Live to Fight Another Day -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Smoke and Mirrors -| Review Score – 2.5/5
My Own Worst Enemy -| Review Score – 2/5
Will to Power -| Review Score – 3/5
A Better Earth -| Review Score – 2/5
Gift from the Gods -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Never Gonna Give You Up -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Just a Rat in a Cage -| Review Score – 1.5/5
What’s Bourne -| Review Score – 3/5
D-Day -| Review Score – 2/5
When Another Life dropped last year, it genuinely felt like an algorithm had crafted the script. Unlikable characters, sketchy science and a hodgepodge of ideas blended together to create an underwhelming but bizarrely watchable sci-fi series. Now, it’s worth bearing in mind though that the science part of science fiction does some serious heavy lifting here.
The reaction from both critics and audiences alike wasn’t exactly positive, so the decision for Netflix to renew this one certainly raised a few eyebrows. So with a shiny second season and 10 more episodes to sit through, does Another Life justify its renewal? Does it redeem itself? And is this season an improvement of what we received last time? No.
If you were annoyed by the stupid characters, illogical decisions, emotionally unstable individuals and shaky-at-best science, season 2 does absolutely nothing to quell the doubters. The only positive here is that the episodes are quite a bit shorter and thus, an easier ride to sit through this time. Although it’s worth pointing out that ironically the longest episode is also the biggest filler. Go figure!
The story here though picks up right where we left off. The Salvare witnesses the Achaians blow up an entire planet and find themselves struggling to survive the onslaught of debris hitting their ship. Thankfully the group do manage to make it to safety, as an exterior shot from space shows the explosion moving inward in some absolutely bizarre feat of science. And that’s only the first half of the first episode. There are numerous examples of this, and whether it be a magnetar having no effect on the crew or convenient plot devices that show up at the last second to move characters from point A to point B, the writing is pretty woeful at times.
Away from the shaky science, the story itself ultimately plays out like a mishmash of different influences; there’s a bit of Star Trek here blended with The Expanse and the overarching story of Mass Effect. In essence, most of the tension here boils down to The Salvare squaring off against the Achaians in a sort of cold war. The future of Earth is left hanging in the balance with the crew aboard the Salvare all that stands between war and peace.
As far as plots go, the outline to this one is okay but the execution is excruciating at times. There are at least 3 episodes that feature standalone adventures late on involving Niko and Richard that literally serve no other purpose but to move them from one area to another. Yet, despite all of this you’ll undoubtedly remain watching to see how it all turns out at the end. But boy does this show make you work for these moments. And despite the intentions to end things on a high, Another Life does so with plot holes abound and the teasing glimpse of a possible third season to follow.
There are numerous subplots dotted throughout the episodes too that sort of just come and go when the script calls for it. There’s a tepid romance between Zayn and Bernie that ends nicely but just sort of crops up when the plot lulls, a mutinous event that tears the crew apart that leads nowhere and plenty of hair-raising cliff-hangers that are resolved within seconds of the next episode starting. In fact, the same trick of a spaceship leaving and returning is used on more than three different occasions. That’s before mentioning the skewed moral compass, the underutilized characters and and haphazard character motivations. Yeah, this one’s a bit of a mess.
Visually, the show does okay with plenty of exterior shots and a few neat vistas on display but ultimately a lot of the same sets are used from the first time around. While this is all fine, the music chosen for this show, and the utterly bizarre montages that accompany them feel so misplaced at times that it borders on parody.
The problems with Another Life are plentiful but ultimately it comes from the underlying feel that this show just does not understand what makes sci-fi tick. There are no compelling characters, the science is basically monologued gibberish with shaky logic and fantastical ideas while the story feels like a Frankenstein;s monster of other, more competent sci-fi stories we’ve seen played out across numerous different mediums. Another Life is watchable enough but this second season does absolutely nothing to justify its renewal. In fact, I’d go so far as to say another season has actually come out worse than before.