Netflix’s Another Life serves as a reminder that we’re living in a great period for serious science-fiction films and TV series. Unfortunately, this show proves to be an anomaly.
Netflix’s new sci-fi series Another Life stars Battlestar Galactica alum, Katee Sackhoff, in the lead role. At first glance, it makes no effort to be original or distinguish itself. It also has an intriguing premise, albeit with severely negative reviews.
Another Life currently has a dismal score of 7% on Rotten Tomatoes. The show has been met with a considerable amount of derision from general audiences as well.
1. Quick Review
The story of Another Life starts with a media influencer observing an alien spacecraft’s descent into Earth’s atmosphere. From there, the story splits itself into two parallel plots, one on Earth and the other in space.
The space part of the story follows Niko, an astronaut who travels deep into space to uncover the origins of the crashed ship. She is also the commander of humanity’s most advanced spaceship.
The Earth part of the series follows Niko’s husband, Eric Wallace. He is an extraterrestrial research expert who has to help Niko on her journey while taking care of their daughter Jana.
2. Is it worth watching?
Another Life is generally all over the place. One moment, it’s a dark and high-stakes, only to be interrupted by soap-worthy melodrama. There are also quite a few shots that make the crew look like they are a part of a sci-fi parody.
The entire premise of the series could have worked. Except that the direction was so bad, it congeals into an original statement. With its sloppy and ungraceful storytelling and cliched space tropes, the series falls flat after an episode or two.
The writing is atrocious, leaving the actors to follow a jumble of disconnected emotions and seemingly pointless journeys. The direction just doesn’t make sense. This show proves to be everything you shouldn’t want in a drama.
The costumes, the one thing I assumed they couldn’t mess up (it’s a space show, throw on a silver suit) are in disarray throughout. Another Life’s appallingly underdeveloped series of special effects prove to be the cherry on top of the series as it collapses into itself.
Another Life starts off with social media influencer Harper Glass (played by Selma Blair) recording a video for her dedicated followers. She is interrupted by a floating ship shaped like an infinity sign that crash lands in the least thrilling manner.
Cutting abruptly to Niko, we watch her tell her scientist husband Erik (played by Justin Chatwin) and their young daughter Jana (played by Lina Renna) that she has to leave on the Salvare spaceship.
We find out that Salvare has been sent out into deep space to investigate a signal coming from a star system. The signal is linked to a mysterious crystalline structure called the Artifact. It has planted itself on Earth somehow, and its intentions remain unclear.
As Niko looks for answers out in space, Erik stays on Earth to study the Artifact itself. He tries to find a way to communicate with Earth’s alien visitors.
With an actual looming on-board civil war spearheaded by the spiteful Ian Yerxa (played by Tyler Hoechlin), who was the ship’s previous commander, the show proves to be a comedy of errors in a way that isn’t funny.
II. Music & Visuals
The music director of this series is Trevor Martin. He is a Canadian orchestral and film score composer, as well as a music producer. He has composed soundtracks for the television shows The Tudors, The Pillars of the Earth, The Borgias, and Vikings.
Morris has recently been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music (for The Borgias) and an Emmy for Outstanding Dramatic Original Music Composition (for The Pillars of the Earth).
The soundtrack includes Cherries Jubilee by The Sheepdogs, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by The Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, Can You Hear Me by Amber Mark, and, my favorite, Ode To Joy by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Perhaps the only highlight of the show is that it is gender inclusive. There is a non-binary character who is part of the crew on Niko’s ship, Zayn Petrossian (played by JayR Tinaco). Sadly, the show doesn’t do much with them. Talk about token diversity.
3. Final Thoughts
To put it bluntly, Another Life is just plain confusing. Nothing connects organically, from one scene to the next. The characters are perpetually angry and for no clear reason. There are unnatural pauses in scenes as if someone kept forgetting their lines.
Most reviews might seem slightly unfair to fans who enjoyed season one of Another Life. Let’s be real, the critics were right. It does, however, improve after a rocky first couple of episodes.
Or maybe you just become numb to it after a while.