In the future, a mysterious alien satellite beacon has formed on Earth, sending a broadcast signal to a planet very far away. Astronaut and Captain of the spaceship Salvare, Niko Breckenridge, and her crew venture to this planet to find who the aliens are, why they sent a satellite beacon to them, and if they’ll attempt to destroy mankind.
Spoiler Level: Low
This series, from what I’ve seen so far, is a heavily diluted mix of Star Trek and Predator. There’s a team of astronauts riding through space, like Star Trek, and a mysterious alien force, like Predator. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer anything interesting or unique to the table. It’s not that the story is bad, it’s just not original. If the show were made in the ‘70s, it’d be a cult classic. But, it was made this year, and so Another Life can be boiled down to a bunch of poorly done tropes. It’s almost impressive how chock full of them it is.
Although the show doesn’t stand out overall, there is one original aspect of it that does: Niko Breckenridge. It’s not that Niko’s an unique and original character, it’s that she’s a she, which is refreshing, as you generally don’t see women in lead roles, especially in sci-fi series’. She’s played by Katee Sackoff, who does an excellent job in her role. She shines in this performance, adding emotion and depth to every line. Every time she wasn’t on screen, you were waiting for when she would reappear. None of the actors are as compelling as she is. And it’s not that her character is anything special. She’s basically a recycled Bruce Wayne: a strong leader who’s dark and broody nature makes her unpopular among her crew at times. But, Katie Sackoff plays her well, which is not something you can say of the other actors.
Like most of the series, all of the acting is mediocre. Most of the actors underact; they all seem to be bored with what they’re saying. The only actor who didn’t do so, besides Katie Sackoff, is Jessica Camacho, who plays Michelle Vargas. She actually gave some emotion with her lines. Other than that, the performances are stale.
The writing didn’t help. There are some good lines and some bad lines, but overall you didn’t care that much about the characters involved. Niko has a husband and daughter on Earth, and you’re supposed to feel bad that they’re going through the hardship of losing their respective wife and mother, but you don’t. It’s not that you don’t get reason to, it’s just that the reasons are unoriginal and so you don’t care; you’re bored with their entire storyline.
The cinematography is notably bad. There are a few times when the camera weirdly panned from a medium shot to a close-up, which is jarring and feels cheap. The use of the “shaky cam” technique is also annoying. There are moments when the environment is shaking, and the shaky cam is necessary, but there are other times when the camera just shook, which made me wonder whether or not they ran out of tripods halfway through the first episode. Because it’s implemented so often, after a few minutes you wanted everything to just stop shaking.
For a sci-fi series, the special effects are somewhat low budget; the show looks like it was made in the early 2000s. It didn’t have the terrible effects of the previous century, yet there just wasn’t the technology yet to do everything they wanted to do. The definite worst blunder of the special effects department is in the satellite beacon, a large crystal, which looks like the crystal in Jim Henson’s 1982 film The Dark Crystal. The difference is that that film had special effects that are good given the time, but bad given today’s standards. Another Life was made this year, and so a better looking crystal tower would be expected, yet unfortunately not provided.
Ultimately, this is a very mediocre series. If you like a sci-fi series that doesn’t take any risks whatsoever, this is the show for you.
Another Life: Season 1 Episode 1; sci-fi at it’s most mediocre
Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
Acting - 7.8/107.8/10
Music - 7.5/107.5/10
Production - 6/106/10
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