And “Away” We Go!
Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank is the latest A-lister to (fictionally) go into space. But unlike Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal… Swank’s venture is not chronicled in a movie, but rather a TV series.
The 10-episode first season of “Away”, debuting next Friday September 4th on Netflix, stars Swank as Emma Green. She’s the leader of the first (wo)manned mission to Mars. Josh Charles (“The Good Wife”) plays her husband Matt, and Talitha Eliana Bateman (“Robert The Bruce”, “Love, Simon”) is daughter Alexis.
Emma is about to leave her family for three years, joining four other crew members (who represent four other nationalities). However, even though everyone should be getting along (this gang is gonna be spending a lot of time together), much of the 56-minute first episode is devoted to two of the other four ganging-up on Emma. They’re complaining about her to NASA heads after an incident on board during the initial part of the voyage from Earth to the Moon that may or may not have been Emma’s fault.
This doesn’t feel realistic at all, nor does the fact that one of these five distinguished, chosen astronauts keeps throwing up while on the Moon. Who knows how he’ll be on the red planet?! In real life, NASA simply wouldn’t allow this.
The best way to describe “Away” is a soap opera in space. And boy does the first episode feel like your classic daytime drama. Emma contemplates whether she’ll actually go from the Moon to Mars after all following the news of a sudden family emergency. To say the performances are over the top is an understatement. Swank is unfortunately but she’s swallowed-up in a “been there / seen that” space story fireball.
I screened the first two episodes. The second one features a ridiculous scenario that has been played out many a time on screen. I think I can tell you pretty much how the other 8 eps. will go.
“Away” definitely gives off some “Designated Survivor” vibes. This is another serial about a person in an extraordinary circumstance trying to decide if they should really take on this incredible task and then adjusting to it while being challenged and criticized along the way. It’s exactly what Kiefer Sutherland went through for three seasons (SHOULD’VE BEEN MORE) as U.S. President Tom Kirkman.
But “Away” doesn’t come close to the impact of “DS” because the scripts are just SO basic and predictable and borderline amateur hour. The visuals are alright but nothing we haven’t witnessed before.
A lack of authenticity and an asteroid of unbelievability collide, and what we get is one of the year’s most disappointing TV premieres. Sadly, I must tell you to stay away.