“Death can be very unpleasant if one is intelligent.” ~ Father, from Raised by wolves on HBO Max.
Sometimes a TV show lives past its expiration date. A show like Fear the walking death shuffles on forever, even as it loses its best performers and despite its declining quality. We’ve just seen season 7 take AMC zombie drama to new lows, and yet a season 8 has already been greenlit.
Sometimes a TV show is sent to an early grave. Netflix was notorious for canceling shows that had a lot of life left in them — like The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance—or that almost ended the story – like GLOW.
But I admit I expected more from HBO. I do not know why. The hasty, botched end of game of Thrones should have taught me to keep my hopes and expectations in check. Now HBO Max has dropped what might be the best sci-fi show on TV: Raised by wolves. It appears that the reorganization at Warner Bros – and its merger with Discovery – has taken that sacrifice. It won’t be the last.
A show too good to die young
Produced by Ridley Scott, the space opera is something unique in the TV landscape. Raised by wolves is intelligent and well written – but also something of a fever dream to watch. It almost has a bit of a vintage feel, like something straight out of the weird sci-fi of an older era. Dark and intriguing, it explores not only the disconnect between AI and humanity, but also between religious zealots and equally radical atheists, and the aftermath of a war that completely devastated Earth.
The show delves into the mysteries of mankind’s new home on Keppler-22b, a habitable but hostile plane crammed with acidic oceans and terrifying monsters. Creator Aaron Guzikowski has spun a deft – if downright bizarre – tale of shifting alliances, power struggles, and humanity’s last-ditch effort to survive thus far. But the story is not finished yet.
Raised by wolves also has an all-star cast. Travis Fimmel, fresh out of his role as Ragnar in viking, plays Marcus – an atheist disguised as one of the religious Mithraic soldiers, along with his wife Sue, played by Niamh Algar. Fimmel does a great job as we watch Marcus go insane, somehow obsessed with what appears to be the planet itself – a powerful and twisted entity they refer to as the Mithraic god Sol.
Meanwhile, Amanda Collin plays the AI mother opposite Abubakar Salim’s father. Tasked by the atheists with raising children prior to the arrival of the atheist colony ship on Keppler-22b, these two androids are the first to begin uncovering its dark secrets.
Collin is brilliant in this role, as he simultaneously embodies Mother as a caring, sympathetic teacher and one of the most terrifying AIs you will ever encounter in a film or TV series.
Salim is equally adept at portraying Father as a cautious and much less dangerous counterpart to Mother. He’s just so damn personable that you can’t help but cheer for him.
Kids make up a big part of the cast, and all of those younger actors — most notably Winta McGrath, who plays 22-year-old OG Keppler kid Campion — do an excellent job too.
The acting, the special effects, the set design, the costumes, the weird music, the phenomenal worldview – everything is great and just feels extraordinarily unique and unlike any other show on television. It’s really tragic that Warner Bros pulled the plug. I have a feeling this is going to be quite a cult classic and it’s just so frustrating that the story – which was just getting started! – doesn’t get the ending she and her fans deserve.
Yes, I’m sure it’s very expensive. Season 2 had a bigger cast and more special effects and just more of everything, and part of me was certainly nervous that that might happen. It’s so weird and so different and so obviously expensive — and it doesn’t have the same huge appeal as something like that western world, However, if I had to choose, I’d prefer that they cancel this show — which did a fine job in completing its best story arc at the end of season one.
A new home?
Salim claims there’s still hope Scott Free Productions could find a second life Raised by wolves elsewhere. This would not be unprecedented. We’ve seen shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine be terminated and find a new home with another streamer. The Orville left Fox and joined Hulu for its third season.
Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Paramount – any of them would be wise to snag this premium sci-fi show ASAP. It would bring some much-needed top-notch content and a flood of grateful fans. Netflix, which has been struggling lately and will soon have another content issue stranger things 4 broadcasts its last two episodes in July could score particularly well here.
I will keep my fingers crossed. And fans of this show should make their voices heard. As Salim wrote on reddit, “I’m asking you to show that love, hear your voice on social media and help us find a new home.”
There’s a petition you can sign here, and a fan-made website with some resources to help spread the word. Take to social media, share posts like this on Twitter and Facebook, and do whatever it takes to save the show.
It might all come to nothing, but it never hurts to try. Any of the big streamers could use a really good sci-fi drama to add to their list.
Make some noise.