In the sci-fi series RAISED BY WOLVES (HBO), two androids are sent to a wild planet to start a new civilization after religious wars turn Earth into a dying planet. I loved this one, though it could have been shorter, and it ends on a PROMETHEUS-style note that left me a little wanting.
The series focuses on two androids who are raising a small colony of human children. Their creators’ goal is to restart human civilization without religion, as it was religious war–between atheists and followers of Mithraism–that destroyed Earth. Mother is a necromancer, a war machine the Mithraists built from their ancient texts but don’t fully understand, reprogrammed by an atheist scientist to be a caregiver. Father is a service robot. Together, they work to raise the children, though they have conflicting parenting styles and are learning that humans are difficult, most of all difficult to control. When a Mithraist ark spaceship appears in orbit, they face the potential challenge that the old divisions will follow them to this new world.
At first, I wasn’t sure about it, as the androids are initially stiff and the costume and tech designs fairly generic. Then it grew on me, and it grew on me some more until I was utterly plugged in. Ridley Scott directed the first two episodes, setting the tone for the look, feel, and pacing, and it works. The acting is terrific, particularly the androids and some of the Mithraists, particularly Travis Fimmel (best known before this for his role in THE VIKINGS). The necromancer is utterly badass when in war mode, making for some of the most exciting scenes in the show. I enjoyed the religious conflict element and the various conflicts related to parenting. Overall, I greatly enjoyed how immersive and engaging it was based on multiple strengths.
I had some issues with it, though. The pacing drags at times, as the primary conflict plays itself out and then regenerates to try again. The main characters appear unkillable. There’s so much human drama going on it makes you think the human race will die on this planet in about two years. There’s a “god” like element, something messing with everybody’s head, that goes unexplained. The biggest sour note for me, however, was the ending, where little is resolved, way too much is dumped into the second season, and there seems to be a giant nod to Scott’s PROMETHEUS franchise–which I decidedly did not enjoy at all and eventually gave up on.
So yeah, I had some issues with the show, particularly the unsatisfying PROMETHEUS-style ending, but overall, I have to say I loved it for its overall quality, heavy immersion, and engaging characters.