Netflix has decided to double-down on their hard science fiction content with the decision to renew the series Another Life for a second season. Another Life is a sci-fi drama starring Katee Sackhoff, better known for playing the role of Starbuck in the 2004 Battlestar Galactica reboot. She plays Niko Breckinridge, captain of the spaceship Salvare, hurriedly sent out with an inexperienced crew to investigate the source of an alien probe that landed on Earth. She leaves behind her husband Erik, the lead scientist investigating the probe, and their daughter Jana.
Season 1 of the series was blasted by critics, holding an almost perfect 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It fairs a little better with viewers, rating a 61%. You would be hard pressed to find a more divisive show on the Netflix schedule. People either loved it or completely hated it. You can tell by the comments on the 25YL review of the first season. The series has been thus far, without a doubt, poorly written. The science is bad. The characters make nonsensical choices. The tropes have all been done better elsewhere.
That said though, the show is not completely hopeless. The final few episodes introduced some interesting ideas to explore. The alien race behind the probe was revealed to be hostile at the same time they were proclaiming a message of peace on Earth. The AI controlling the Salvare created a second rogue “daughter” AI. New characters had just been brought on board through an ingenious plot device of having a second crew in cryosleep. In an interview for Collider, Katee Sackhoff has said that the show was pitched to Netflix with a definite three season plan in mind. Some of the bumpy start here might be attributable to set up for better things to come in Seasons 2 and 3.
The renewal comes three months after the series premiere, so although this may seem a confusing move by Netflix, it obviously wasn’t a slam dunk back at the home office. Netflix is notoriously tight-lipped about viewing / subscription numbers, so we may never know why a show like Another Life gets the go ahead while the absolutely brilliant and innovative series The OA gets cancelled. Let’s hope the writers take all of the criticism to heart and turn things around for Season 2. We could always use another good sci-fi series out there.