This past weekend, I flew through first season of Netflix’s new series Away. The show is a sci-fi drama starring Hillary Swank that follows the journey of five astronauts on the first-ever trip to Mars. Being a space exploration enthusiast, the show peaked my interest right off the bat. And, overall, I’d say that Away is a decent show. I mean, it held my interest enough for me to power through 10 episodes in two days. But, there are aspects about the show that bugged me.
As mentioned earlier, the show follows five astronauts on the first-ever journey to Mars. But, it isn’t one single nation tackling the monumental task. Rather, the five astronauts represent five different nations, including the United States, Russia, China, India, and the United Kingdom. Each astronaut has their own area of expertise, including a chemist, an engineer, a botanist, a medical officer, and the mission commander.
We join the group of astronauts as they prepare to launch their mission from a base on the moon. From there, we follow them on their three year mission to Mars. The first season, though, follows the crew on their journey to Mars.
The emotional aspects of the show and character development arcs are what kept me interested in the show. Yes, the premise of the conflicts are nothing special, and it does end up being somewhat predictable at times, but there are enough twists and turns to me interested.
What Doesn’t Work
While the drama works, the sci-fi aspect of the show doesn’t work. And that’s a problem. You see, aside from the development of the crew, the show focuses on the journey itself. But, with almost every episode, something goes wrong with their spacecraft and mission. That doesn’t happen in real life. Yes, things happen in space, sometimes quite catastrophically – see Apollo 13, Columbia, etc. But, with out spoiling anything, NASA would never authorize use of a spacecraft so riddled with issues. Just look how long it takes them to certify America’s newest manned space vehicles like SpaceX Dragon, Boeing’s Starliner, and Lockheed Martin’s Orion.
If you can get past the issues with the unrealistic aspects of the show, then you may enjoy Netflix’s Away. I say it’s at least worth giving a shot. Just be aware that, in my opinion, it starts off a bit slowly. But, that’s nothing new. Remember Netflix’s first hit House of Cards? That show started off really slow too. Heck, Stargate Universe took one and a half seasons to finally find its footing, but ended up being canceled after season two just as the show was getting good. So, slow starts don’t bug me all that much.
All that said, I’m looking forward to seeing what season two of Away brings to the table.