee Sackhoff’s character has a bit mundane feeling for me.
I genuinely do want to like this show, but I can see the growing pains and the fact that these actors and actresses aren’t fully comfortable with the characters in the first episode. I’ll keep on top of it to see if anything improves, but if it doesn’t by episode four then I’m going to put it on the back burner to catch up on other shows that I really need to catch up on (cough Krypton cough). So yes, just basing this opinion and review on episode one of Another Life I’m a “Meh” on the series for sure.
What do you think? Did you enjoy Another Life? Does it get better as it goes on? Let us know in the comments!