Night Sky Season 1 Review – A meandering slow burn that fizzles out

Season 1

Episode Guide

To The Stars -| Review Score – 3.5/5
La Capilla -| Review Score – 3.5/5
The Caretaker -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Boilermakers -| Review Score – 3/5
Driving Lessons -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Dear Franklin -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Lake Diving -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Compensation -| Review Score – 2.5/5


Amazon seem to be in the market for slow paced sci-fi thrillers as of late. Between The Wilds and Outer Range, Night Sky is the latest to join the fray. Unlike those previous two choices though, Night Sky is a tonally disparate, slow-paced and meandering journey that never really goes anywhere. At its best, the story drip-feeds crucial information to keep you hanging on for more crumbs, and the acting is undoubtedly excellent all round.

At its worst, the show slips into eye-watering boredom, depicting everything from shopping and playing chess to a pointless campaign for a side character to become mayor.

It’s perhaps more frustrating that Night Sky takes the route that it does because there’s definitely potential here. But like listening to your grandparents discuss an interesting story, layering that with tangents, diversions and distractions, Night Sky doesn’t seem to be in a particular hurry to get anything done.

With 8 episodes clocking in at a little under an hour, most of Night Sky’s heavy lifting can be attributed to Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons who are both fantastic in their respective roles. There are some genuinely show-stopping moments, including one particular heartfelt moment late on with Franklin in tears. The point is, these characters are deep and they’re well written throughout the show, with depth and tinges of poignancy to show for it. Their chemistry is what ultimately keeps this slow burn ticking by.

The story revolves around this couple, who happen to be living their lives, trying to weather the storm of old age and all the crippling frailty and inevitable senility that comes with it. However, they both have a secret. Under their shed happens to be a doorway holding a teleport pad that leads them up to a strange alien landscape. Irene (Sissy Spacek) is convinced that there’s a deeper meaning here while Franklin (J.K. Simmons) sees it as nothing more than an interesting little sideshow to a wasteland of nothingness.

As the pair navigate their feelings toward this – and each other – their world is turned upside down when a stranger shows up in the observatory deck, clutching his stomach and in pain. As secrets begin to tumble out, Frank and Irene find their lives changed forever. as they try to make sense of what’s happening.

Running parallel to this story is a road-trip featuring Stella and Toni, who go off in search of the truth themselves. They’re also joined by a stranger, who we don’t actually find out the name of until near the end of the final episode. Unless I missed something while watching of course. It’s Cornelius, by the way.

This story ultimately amounts to about 10 minutes of crossover with Franklin and Irene in the finale but mostly stays separate to their narrative, making one wonder what the point of it all was. For those who remember Heroes Season 2, this is akin to the Maya and Dani storyline that went absolutely nowhere. While that show had the benefit of the writer’s strike to chalk off the creative decisions, Night Sky dos not.

Honestly I cannot emphasize how much it pains me to write a negative review for this show. There are parts of this that I absolutely adore. The two leads are incredible, the ideas are interesting and there’s definitely scope for a deep lore to be explored if this is renewed. But this is soured by a host of uninteresting side characters, pointless tangents and side quests that go nowhere and a frustrating cliffhanger that fails to reward any of the patience one may have had leading up to this moment.

Night Sky is ultimately a meandering slow burn that fizzles out before the final credits. With very little of the main questions answered and a laborious pace that’ll test even the most patient of watchers, Amazon’s latest mystery box is likely to be one that remains firmly locked. Ah well, at least we get to see the brilliance of J.K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek. So it’s not all bad I guess!

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  • Verdict - 5/10

38 thoughts on “Night Sky Season 1 Review – A meandering slow burn that fizzles out”

  1. To begin, my wife and I are in our late 60s. We watched Night Sky 2-episodes-a-sitting over 5 or 6 days.

    Simmons and Spacek are positively captivating.

    And the good stuff ends there. The writing and direction are well below par. At least a couple of times an episode, you find yourself thinking “He/she wouldn’t have done that!” And all too often there’s a hidden motivation for a character’s actions, and you NEVER find out what that motivation is. Eight episodes in, and we don’t know WHY the Guardians want to kill him, or who the people are who are chasing the Guardians, or why they chasers seem to be watching (rather than helping) Jude, even though they seem to be aligned. We have uber-cautious Franklin befriending the absolutely hideous Byron after one night in a bar. We have the previously police-calling Franklin doing NOTHING to rescue Byron when he fears for his safety. We hear about the mice suffocating on the Planet’s surface, but the next thing we know, Irene is out there and unaffected. Denise seems to be doing great in her internship, but then, having gotten an enthusiastic job offer, she decides that she will just throw it all away. No explanation. Why, oh why, oh why? There are 3, 4, 5, more complete holes like this in every episode. The pacing is SO slow that snails are speeding by as we watch, and yet it never uses all tho use hours and hours of screen time to help us understand why people are doing what they are doing.

    It’s not a lack of action; it’s a lack of believability and consistency, and feeding us at least enough background that we can establish a setting for the characters. By the 2nd or 3rd episode, you think you’re being tested as to whether you would follow the two brilliant leads because you like their acting so much; by the 8th episode, you’re thinking, “Wait, it’s episode 8 and the Argentinians haven’t even encountered the Americans; Byron is missing; we don’t know who the B and B people are; HOW CAN THEY POSSIBLY RESOLVE ALL THESE THREADS IN ONE EPISODE??” And, then they do the unthinkable and add MORE threads, and don’t resolve EVEN ONE of what we have already.

    As Toni might say, “No mas!”

  2. I am almost done with Amazon Prime. Why cancel a show that had no ending in it’s 1st season. I just wasted hours of my life watching some stupid made up show that had no ending – thanks Amazon Prime.

  3. I just finished episode 4… My husband and I love it. Reading the negative reviews makes me sad, as this show deserves more respect. Saying that, the first thing I looked for was there going to be a season 2? NO, Really ? All the money invested in this project and Amazon leaves us hanging? It’s like another show they had with Orlando Bloom (about the fairy people)… 1 season, then it goes away. Makes me question whether I want to continue watching Amazon produced shows. Maybe invest in a production team that looks into the viability of a show first? Or perhaps give the viewer a good ending if you are going to cancel the show after 1 season. I feel like the executive team in charge at Amazon didn’t give this show a chance to get a following… The goal of instant gratification from the bean counters at Amazon seems to be at play here. Just saying… The visual effects and scenery in this production is outstanding. The quality is top notch. Very sad we wont get to see this story play out.

  4. I binged watched the show over a weekend and loved every minute of it. It was slow for sure but it kept me wanting to see the next episode. I am saddened that they’ve cancelled it.

  5. I LOVE the concept, but I struggle to understand the pacing they chose. I’m 7 episodes in (i.e. 7 hours) and almost nothing has happened. The side characters are mostly irritating (Denise, Chandra, Byron) and Spacek says most of her lines in a whisper. There are lots of times when the writing is completely unrealistic. For example, Irene takes Denise to the portal, but not through it. Why would anyone believe you have been to another planet just because you have an extra room in your cellar if you don’t take them the extra 10 feet to see the rest? Byron gets lost in the planet, Franklin has a suit and a way to get him, but chooses to go back to the kitchen table? And then when people who could help (Irene, Jude) he pretends nothing happened lol. It could, and should, be a much better show but they have chosen to focus on the process of aging instead of the sci-fi. I don’t want sex, violence, and language, I just want entertaining.

  6. In the About page of this Review Geek, it looks like the reviewer is about 30 yearsold, perhaps younger. So it sounds like the reviewer can only handle action-only stories instead of plot-driven, character-driven stories. I’ll think twice about reading his reviews in the future.

  7. Loved season 1. Kept looking forward to the next episode. Please continue to Season 2 so we can find out about the new city they find. Enjoyed the loving acting of Sissy and J.K.

  8. Accurate review. The writing is lazy. No, I don’t need “profanity-laced, explosion-riddled” scenes. I *do* ask writers to create suspense without the lagging filler. Thus: lazy.

  9. I disagreed with the reviewer but that is nothing new for me. I guess that he was yearning for his normal diet of gratuitous violence and profanity and found it challenging to have to interpret anything that required an attention span greater than a first grader’s. I found it enjoyable.

  10. I find it exceedingly sad. The story is unfolding at a snails pace which is aggravating. Yes, the acting is excellent… but it’s just too slow and to troubling for me to watch beyond episode 2, and I really wanted to like it.

  11. I really enjoyed this first season. Yes, the mystery slowly unfolds, but I found my curiosity increasing with each passing episode. Besides the two leads having great chemistry and being great actors—as many have already mentioned—l found watching this series to be oddly relaxing. Less violence and profanity actually seemed refreshing for a change! Personally, I’d love to see the series renewed. Could the portal to a new world be a last refuge for a self-destructing humanity, perhaps? Or, does life on that planet make ours look like paradise? The fact that Jude was in such a hurry to leave makes me think the latter.

  12. Loved the series, stayed up till 1am to watch all 8(wish there were more). Well done, acted and can’t wait for season 2. The review is totally wrong!

  13. I agree with the earlier person that states I think the younger generation does not like the show do to having to put some thought into what they are watching! The actors are wonderful and I can’t wait for more! Yes I am over 30 years old! Not everything is fast paced, that doesn’t make Night Sky bad!! Love it!

  14. I started watching Night Sky as soon as I saw it was streaming. Got me from the start and finished all 8 ep. in one day. I want more I mean where the heck is Byron?

  15. I have not finished season 1 yet, but so far, I am really enjoying it. One commenter noted that perhaps the slower pace of the show appeals to those of a certain age. I tend to agree and I must be just the right age to enjoy. Hopefully there will be a second season!

  16. I’m glad I watched the whole thing. It was way better than I expected and I completely disagree with this review, other than it’s a slow burn at first. Well worth sticking with it. The acting was magnificent. The story was superb. I hope there’s a season 2.

  17. The lead characters are mesmerizing. I have watched the first 2 episodes, and am eagerly planning to binge season 1 episodes.

  18. I loved Night Sky. I don’t understand how anyone could find it boring! I can’t wait for Season 2. Please, please, please renew!

  19. I didn’t really think I would like this show, but I have too much time on my hands and I decided to watch. After a couple of episodes, I saw that it has a tremendous amount of potential. It could be a very good concept with older characters to lead us into a world to explore. (Shades of Stargate:SG1) It has a ton of potential with a pair of very good actors to carry out the mission. It just needs a mission. So much potential. It could still be saved. And I’m very frustrated right now. It left viewers on a highway with too many exits, and no signposts. Is it going to be saved?

  20. What a total waste of time. I could not agree more with the review. Yes, the actors were terrific, but at the end of this , I actually said out loud ; what! That’s it? Too many unanswered questions. A meandering slow fizzle indeed.

  21. Brilliant first season. Slow burn shows don’t do well because people nowadays can’t handle to think while they watch. The characters are great, the pacing perfect for the genre. Sets up an intriguing second season. Shows like this are few an far between and out shone the fast food shows that people dine on now. I hope it continues

  22. Totally agree with the main reviewer – great acting by the two leads let down by painfully slow pacing and cynical use of cliffhangers to hook viewers into the next tedious hour. Avoid.

  23. The review is 100% on point, maybe it could be harsher. I’m 68, v.disappointed by this show – not even masterful acting of two leading actors saves the day. Slow, boring, confusing and the ending is a bloody traverse, con job open on all fronts.
    BTW – after suffering through ST Picard and this – please send the geriatrics away…

  24. IMO; am thinking if you are over a certain age, the pace of this show is fine and makes sense… However, younger viewers have grown up with technology and the faster, sometimes frenetic, pace of life, and this would seem way too slow for them. Just a thought…

  25. Have watched 2 episodes and enjoying it .. really just want to watch Franklin and Irene! They rock! Other ongoing storylines and characters make me miss Franklin and Irene even more!

  26. I profoundly disagree with the reviewer. This is an incredibly high quality show. There are very few shows on streaming television with this level of high quality writing, and great acting and direction. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this reviewer is just plain wrong. It’s hard to understand how someone could give it a poor review.

  27. Thank you for this review. I made it through episode 4, and was dying on the vine here. I agree with everything Greg Wheeler said, and thankfully have been saved from trudging through 4 more hours in hopes of this story moving faster. Agree that Spacek and Simmons do a great job acting and would love to see both of them together again. Also, love the plot line and the potential, but this show just moves way too slowly for me!

  28. Sadly critics couldn’t recognize good tv if it hit hem across the side of their heads. Absent is profanity, explosions and violence. Present is above and beyond great acting, an in-depth story line and introductions into the varying personalities. It’s unfortunate folks need stories spoon fed to them, which this series does not. Please let there be more seasons.

  29. I binge watched the whole season 1. I found the actors very good! I love the old couple interaction with Sissy and J.K Simmons and their son. This show is slow but deserve a well deserve acting performance passing the emotions to the audience. I love this new sci-fi show! A well balance action & suspense and romantic building up with some characters! Well done 👏 from a fan in Quebec!

  30. Sorry you feel that way I’ve sat through 2 episodes and I’m bored to tears, and I seldom cry. So so so slow.

  31. Just spent my whole saturday watching Night Sky! ABSOLUTELY HOOKED. This season 1 was brilliant. I now have to wait for (hopefully) season 2.

  32. Whoever wrote such a terrible review of Night Sky knows nothing about what IS considered good or not. Night Sky in my opinion was FANTASTIC and I stayed up all night watching the first season and pray there will be more seasons to come PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

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