Another Life (Season 1 Review)

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By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

This review is spoiler-free.

Another Life, the Katee Sackhoff-led space adventure, has crash landed on Netflix! But is it any good?

Show creator Aaron Martin and Netflix knew what they were doing when they decided to produce a space sci-fi adventure with Katee Sackhoff leading the cast. You’re instantly going to be pulling in that Battlestar Galactica crowed. But if you’re expecting a similar kind of show, in terms of quality storytelling and space drama, then I’m sorry to say you are going to be left disappointed.

Another Life is a real mixed bag. Sometimes it’s great, like really great! But equally, sometimes, it misses the mark completely. If I’m honest, it was a struggle at times to plod my way through the ten episode season. It was frustrating, because there were sections of certain episodes that were brilliant! It was exciting and engaging. But the quality doesn’t balance out evenly, leaving you feeling a little unfulfilled. I put these issues solely down to the writers and creative team. I think it’s also a telling sign that despite this being a Netflix original, it doesn’t look like they invested that much in the project. At times some of the CGI use is really jarring and very cheap looking. It had more of a SyFy original movie feel than that of a project with the weight of Netflix behind it!

The show is basically split between events in space and events on Earth, with both working on separate elements of the main story. The end goal was to link these stories to create some grand and spectacular. Again this was a little hit and miss. Again, the consistency was lacking. Up to this point I have focused heavily of the negatives, I don’t like to write reviews like this. I always try to find the positives. And that leads me to the cast…

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Sackhoff gives a strong performance here. She is a solid lead, and at times is carrying the whole show. While her character is a mish-mash of other typical sci-fi characters, her strength and resilience really shines through. She is supported well by Samuel Anderson (Doctor Who) and Elizabeth Ludlow (The Walking Dead), both of whom are real stand-out characters in terms of their performances. I thought Ludlow was underused on The Walking Dead, so I’m glad that she had more time to shine here. Justin Chatwin (Dragonball Evolution) was also pretty good. He plays Sackhoff’s husband, who is back on Earth leading that storyline. The rest of Sackhoff’s crew are OK, but no one else really stands out. The one person who does stand out, for the wrong reasons, was Selma Blair (Hellboy). She plays Harper Glass, a sort of futuristic social media ‘influencer’. This is not a dig at Blair, I just felt this was a really unlikable character, and not because she was written to be that way. They just made a total mess of the character. It was painful at times.

Does Another Life get a second season? That will of course be down to the numbers and general reaction, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say that it just about does. Crazy right? Given that I found it a struggle to watch at times! But there are some really good moments too. And the ending of the series builds up genuine hype for what is going to happen next. So it’s a difficult one. But they really need to sort the show’s writing problems, because any second season would need to hit the ground running and be much more consistent.

Another Life, at times, is a frustrating watch that suffers from inconsistent writing and direction. While the cast is solid and do what they can with the material given, it’s not enough to paper over the cracks. The show is very rough around the edges, but it also has the potential to be a real diamond. While you may struggle in parts, with a few tweaks, this show could be out of this world!

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