HBO are serving us sci-fi again, this time about a dystopian world where everyone is having a row about whether religion exists or not.
Ok, we’ve over simplified that – a creepy couple known only as Mother and Father have fled a war-wrecked earth, to the desolate desert of a barely inhabitable planet called Kepler-22b. And they’ve packed light, taking nothing but the painfully tight lycra on their backs and the children they’ve grown in slime – a bit like those gooey aliens everyone had in the 90s. Anyway, they’re on a mission to repopulate their new digs, a plan which gets foiled when all but one of the children dies of a corona-esque cough. As if it couldn’t get any worse, our outlandish parenting team have another spanner thrown in their repopulating works when the religious zealots they originally fled come knocking on their planet door.
Luckily, it turns out Mother is a killbot – who’d a thunk it?! – and off she goes flying about, making people’s heads explode with one glance, and stealing the kids of her enemies. A mother’s work is never done. If all that sounds ridiculous, that’s probably because it is. Whilst a Sci-Fi fanatic might lap up the latex and the loony parenting style, I think most of us might get lost in the sand. Ok, it looks quite nice, and it’s got a few scares for those who enjoy being spooked. But we must admit, it falls a bit flat. Clearly the show’s creators – amongst them the eminent Ridley Scott – were going for something with all the childrearing and religion versus atheism malarkey, but whatever point they were attempting to make, they don’t. Instead, they’ve created a series where the pace of the show is more speed of mud, than speed of sound, which cries – or should we say howls – out for some light relief.
The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan agrees with us on that one, saying “the tone is unrelentingly bleak.” She comments: “Delivered with enough panache, there will always be an appetite for traditional sci-fi tropes reassembled to bang home the usual messages. But Raised By Wolves does not have panache.” The Telegraph’s Ed Power agrees, calling the series “convoluted,” however he does say “In the avenging Mother, moreover, it gave us an anti-hero with the potential to haunt viewers’ dreams.” Mike Hale in The New York Times says the series’ slow pace isn’t helped by the “drab, grey look,” but admits “there’s entertainment in watching Mother and Father learn parenting the hard way.”
First shown December 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.