Another Life – Netflix Season 1 Review


 

Season 1

Episode Guide

Across the Universe
Through the Valley of Shadows
Nervous Breakdown
Guilt Trip
A Mind of its Own
I Think We’re Alone Now
Living The Dream
How the Light Gets Lost
Heart and Soul
Hello

 

 

I love sci-fi. From Stargate SG-1 through to The Expanse and Star Trek, the exploits of a crew in the deep void of space has always fascinated me. With so many options out there in this field, any newcomer to the genre has a tough mountain to climb. A lot of this can be saved with a likable, charismatic group of characters and an original premise. Unfortunately, Netflix’s latest sci-fi series Another Life is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to this formula. Although the cast do eventually grow on you, the abundance of swearing, cheesy zoomed shots and superficial melodrama make it difficult to really warm to the crew. However, the story does get better as the show goes along, ending on one heck of a cliffhanger at the end but whether you’ll make it that far remains to be seen.

Set in the far reaches of the future, Another Life begins with a brief prologue that sees a strange alien artifact land on Earth and cause unrest among the masses. From here, we’re introduced to loving Mother Niko who says goodbye to her family and captains the Salvare, a ship heading for the artifact’s origin planet to make contact and find out what they want. Unfortunately things don’t go to plan and after realizing they’re flying off course, Niko is woken up along with a handful of other emotionally charged crew members to try and get them back on track.

From here, the rest of the series swings back and forth between stand-alone episodes and others that further the main narrative. There’s clear influences from Star Trek, Arrival, Nightflyers and all manner of different sci-fi shows here, all stitched together to create something that, whilst having some solid and enjoyable moments, misses its mark more often than not. Don’t get me wrong, seeing the crew embark on expeditions to strange planets is exciting, as are the various developments with the artifact on Earth, but the characters take longer than they should to warm to and a lot of this is thanks to the dialogue which really isn’t very good at all.

With tensions high during the opening few episodes, Another Life makes it incredibly difficult to empathise with anyone either. As tempers flare up almost immediately, with the first episode depicting a risky mutiny that backfires, you can’t help but wonder if this really is the best crew Earth could conjure up to save them. To be fair, this does improve as the series goes on, replaced by romantic subplots and plenty of inner turmoil for Niko to battle, but it all feels superficially created rather than an organic threat.

The abundance of swearing in the dialogue contributes toward the overly melodramatic tone too, with various zoomed and angled shots making Another Life feel more dated than it perhaps should. Some of the stand-alone narratives pluck ideas from other sources too, including a Groundhog Day-inspired episode and the artifact narrative feeling very similar to Arrival until late on when all is made clear.

Another Life is not an overly bad sci-fi series but it’s not a particularly good one either. It’s a very average series that does improve as it goes along but certainly requires some patience to see through those early hiccups. However, with an abundance of swearing, romantic melodrama and a whole host of cliches along the way, Another Life falls into the same pitfalls many other shows in this genre have succumbed to as well. The show does leave things wide open for a second season with a dramatic and pretty shocking cliffhanger which is worth considering given how the audience may react to this one. With so many other options in this genre, Another Life is a difficult one to recommend.

 


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5 thoughts on “Another Life – Netflix Season 1 Review”

  1. I watched all episodes hoping something interesting would happen. Don’t bother watching, it’s a waste of your time.

  2. I think there’s some merit to being a human drama with weird references. This is not as plot driven as most sci fi. But the creativity of the dream episodes, the honesty of crying over a crew mate death instead of cutting to the next set is pretty genius. And the red tunic issues in Star Trek disappears as seemingly important characters die. At the heart it is a show about various themes of being haunted by guilt. But with cool visuals.

  3. Twenty somethings conveniently working in designer underwear, over 27 is “ancient”, a mutiny while the ship was close enough to chat with mission leaders in earth with zero delay, and a new unhinged captain yelling derogatory insults to an AI, all in the first 40 minutes.
    Don’t waste your time.

  4. There are virtually no characters to give a crap about. (The AI and the protagonist’s little girl, I guess?) The tops are laid on thick (and man oh man, and I sick to death of the “artificial person develops sentience” trope). I’m supposed to take these angsty, flirty, hot-headed, drug-loving, undisciplined supermodel brats seriously as ASTRONAUTS? Sorry, not possible. You might as well ask me to believe that Twinkies are health food. In anything remotely resembling a real world, psychological testing would have eliminated Every Single One of these people as unfit for dangerous and crucial missions in deep space. They all have their heads permanently shoved up their asses as each one tries to spend his or her Important Astronaut Mission inhaling the farts of their own angst. If this is the best that the world’s space exploration organizations could scrape from planet Earth, the other 9 or so billion must be truly awful. I guess they thought Another Life was a slightly catchier title than Planet of the Useless Twits.

    I highly doubt that this trash will get greenlit for a second season (Rotten Tomatoes has both critic and audience scores in the toilet). But if it does, then the mystery that should be revealed in season 2 is that all of these events have been taking place in an alternate universe where the DNA of humanity was fundamentally altered by aliens such that everyone on the planet thinks feeling is always better than thinking, and so it’s natural for astronauts on the Most Important Space Mission in Human History to constantly pause their battle against relentless life-or-death problems to deal with their personal emotions for the 157th time.

  5. I made it through an episode and a half. It was terrible.

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