[Also please read this post]*
The new space-adventure on Netflix entitled “Another Life” has had some rough reviews. However, I’d seen some people I trust say some positive things about it, in particular that the character development improves in later episodes and that the plot did draw them in.
I’ve got a high tolerance for nonsense in sci-fi and I think it takes a lot to put me off. I don’t need orbital mechanics to be right, I don’t need technological consistency. I like it when sci-fi does consider the broader consequences of the technology it invents but I can cope when it doesn’t because so, so often it doesn’t.
So what did it in for me? Partly it was the way a whole pile of stuff stacked up in this first episode. I didn’t find the characters initially very engaging (aside from the ship’s computer hologram) but it’s episode 1 and I can cope with that in episode 1. That this sort of near-future setting also has faster-than-light spaceships seemed a bit off but, OK who knows when there will be an amazing scientific breakthrough. Yeah but…that this near-future Earth has space-hibernation and a whole pile of space technology but also is very new at the whole thing…really starts banging on my suspension of disbelief. Then there was the hologram call from the space ship back to Earth in realtime and…no, no it’s OK, if they’ve cracked the whole speed of light thing then maybe they’ve got an ansible thing as well.
It was more the little things. When the central character wakes up from space hibernation and just sort of spills out onto the floor of a corridor, like nobody put any thought into how the crew will wake up. If the series was set in some grungy future of second hand spaceships, I could believe that but this is supposed to be the state of the art spaceship at the peak of human technology. The science is one thing, but seriously somebody would have thought that bit through (or at least the ship’s hologram would be there waiting when the captain woke up).
I say the little things but actually it was specifically chairs.
The point were I turned off and was in a sequence where the ship is trying to slingshot round a star (don’t ask why, just go along with it) and the crew are standing around the controls. The ship is getting quite a bashing (the standard visual clues, a panel falls off, sparks flies, etc) and the crew keep getting lurched around. The ship is in danger of falling to bits, that’s how bad this is supposed to be. The crew are standing around being flung about. The crew are STANDING. Seriously? The show wants me to accept this crew as smart, competent people and nobody is sitting in a chair with a seat belt? OK, I can forgive the seat belts as generally sci-fi spaceships don’t have them but for goodness sake SIT DOWN or at the very least hold on to something. The flailing around made these expert astronauts look like people who wouldn’t be able to cope with a bus trip without bumping into fellow passengers. The amazing future spaceship apparently had less design thought put into it than a standard passenger plane.
Now I’ve even seen still images from later episodes where the central character is sitting in some kind of pilot’s chair with straps but honestly that only makes things worse. I can’t believe in a future where people apparently don’t know when to sit down.
*[The link is just an experiment to see how traffic flows on the blog but it is a fun posts as well 🙂 ]