Space movies and TV shows are fascinating in the way they build hope and sometimes stoke fears. I grew up watching science fiction, and space movies were my favorite genre. In a long line of space tradition on film, Netflix is adding new series Away to the list.
When the trailer for the new Netflix space series was released, I was fascinated. Hilary Swank was appearing in a starring role in a prominent production after a long time, and the series genuinely looked interesting in the trailer.
But the 10-episode run was less than interesting; it was sleep-inducing, less about outer space, and more about stereotypical characters doing stereotypical things. When I saw the cast list, I understood there were going to be some cringe-worthy moments, but to this extend? No, way!
Away's story felt like it was a mix-mash of Space Cowboys, The Martian, Apollo 13, The First, and First Man. There were story elements “inspired” from other shows and movies but nowhere near the tension and attraction that those productions were able to maintain.
Away on Netflix – Lagging Behind
The main problem I had with Away on Netflix was the stereotypical characters at the center. Take the Russian character, for example, constantly pestering the American commander and thinking he should be the one to lead the mission.
The constant vilifying of the Russian character, Misha, played by veteran actor Mark Ivanir was beyond irritating. Also, showing the Chinese Astronaut, Lu, played by Vivian Wu as a jealous towards the American character of Hilary Swank, was also mind-numbing.
We get it America is the moral compass of the world; you do not have to keep rubbing all of our noses into it. Now, don’t even get me started on the Indian character on the show who was hamfisted into a show's relationship.
Beyond my casting and characterization issue, the second problem I had with the show was how little science it had. I’m not going to pretend to be an overt science person but at no point was I seeing something in Away, in terms of science, which I had not seen before.
There was no mystery to the show, only constant nagging problems with the ship and the crew. Aries' crew in the show is what really irritated me; they trained together for years, and still, they bicker like children on a ship in space.
I need to talk to an astronaut, but half of those people on the mission to Mars would’ve been kicked off the mission because they could not co-operate with each other. The amount of unprofessionalism on-screen was staggering and infuriating.
Then there is the family side of things; this portion of the story was well done. But again, unnecessary complications to drive characters to do uncharacteristic things just bog it all down. They could’ve learned something from The First and First Man on how to make compelling and intriguing family life.
The Verdict – Coming Out of Shadows?
No, not really, the show is just a set-up for a second season where they will further complicate the story by showing a land and Mars (separate) romance. Well, that is if Away season 2 is greenlit by Netflix.
I am disappointed with myself for not liking this show. I tried, watched all the episodes in one go, well, fell asleep watching, and then had to go back, but still, I tried my hardest to fall in love with Away on Netflix.
But my opinion is for you to simply skip this show; there is nothing genre-pushing or even interesting about the first season. I’m hoping something connects in season 2, but you would be better served watching Mark Ivanir’s another space series, For All Mankind, on Apple TV+. Now, that is a series, which knows how to juggle action and emotion, Away: not so much.
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