×

TV Review: ‘Another Life’

'Another Life' is inelegantly made and operates less in the realm of ideas than in pure scares.

Netflix’s new series “Another Life” brings Katee Sackhoff back into space, a decade after the conclusion of “Battlestar Galactica,” the beloved series on which she starred. But her new series looks more like the rest of the fare on the SyFy network — it’s inelegantly made and operates less in the realm of ideas than in pure scares. It’s not ineffective, but little in “Another Life” connects to do much more than the purely visceral.

Which is too bad, not least because the show starts from a point that suggests it has big things on its mind. The arrival (to borrow the title of the 2016 film the plot seems to ape a bit) of a UFO hovering above Earth prompts Sackhoff, an astronaut, to join a mission seeking its origin and its motives. She’s faced first with a mutinous blowhard among her crew (played by the ever-appealing Tyler Hoechlin, who’s given too few notes to play) and then by a creeping space illness that causes one unfortunate astronaut’s nervous system to explode out of her body. It’s compellingly gross.

And that’s about all it is. Sackhoff’s yearning for her family back on earth — evoked through dream sequences and through cuts to their own experiences — doesn’t really land. Though she tries her best, we don’t get to know her as anything other than biographical details: Astronaut, wife, mother. It’s as if the show itself is nervous that making us feel for these characters in a real way is going to mute our identification with the body horror they endure — when, in fact, it’d have the opposite effect.

It’s worth noting briefly that a bright spot in the show is Selma Blair, the actress who’s been recently open about her struggle with multiple sclerosis and who appears as a batty and conspiratorial journalist seeking the truth about the aliens. It’s a deeply silly role that Blair puts her all into, and one that engenders the series’s only real bits of world-building, as the show attempts to convey what life in a future with aliens and deep-space travel might really be like. It’s an aspect of this show that, as is all too rare here, viewers will feel like they haven’t seen before.

“Another Life.” Netflix. July 25. Ten episodes (four screened for review).

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Tyler Hoechlin, Justin Chatwin, Samuel Anderson, Elizabeth Faith Ludlow, A.J. Rivera, Alexander Eling, Blu Hunt, Jake Abel, JayR Tinaco, Jessica Camacho, Barbara Williams, Lina Renna, Selma Blair. 

Executive Producers: Aaron Martin, Noreen Halpern

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Sean Spicer Emmys

    Sean Spicer's Casting Explained? Red States Love 'Dancing With the Stars'

    ABC faced backlash this week after casting former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on “Dancing with the Stars.” But that outrage might actually spice up the dancing competition’s dwindling ratings — particularly in Trump Country. “Dancing with the Stars” has faced a relatively alarming decline in ratings over the past two cycles, falling 32% [...]

  • Peppa Pig

    Hasbro Acquires Entertainment One in $4 Billion All-Cash Deal

    Toymaker Hasbro is acquiring studio Entertainment One in an all-cash transaction valued at $4 billion, bringing My Little Pony and Nerf under the same umbrella as “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks” and furthering Hasbro’s growth goals in the infant and preschool categories. Hasbro aims to expand its operations in film and TV. Entertainment One’s production [...]

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar

    'Other People's Houses' Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar in the Works at Fox

    Sarah Michelle Gellar is looking to reunite with “Ringer” creators Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder on a dramedy co-produced by Fox Entertainment and UTV. Fox is developing “Other People’s Houses,” Variety has learned, and has given the project a script commitment. Charmelo and Snyder will write and executive produce, while Neil Meron, Sarah Michelle Gellar [...]

  • Ann Sarnoff Warner Bros

    Ann Sarnoff Formally Takes Reins of Warner Bros. as CEO

    The Ann Sarnoff era at Warner Bros. has begun. Sarnoff formally took the reins as Warner Bros. chair-CEO on Thursday, two months after she was appointed to the post. Sarnoff told employees in a memo that she has been impressed by the company’s track record during the past year amid a period of upheaval for [...]

  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler'Woke Up This Morning: The

    ‘Sopranos’ Cast Members to Present at VMAs in New Jersey

    The VMAs will reunite “Sopranos” castmates for the big awards show happening Monday night in Newark, New Jersey — right next door to America’s favorite crime family.  Drea De Matteo (who played the mobster girlfriend-turned F.B.I. informant Adriana La Cerva), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (who played Tony Soprano’s precocious daughter Meadow Soprano) and Vincent Pastore (who played [...]

  • The L Word

    'The L Word: Generation Q' Teaser Unites Original Cast, New Characters

    Showtime has released the first look at the next generation of “The L Word” and its new cast including Rosanny Zayas, Jacqueline Toboni, Sepideh Moafi, Arienne Mandi, and Micah Lee. Along with some of the original cast, including Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, and Katherine Moennig, the series sequel picks up where its creator Ilene Chaiken [...]

  • ACCESS HOLLYWOOD -- Season: 24 --

    'Access Hollywood' Franchise Adds New Half-Hour Show

    After a spate of recent layoffs and the departure of host Natalie Morales, “Access Hollywood” is extending its brand with a new half-hour series. “All Access,” premiering Sept. 9, will take an in-depth look into the national headlines and look to uncover the real-life drama occurring in everyday places, exploring a blend of true crime [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content