Another life on Netflix is a really great show, and one of the most enjoyable Sci-Fi shows I’ve seen. There, I said it.
The main criticism about it is *superficial* and seem to always deal with things non-related to the story or premise itself – it’s actually saddening that people can’t seem to “look pass it” – as they miss out on a well-written great SciFi action-drama series.
In this Another Life honest review I will try to “debunk” the criticism about the show, one by one:
1. “It’s a soap-opera”
Yes, it totally is. Just like Star Wars is, and Star Trek DS9, and Babylon 5, and Battlestar Galactica and all great shows.
A “Soap Opera” is a genre that emphasis character relationships and creates drama by highlighting the conflicts between them, that’s *not a bad thing*, it enriches the characters and their background stories, and makes the show more engaging, in the “human” sense. This is hardly a “criticism”
2. “The crew looks like young Instagram models and not like how ‘real space astronauts’ should look like”
How, exactly, does “real astronauts” look like? This criticism seem to stem from some “astronaut stereotype” other space TV shows or movies have embedded into the minds of audiences, I think.
Also, there are actually *only two* characters in the crew who maybe can somehow fall under this “stereotype”:
Which her expertise is ‘communications’ – makes sense that she will be very into social networking
But they somehow catch the attention of the audience which stereotypes the entire crew like that, while the others are pretty “normal” looking young people.
Have you *seen* Bernie? An overweight – very “normal-looking” guy? Do you *remember* he’s a character in the show? And still – so what? Since when does “good looks” and “interest in social networks” are any limitation for space travel, or for being in a space crew missions?
I also remind you that this show’s plot happens (probably) a couple of decades from current time (current fan estimations go from sometime between 2040s and 2060s) – the young people of the show’s era are today’s young children – which social networks, Instagram etc. are all part of their day-to-day life, regardless of their jobs or occupations.
Also, this is NOT a NASA space mission, which was the inspiration for most space travel movies in the last few decades.
Does people in space crews *have* to look and act like Bruce Willis in Armageddon?
Like Mat Damon in The Martian, like Matthew McConaughey in “Interstellar”? Like Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong? Like Tom Hanks in Apollo 11? How does a “space crew member” “should look like”?
Here is a photo of Anne C. McClain, a real-life US Astronaut that serves at the international space-station.
You probably heard about her in the news, since she was accused of hacking into her ex-girlfriend financial record via a computer while in space.
Imagine her without the uniform and the “official” look – Would you not “tag” her as “an Instagram model”?
Or, here is a photo of Marina Petrovna.
A female biologist who was part of the phase 1 experiment for testing the behavior of a crew of astronauts to prepare for a long mission to mars
Here is a photo of List Nowak, a US astronaut (more on her later)
If you told me that 15 years ago – I would have laughed
And finally – I want to remind everyone that the biggest nation in the world is currently run by a strange, rich ex reality-program man, remember? Is that really weirder than a a space crew where some people look like “Instagram models”…?
3. The characters are too psychologically disturbed to be chosen for a space mission
If anything most Space movies and TV shows show the crew as “too serious”, and “less human” – even a “trained Astronaut” is still very much human — and those who stay for months in space probably have fears, anxieties and more.
They probably miss their family and relatives, they also might have arguments and fight with each other – this is probably much more rare in real-life than in the show, but the show is a TV drama – so it makes sense to emphasis those kinds of relationships and character dramas.
To support the fact that real-life astronauts can be involved in “relationship-dramas” as well, here are two real-life stories, one is the accusation that Ann McClain – a US astronaut serving in the international space station – were “illegaly” accessing her ex-girlfriend financial record via a computer while in space (google it).
The other is the allegation of an attempted murder(!) by a US astronaut Lisa Nowak (though not while in space) who allegedly attacked a colleague who she considered a “romantic rivalry” for her interest in another colleague – NASA astronaut Commander Bill Oefelein.
So yes — real-life Astronauts can be jealous, and CAN be involved in ‘psychological situations’ – as they are human.
4. The crew members didn’t have enough training and they don’t respect the chain of command
The crew of the Salvare is actually a mixup of “military” commanders with scientists and engineers (and one “space tourist” – a diplomatic – the son of a US congressman, who “pulled some strings” to get his son on the mission – a fact being a recurring “issue” with the rest of the crew).
The is actually a realistic crew combination of modern space missions, which usually comprises of “commanding officers” and “specialists” – who hold science degrees and are not part of military personal.
In the show there are actually 4 military commanders: Niko, Ian, Cas, and Beauchamp – those are the only ones who have actual military background, and serve as “Commanders” above the ship (Ias, Cas and Beauchamp switch places as “second in command” to Niko as the plot progresses).
The rest are scientists and engineers (A few engineers, a microbiologist, a communication expert, a medical doctor), and a “space tourist” diplomat.
Yes, they often judge the commands and directions they get from the commanders, yes they often “argue” about the right decisions.
This makes sense – I myself am a computer engineer in real-life. We often question the “orders” and conclusions of our superiors.
NOT out of disrespect or “disloyalty” – but because as scientists we strive to know *why* We need explanations, we need justification for decisions.
We won’t accept things “just because someone said them” – so in that case, all of the questionings of the engineers actually *makes sense* and is realistic.
As well as the “bitching” and moaning” – which again, is a totally natural human trait – and does not imply any sort of “unprofessionalism” — its sole purpose is “to blow off steam” and release pressure – and is also something who is evident in real life.
Now – if you put all of these aside – you get a GREAT show. This show is packed with actions and mysteries, which are introduced in each episode in a fast-pace, and it’s one of the things that makes it so intriguing, exciting, and fun.
If you stick to the judgemental “stereotyping” above and let it bother you – you WILL miss out.
Also, this show introduces a character who is non-binary (does not identify as either male or female) – and it does so in such a SEAMLESS way, where it’s NEVER an issue or mentioned in the show – which is A GREAT thing in my opinion, especially due to the fact that actor JayR Tinaco also identifies as non-binary themselves.