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"Another Life" on Netflix


I just binge-watched the first season of the new science fiction series on Netflix called Another Life. The main character is Niko Breckinridge, played by Katee Sackhoff, who played Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica. I also enjoyed watching her in another Netflix Series, Longmire, as Vic Moretti.

I still don't know why the producers decided to call this series Another Life, but I'll tell you what I do know. I'll try to avoid spoilers, because I think this is an entertaining show that will appeal to many science fiction fans. First, Another Life is a space opera. I know many people dislike space operas, but I have enjoyed them since the original Star Trek TV series, despite Star Trek's horribly flawed science. The good news is that the science in Another Life is not bad. OK, it's not perfect either. While scientific perfection would be ideal, what I look for in a science fiction TV series is for science that is close enough to reality to allow me to suspend my disbelief, and Another Life meets that bar. While the series is definitely not aimed at science geeks, it does include a faster-than-light space ship, aliens, killer boron-based bacteria, travel to other stars, a rogue planet, a gravity-assisted trajectory change (totally unnecessary with faster than light travel), a black hole, dark matter, alien mind-control, and AI love/hate.

The basic plot begins with a building-sized alien probe landing on earth and transmitting information back to its home world. While Niko's husband is back on Earth trying to communicate with the probe, she commands a space ship and crew on a trip to find the aliens. The trip is supposed to take seven months, but of course sh*t happens. The crew are almost killed several times, and they end up taking several detours, because what else would you expect in a space opera. One of the things I didn't think was realistic is all the fighting among the crew. These people act like a bunch of high-school students in a physical education class. I didn't count the bodies, but I suspect that as many were killed by other crew members as were killed by things outside their control. But, hey, this is Hollywood, so you have to expect added conflict just to make it interesting. Just be aware that there is gratuitous sex and violence. At least, neither are too graphic.

Most of the crew is in suspended animation, so whenever someone is killed, they just thaw out another person to take his place. Since a few of the crew are killed along the way, we keep getting new characters showing up. An artificial intelligence performs many of the functions on the ship. The AI is manifested as a human-looking hologram, who develops emotions during the trip. Hardly a new concept or a surprise. Just once, I would like to see an AI develop into something more alien than human, which I think is the far more likely scenario.

If not exactly thought-provoking, I did find Another Life to be entertaining. It includes plenty of character development, for those viewers who need that. They even throw in a trans crew member to satisfy Hollywood's evolving political correctness requirements. And, the acting is good, especially by Katee Sackhoff.



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