×

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

More TV

  • American Son review

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases 'American Son' Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix released the trailer for “American Son” starring Kerry Washington and first looks at Dolly Parton’s new anthology series, “Heartstrings.” FIRST LOOKS Netflix has released the trailer for “American Son,” which premieres Nov. 1 on the streaming service. Directed by Tony award-winner Kenny Leon, the film is based on the [...]

  • BBC's Little Mix Talent Show to

    BBC's Little Mix Talent Show to Be Produced by Management Firm's New Shingle, ModestTV

    The BBC has confirmed its Little Mix talent show, which the pop band’s management firm, Modest!, will produce through a new banner, ModestTV. “Little Mix The Search” will be exec produced by Andrea Hamilton, who has partnered with the management outfit to launch the new operation. Her entertainment show credits include “The Voice” and “Strictly [...]

  • Monica Beletsky Apple TV Plus

    Apple Sets Overall Deal With Monica Beletsky

    Monica Beletsky is the latest of a small group of content creators to set an overall deal with Apple and their streaming platform, Apple TV Plus. Under the multi-year deal, Beletsky will develop and produce television series exclusively for the streamer. This is the first overall of Beletsky’s career. Her previous credits include “Fargo,” “Friday [...]

  • Saladin Patterson

    Saladin Patterson Inks Overall Deal at 20th Century Fox Television

    Saladin Patterson has signed an overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. Under the multi-year deal, Patterson will develop, write and produce comedy series for network, cable and streaming platforms. He was previously under a development deal at the studio earlier in his career. Patterson is currently an executive producer on the upcoming FX series [...]

  • Lenny Abrahamson and 'The Favourite' Producer

    'Room' Director Lenny Abrahamson and 'The Favourite' Producer Ed Guiney Present Their BBC-Hulu Series 'Normal People' (EXCLUSIVE)

    At TV market Mipcom in Cannes this week the team behind BBC-Hulu series “Normal People” – led by Lenny Abrahamson, the Oscar nominated director of “Room” – presented the first footage from the show, and explained how they approached the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel. Variety had exclusive access to the presentation. Ed Guiney, one [...]

  • El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

    ‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’ Scores 6.5 Million Viewers Across First Weekend

    “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which dropped on Netflix Oct. 11, drew around 6.5 million total viewers in its first three days on the streaming platform, according to Nielsen. The movie also reached just under 8.2 million unique TV viewers. “El Camino” unsurprisingly drew its biggest audience of the three days on day 1, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content