Another Life is an American science fiction series created by Aaron Martin. It premiered on Netflix on July 25, 2019. The series was renewed for a second season in October 2019 and was released on Netflix on October 14, 2021.
Another Life Cast
- Katee Sackhoff as Niko Breckenridge
- Samuel Anderson as William
- Justin Chatwin as Erik Wallace
- Elizabeth Faith Ludlow as Cas Isakovic
Another Life Season 1 Recap
A UFO (unidentified flying object) shaped like a Möbius strip, lands on Earth and a crystalline tower grows above it. Erik Wallace, a scientist employed by the USIC (United States Interstellar Command), tries to communicate with the alien structure, which later comes to be known as the ‘artefact’. Captain Niko Breckinridge, Erik’s wife, is assigned command of the spaceship Salvare. She sets out with her assigned crew to determine the origin of the artefact and the species who sent it. The Salvare is operated by the AI William, who develops romantic feelings for Niko.
After a failed mutiny against Niko by her first officer, Ian Yerxa, the Salvare is damaged while trying to get through a cloud of dark matter. After some misadventures, the Salvare finds a moon with a crystalline structure similar to the one on Earth. A crewmember, Sasha, fails to establish first contact with the artefact and ends up with a parasite-like device latched onto his brain. Being controlled by the implant, Sasha repeatedly tries to sabotage the mission and even leaves a fellow crew member braindead, until he is stopped by the others.
The Salvare approaches a planet called Zakir, which has a similar crystalline artefact. They find the planet in ruins. The species behind the artefact are revealed to be extraterrestrials named the Achaia. The Salvare’s crew decide to save Zakir by destroying the artefact. However, the Achaians obliterate the entire planet. The crew, mortified, sets a course for Earth.
Another Life Season 2 Plot
The Salvare and its crew find themselves stuck in a debris field after the destruction of the planet Zakir. Meanwhile, Eric Wallace seeks the help of the Achaia to cure his daughter Jana, who has developed an advanced form of leukaemia due to a chaotic encounter with the artefact. The Achaia save her, and in turn gain some trust from the humans, which only increases when they offer other gifts.
Meanwhile, Niko and Cas enter an Achaian ship in space to negotiate. They are initially offered good things, but soon the Achaia reveal their hostile and controlling intentions. With the Achaia targeting the Salvare and with the people in USIC siding with the Achaia, things become complicated for Niko and her crew.
Another Life Season 2 Review
The most appreciable aspect of the series is its dedication to the story it wants to tell. The episodes are written and enacted with the sole purpose of bringing a science fiction story to life. There are no fillers or forced comedy, and fortunately, it is also spared from dramatic plot twists that are often written only for shock value. While a one-lane series like this is usually not what sells popularly, it almost seems to be evidence of the makers’ indifference to the pressure of fitting the norm of what makes ‘an entertaining viewing experience’, making the series a breath of fresh air.
The scenes going back and forth between the Salvare and Earth are paced perfectly. While this shift in the scenes is essentially the shift between Niko and Erik’s situations, it never zooms in to only the two of them. Nor is the fact that they are married ever the focus. The story deals with these two as professionals before anything else. Niko the commander of a spaceship, and Erik the scientist. The same can be said for another major romantic couple in the show- they are characters who have been defined well as individuals before being written into a relationship.
The relationship dynamics in the show are honestly refreshing. All crew members of the Salvare, and Erik’s friends at USIC for that matter, possess the perfect balance of formal and intimate. However, the almost deity-like status that the crew, including William, have given to Niko is honestly a little idealistic, no matter how self-sacrificing and skilled she is like a commander.
The romantic pairs appear as good friends before they appear as a couple, and care and concern seem to be the primary emotion driving the relationships while attraction takes the back seat. Be it Niko and Erik or Zayn and Bernie- the dynamics can be better defined as warm rather than hot.
The Performances can be a bit Dodgy sometimes
The acting in the series, however, is a hit sometimes and a total miss on other occasions. There are several scenes that look like they were intended to be emotional but fell short, partly because of the acting. Be it moments of reunions or realisations, you sit there expecting to feel something and end up disappointed when you don’t, especially since the plot does so well in drawing you in. It really takes the fun out of being invested in a show if you can’t live it with the characters. However, the acting can’t be shrugged off as just plain bad. There are moments in the series that will genuinely get to you. It is almost as if the inconsistency causes more annoyance than if it were consistently bad, as the oscillation between great acting and flat acting leaves you with whiplash.
The new characters in this season start out in the middle of their character arc. While this makes them realistic and moves them past the school-like introductory phase, it also reduces the opportunities for the audience to connect with them. A lot of character conflicts just will themselves into existence with no prior build-up and some are also solved in a similar manner, leaving us blinking in confusion. It’s like you’re certain you are supposed to care about these characters, you’re just not sure why. The original characters, however, did have some pretty interesting arcs. Zayn and William in particular had pretty impressive storylines.
When it comes to the story itself, it is simple enough for everyone watching to understand without things going over their head, yet complex enough to not feel lazy or undercooked- probably the best way to handle science fiction. It frankly comes across as a tad bit believable, with aspects of the plot, thankfully, not being written off as ‘quantum this’ and ‘quantum that’. The subplots are weaved in perfectly to the main storyline.
However, the series is not free from the curse of plotholes. For instance, it escapes me why an alien species would keep their version of kryptonite, something absolutely fatal to them, on their ship and that too, stored in a way that can so easily lead to unintentional self-sabotage. Especially if the aforementioned alien species is deemed to be scientifically and intellectually advanced. While scenes like this do not ruin the overall storyline, they are not easy to ignore.
The ending is a tad abrupt and slightly anti-climatic. The result of their ‘big plan’ having an impact as big as it did was a reach, to put it simply. They structured the entire series meticulously, only to rush it in the end.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
Another Life season 2 is not everyone’s ideal choice for leisure viewing. However, the series has quite a few things going for it that insists a watch. It starts out unassuming, but is surprisingly impressive on many occasions. It might especially appeal to science fiction fans looking for a not-too-long and well-structured series.
Another Life season 2 was released on Netflix on October 14, 2021.