HBO Max may be new to the streaming world, but they are coming out extremely aggressive with their exclusive content. With so many options for streaming it makes sense that this already giant in the industry would pull no punches and deliver great content. Over the last few years (prior to the launch of HBO Max) the shows that HBO were putting together dominated the competition, one has to look no further than The Sopranos, OZ or the more current Game of Thrones and Westworld. Their track record proves itself so with the new streaming service it would make sense that they would come out with a something to prove attitude, but will these new shows live up to their history?
One way to put your best foot forward when trying to have a successful first season of a show, is to make sure they one running the show is someone you can trust to pull an audience. Ridley Scott is no slouch when it comes to successful franchises walking down a red carpet spread over a golden path paved by the Aliens Franchise, Blade Runner and a stack of other phenomenal movies. So, having a show that will deal with artificial intelligence and the complications of human emotions seemed to be a perfect marriage for HBO and Scott. Raised By Wolves is actually the brain child of Aaron Guzikoski (Prisoners, Contraband, Papillion) but Scott came on board to be a producer and direct the first couple of episodes to be sure the show started off on the right track before handing the directing reigns over to someone else, that someone turning out to be his son, Luke.
The show starts off with a couple of androids “raising” a new type of humanity on a foreign planet after earth is all but destroyed by a war between atheist and a religious government. Some may feel that the first episode of the show starts off a bit slow and sluggish however the viewer needs to keep in mind that this is world building at its core, and we are being introduced to an entirely new universe so the proper foundation must be laid, and Ridley Scot is a master mason when it comes to this craft. What could have been told in a quick “recap” as many shows do to show how we got to where we are at this point instead is a thoughtful drawn-out story where we are introduced to not only the characters we will be involved with as the show grows, but also the world and time in which they live in.
The two we are introduced to first are androids simply named “Mother” (Amanda Collin) and “Father” (Abubakar Salim) that have been given the mission of starting a new line of humanity on this planet to be raised in a way where they do not make the same mistakes that were made on earth. All we learn at first is that a religious government that seemingly worships the sun destroyed the planet with its zealot ideologies. These facts are important because it explains why Mother and Father teach the children their specific do’s and do not’s. We quickly learn that although these are androids, they have very different personalities and objectives when it comes to bringing these new humans up.
This is perhaps one of the most pulled effects of the show from the beginning is the subtle introductions to who Mother and Father are and what it is that makes them unique. It gives enough information to keep us invested but keeps just enough hidden under the surface that creates a desire to dig a little deeper down and see what else lies beneath. With the first episode really focusing on the Mother and Father dynamics of raising a new “flock” of children on this undiscovered landscape, the next few episodes do a more explosive view of how things came to be while centering on a different type of mother and father. The new characters are members of the religious zealots themselves, Sue (Niamh Algar) and Marcus (Travis Fimmel). We have more of a backstory as to how things came to be and a slight spin on whether or not this group of people are actually to blame for the war and how things played out.
As we move forward in the story and directing chairs change names, there is a seamless transition that happens giving the viewer a feeling of overarching themes glued together by emotions and dangerous decisions. A story that continues to unfold on the screen and begs for more attention with each episode, starting out slow and laying the building blocks for what is to come, this is a fun and exciting tale that explores the strange connection between man, machine, emotion and consequences. As we learn more of the landscape where this new story is being told, we are introduced to dangers and mysteries that deserve the time to play out before us. Raised By Wolves is a treat for any fan of Ridley Scott and will continue to please, if not at least intrigue viewers new and old to this type of storytelling.
HBO comes out swinging for the fences with Raised By Wolves, and even if some of the hits are not homeruns, even the grounders are fun to watch play out and create an atmosphere of excitement and mystery that is satisfying to watch unfold. A show that can easily be binged or watched over time allowing things to simmer and set before diving into the next episode, there are elements of love and action that one looks for when watching a new science fiction story.
Written exclusively for TheLastPicture.Show by Jacob Ruble
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