Everything is just business as usual on Earth until a bunch of flying spaceships show up and burrow into the ground, spawning an alien artifact transmitting a signal out into space.
That’s how Netflix’s newest sci-fi series “Another Life” gets underway, at least. And while I am only about halfway into the series, it is one I imagine I will have my eye on for seasons to come.
As I mentioned, the series starts off with the arrival of alien ships that burrow into the Earth, creating what scientists in the series refer to as “The Artifact.” This crystalline entity is transmitting a signal to a planet on the far side of our universe, and the intentions of these visitors remains unknown. After slow progress by scientists on Earth, the powers that be decide to send a manned mission to the origin of the signal, a star system called Pi Canis Majoris.
The mission is commanded by Niko Breckinridge, played by Katee Sackhoff (“Longmire”), who is tapped as the most qualified leader to make contact with the alien civilization. This decision comes much to the dismay of her husband, Erik, a scientist who has been studying the artifact since its arrival.
The series diverges from the first episode and follows the stories of Niko and her crew as they face a series of challenges on the way to their destination, as well as the work of Erik and scientists on Earth.
The series features a lot of sci-fi standards, with challenges ranging from damaged ship systems, on-board alien contagions, as well as aggression amongst some crew members as they butt heads on how to best complete their mission. The show also explores some of the themes of separation, with Niko dealing with being away from her daughter and husband, while simultaneously wanting to carry out her mission to protect them.
Some episodes feel more like you are watching Ridley Scott’s classic “Alien,” while other episodes remind me of other sci-fi classics. One aspect in particular that I enjoy about the show is its set design and atmosphere, with the ship design providing the appropriate amount of claustrophobic tension.
The series also stars Selma Blair as Harper Glass, a media influencer who attempts to break one of the biggest stories in human history. While Erik attempts to communicate with the alien artifact using a series of different sounds, Glass attempts to get as much information out of him as she can.
The series also has plenty of its family moments, with holographic technology providing the means for some communication between the separated family during the extended voyages. While these moments do humanize the characters a bit, I do find myself starting to yawn a bit when these moments break up some of the more tense action.
A big plus for me is that the show never mentions what year it is or how far into the future this might be. While humans have advanced enough to travel faster than the speed of light, they never mention when this is happening, which for me makes things easier to believe.
I was drawn to the show due to the involvement of Sackhoff, as I enjoyed her as the character Starbuck in the 2003 remake of “Battlestar Galactica.” She does a good job in this series as well, and the cast does a good job of mixing up humor and serious tones during the ups and downs of each episode.
The show debuted recently and is for mature audiences, featuring strong language and some violent imagery.