TV Review: Raised By Wolves

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

TV Review, HBO, HBO Max, Raised By Wolves, Science Fiction, Ridley Scott, Travis Fimmel, Amanda Collin

Plot: Raised by Wolves centers on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.

TV Review, HBO, HBO Max, Raised By Wolves, Science Fiction, Ridley Scott, Travis Fimmel, Amanda Collin

Review: When your series gets Ridley Scott as a director, you know you are going to garner some buzz. Raised By Wolves is a high profile series debuting on HBO Max from creator Aaron Guzikowski, writer of Denis Villeneuve's PRISONERS, and the series The Red Road starring Jason Momoa. Set in the distant future, Raised By Wolves is a difficult series to describe. If you have seen the trailers, you know it involves a violent, dystopian landscape where androids and humans come into battle with one another all in the name of religion. It is a baffling and dense series with a very deliberate pace that may be a challenge for some viewers to sit through.

Blending the scale of Ridley Scott's PROMETHEUS and ALIEN COVENANT with the desolate look of THE MARTIAN, Raised By Wolves also owes a great debt to the filmmaker's work on KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, another foray into storytelling centered on opposing faiths. But, Scott is not the only director involved in this project. The 10 episode season also features episodes directed by James Hawes (Black Mirror), Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (The Terror), Alex Gabassi (The ABC Murders), and Luke Scott (MORGAN). Ridley Scott sets the tone with the first two episodes which drop us into the visual landscape of the series with very little explanation as to what is going on. This presents the first challenge for viewers who have to figure out who these characters are and why we are watching them.

Set in the mid-22nd century, Raised by Wolves centers on the remnants of humanity after a war decimates Earth. What remains are a band of androids charged with restoring humanity via colonies around the galaxy with the zealous followers of Mithraic do the same. In battle mode, Raised By Wolves evokes the grittiness of Scott's BLACK HAWK DOWN while the armor of the Mithraic looks like a blend of future weaponry crossed with what knights wore during the Crusades. The religious implications of this story are far from subtle with the focus of the war being the Mithraic versus all Atheists. By using a fictional faith rather than one grounded in our real world, the series does allow some distance for the audience to objectively weigh the two sides of the argument, but if you are deeply religious you make have issues with this story.

While the majority of faces in this series may not be recognizable to North American audiences outside of Travis Fimmel, this is a breakout role for Amanda Collin. Ridley Scott certainly sets the proper tone with his two episodes and his experience directing actors playing androids, but Collin approaches her role as Mother in a unique way that equals Alicia Vikander's role in EX MACHINA and Rutger Hauer's in BLADE RUNNER. Mother is an android with warrior-like skills and abilities that make her a powerful weapon. She alone can rival the entirety of the Mithraic faction and yet she shows a lot of vulnerability as she protects not only her son Campion (Winta McGrath) but several other children as well.

TV Review, HBO, HBO Max, Raised By Wolves, Science Fiction, Ridley Scott, Travis Fimmel, Amanda Collin

Over the six episodes made available for review, Raised By Wolves shifts from horror elements to survival thrills while shiting between grand scale war sequences and action to intimate dramatic moments, all supported by flashbacks that help fill in the story which starts in media res. The score by Ben Frost adds an alien feel to the series that adds to the cinematic style on display. The biggest problem I had with the show is that it takes far too long to get going. The first episode is difficult to get into as we are given very little introduction, something that is rectified with title cards and background that help you orient yourself to the story.

I am still not sure how I feel about Raised By Wolves. At first, the production values and set design had me intrigued and flashes back to the war on Earth enticed me to find out more about this vision of the future. But, many of the characters are all fairly unlikeable with performances, aside from Amanda Collin, that feel wooden and two-dimensional. I reached a point in each episode where my interest was piqued before I began to lose interest again. The filmmaking on display is top-notch and equal to most studio feature films but the story doesn't quite click. Maybe it is the non-linear storytelling and flashbacks that prevented me from connecting with the story more consistently. The trailer makes Raised By Wolves look less like the contemplative and existential drama that it is and more of an action thriller. You may like Raised By Wolves but I am not sure anyone will love it.

Raised By Wolves premieres on September 3rd on HBO Max.

TV Review: Raised By Wolves

GOOD

7
Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.