The new Netflix show Another Life mixes elements from several genre movies into a messy plot stew. Katee Sackhoff, Samuel Anderson, Selma Blair and some other actors do the best they can with the material but it’s not enough to make this a “must see” show.
Here are my non-spoiler thoughts.
The show starts with that old sci-fi staple of a mysterious alien object arriving on Earth. Veteran astronaut Niko Breckinridge (Katee Sackhoff) takes command of humanity’s only FTL capable spaceship to investigate the star system the artifact came from while her scientist husband investigates the artifact on Earth. So we have a story split between the good ship Salvare and Earth.
Niko is carrying a lot of emotional baggage from her last space mission and her job on her new ship is complicated because she replaced the original ship’s commander (Tyler Hoechlin) who is still onboard as second-in-command and not pleased with the situation. The crew of mostly 20-somethings who look like they just stepped off the set of a CW show (seriously, months into the mission Jessica Camacho’s character still has perfect hair and make-up) don’t respond well to Niko’s abrasive command style. No one is wearing uniforms but you can spot at least one redshirt in the crew. Niko’s only real ally is the Salvare’s A.I. William (Samuel Anderson). But like everyone else on the ship William has issues to work through as well.
Back on Earth, Niko’s husband Eric is hard at work trying to communicate with the artifact while taking care of his and Niko’s young daughter and contending with nosy reporter/influencer Harper Glass (Selma Blair) on one side and his military bosses on the other.
You probably read that and thought much of it sounds familiar. It is and when handled well I don’t have a problem with new takes on familiar stuff. But Another Life doesn’t really do anything interesting or new. Which is a shame given the cast and potential of the story.
On a side note, this is Selma Blair’s first role since her multiple sclerosis diagnosis and it’s heartening to hear that the cast and crew supported her during the show’s filming.