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September 18, 2020

"Away"

WARNING: SPOILER BELOW!

What can you say about a 10-part series about the first manned mission to Mars in which the landing happens in Episode 10?

For the first few episodes I was OK with the five astronauts getting ready for the mission and the many back stories and the interplay between them.

Good thing the cast is uniformly excellent all the way down because by the end of Episode 6 they were only 2/3 of the way there.

At first I thought Hilary Swank was miscast as mission commander and that they'd have done better to use Kristen Stewart or Charlize Theron if they insisted on a woman, but after a few episodes Swank became totally believable. 

"Away" is sort of a reality show that's not real but seems like it could be, taking place in weightlessness [I refuse to use the technically correct term "microgravity" because it's annoying], speaking of which, the sets and special effects are superb.

All manner of catastrophes ensue as their Atlas spacecraft approaches Mars, and for a couple episodes it appears they won't make it but will instead either die en route or after landing.

Then Mission Control comes up with an ingenious maneuver that will return them to Earth without their ever landing.

Then another stroke of genius makes it possible to them to land after all and stay alive on the Red Planet until a supply ship arrives.

In summary: once I realized that the series was going to primarily focus on what happened before the mission actually began and that I was OK with that because the back stories were for the most part quite interesting, and because the screenplays (all done by different people, as was direction of individual episodes) were very good, I was fine with however the story played out.

You decide: if you're the type of person who liked "The Martian" because the whole movie happens on Mars,

but can't stand the idea of a Mars mission drama that doesn't get there until near the end, perhaps this isn't your cup of oolong.

September 18, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


Comments

As we said in the 60s: The trip is in the tripping.

(See also the ad from Cunard lines: “Getting there is half the fun.“) Also spoofed in Mad magazine. But that’s another story.

Posted by: Paul Tempke | Sep 19, 2020 3:19:08 PM

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