Netflix clearly isn’t tightening the purse strings, as it has once again thrown a load of cash at another shiny new original, this time about a soccer mom in space. Such is their seemingly infinite budget, that they’ve managed to get two-time Oscar winner Hillary Swank on board.
Swank’s perfectly groomed brow is ready to frown its way through ten episodes of sometimes high octane, sometimes dazzlingly mundane drama, as she tries to keep a crew from dying in space, whilst ensuring her husband is properly parenting their child down on Earth. A woman’s work is truly never done. Whilst the setting of space and the presence of Swank might lead you to believe you’re in the realm of Interstellar or The Martian, unfortunately the vibe is more in the region of overpriced soap opera.
It follows the familiar formula of origin stories shown in flashbacks, and characters crumbling under pressure due to the trauma of their childhood. We’ve seen it before, and it wasn’t that revolutionary then either. Away follows a few other sci-fi shows that have come and gone away over recent years. There was Mars, which got cancelled after two seasons, and The First, which ironically got cancelled after its first season. Will Away break the curse – one small step for binge-watchers, one huge leap for streamerkind – and get a second season? Stay tuned.
In The Independent Ed Cumming absolutely rinsed Away, calling Swank a “Karen-in-space who would like to talk to the mission manager,” before criticising the shows “nominal fidelity to physics.” He states: “Swank commits admirably to her role, frankly beyond what she ought to be able to do with the script, but even her shoulders, and the rest of the Atlas’s crew, aren’t broad enough to carry us away.” Cumming won’t be waiting with bated breath for the second season, then. Slightly more complimentary was Tim Robey of The Telegraph, who says the show offers a “certain cosy appeal” once you’ve got your head around the fact it isn’t particularly ground-breaking, and praises the “perfectly lovely” performance by Swank. Rebecca Nicholson in The Guardian says the seriesis “more mundane than out of this world,” claiming that “If Away spent less time at home, and toned down its saccharine side, then it could be something special.”
So, special it’s not, soapy it is.
First shown September 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.