Raised by Wolves is a far future sci-fi series that experiments with the usual android trope of the heartless automaton bent on death and destruction. Many different subtexts are explored in raised by wolves including the nature of belief, the duality of human behavior and the nature of love.
The story follows the lives of the two androids called Mother and Father as they attempt to navigate the task of raising a group of human children on the inhospitable planet Kepler-22b. The atmosphere of the setting in Raised by Wolves is a big part of what makes this sci-fi drama stand out.
Jagged mountains jut from the earth like the teeth of ancient creatures long extinct, while Baobab-like trees grow scattered across dusty planes. Howling winds scour desert and scrub land, while strange holes that plunge deep into the earth litter the surface of the planet.
This haunting landscape compliments the unsettling relationship between the androids and their human children. In the first half of the series there is a distinct uneasiness in how the character of mother deals with her role as career. Father seems more suited to adapting to the emotional complexity of human interaction, and the interplay between the two androids creates an atmosphere of tension. As the story progresses this feeling of unease is heightened as our initial impressions of the morality of the setting are challenged.
The first two episodes of RBW were directed by Ridley Scott, who also serves as an executive producer for the show. His influence is evident throughout the series as echoes of the psychological horror of Alien pervade the desolate landscape of Kepler-22b. A constant undercurrent of fear pervades the dust, kept alive by the mystery of random attacks by creatures of unknown origin.
I stumbled across raised by wolves when searching for TV shows staring Travis Fimmel (Ragnor of Vikings fame). Although Fimmel is great in his role as Marcus, a soldier in the Mithraic fleet, the star of this show is undoubtedly Amanda Collin as the android Mother.
Beyond these two protagonists, the supporting cast manage to portray complex relationships, struggles and conflict. Mother and Father (played by Abubakar Salim) are at constant odds over how to raise the children, and their only surviving son Campion (played by Winta McGrath) plays the role of empath well. There is so much more great character interplay, especially between the believers of Sol, the god of the Mithraic religion. But my spoiler alarm is ringing now, so I shall leave you to discover these stories for yourself.
There is a stand out scene when Mother goes on a rampage that will not disappoint fans of blood and gore. But I found the horror element of the show to be more psychological. The story challenges preconceived notions of right and wrong, leading us to the conclusion that in the theatre of atrocity it is all a matter of perspective.
If you are a fan of dark and unsettling sci-fi drama, raised by wolves is not to be missed. In terms of immersing you in a far future sci-fi universe, raised by wolves ranks as my favorite show in the last 10 years with Altered Carbon coming in a close second.
The final two episodes of raised by wolves expand on the history of the planet Kepler-22b, setting up for a second season and further horrors to come.
Strange, unsettling and original storyline.
Good story progression, maintaining mystery until the very end of the series.
Special effects are amazing, transporting you to another world.
Believable, complex and psychologically fluid characters.
I found the character of Campion to be a little annoying.
There are moments where subplots detract from the main storyline.
My score: 8/10
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