Another Life (Netflix)

A Vaguely Non-Spoilery Review

Another Life is one of those shows that Netflix has been pushing like crazy over the last few weeks, so when it finally arrived, I made a point of watching it as soon as possible - after having to avoid people for fear of being spoilered over The Umbrella Academy, I thought it best to see this as soon as I could.

Big mistake...

Take a surprisingly good movie about First Contact with an alien civilisation (Arrival).

Now remove everything that made it good - well-rounded, sympathetic characters, good actors, great writing, science that was occasionally a bit hokey but was generally pretty good, etc.

Now do exactly the same with Interstellar, and force the two completely different stories to run in tandem.

Next, take a fantastic actress with a solid grounding in the genre, and completely waste her talent for anything more challenging than gurning manically at the camera.

Add in a bunch of extremely young but ineffably pretty genre refugees, and have them pretend to be hormonal 15 year olds who have sneaked on to a road-trip to Spring Break.

Then chuck in some poorly conceived (and even more poorly realised) re-enactments of some of the most iconic scenes in genre movie and tv history.

Do all that, and you still won't be anywhere near the sheer ineptness of this poor excuse for a tv show.


The Scottish ghost on ST:TNG?

Pah! Amateurs!

John Hurt's cameo in Spaceballs (and what it spoofs!)?

Here, hold my beer!

The poppy field in The Wizard of Oz?

Hey, let's do this PROPERLY, this time!

As if the constant barrage of poorly re-created scenes from various TV shows and movies wasn't bad enough, the vast majpority of characters are either very poorly written, or very poorly acted (or, quite possibly, both).

You would expect that for a mission like this, everyone would have their speciality, and would be at least moderately adequate at just about every other task on the ship - but no, here everyone is at least somewhat competent at one thing, and completely, utterly useless at eveything else.

The crews collective pre-occupation with sex also seems to get in the way of them performing their roles aboard ship, with the usual humorous (whoops, sorry, I mean dire and utterly avoidable) results.

Let's also not forget the casual sexism through-out the show - there are more than a few extended sequences with female cast members dressed in skimpy underwear, while the male cast are fully clothed - the male gaze is alive and well on this show.

The closest we get to a well-written, well-acted character is probably the most controversial - Zayn, the ships Doctor, a non-gender-binary character, whose gender is never disscussed but just accepted without question by the crew, while their sexuality is almost completely unexplored until the last couple of episodes. While the other members of the crew seem to spend their time goofing off or having sex with anything that breathes, Zayn at least gets on with their job on board ship - and they actually show some degree of competency at it, a rare thing on this ship.

The writers may have felt that the time was right to introduce a character who doesn't fit any of the traditional male/female-binary roles, but large segments of the prospective fan-base seemed to take greater umbrage over this character than all of the shows faults put together - you don't have to look very far through the comments section of sites such as IMDB to realise that, while the writers may be accepting of non-binary characters and actors, the general public isn't.

And so, we have a show with many and varied flaws, but rarely are these flaws mentioned, instead focusing on the existence of a character many "fans" feel should either not exist, or at the very least should be "normal", whatever the hell that is.

And this is quite possibly the worst thing about this show - not the poor writing, or the almost inept direction, or the quite frankly abysmal performances from far too many of the cast - in a genre that has always thrived on change, on looking to the future and pushing the boundaries of what is possible or acceptable, there are fans who think that one of the characters, and by extension quite a fair percentage of the fan base, should be completely hidden from view, if they exist at all.

3/10 (Would have been 2 if not for Katee Sackhoff and JayR Tinaco.) - Don't bother - buy a tin of paint, paint a wall, watch it dry - less painfull, less stressful, and at least you've done some re-decorating, rather than wasting your life watching this dross.