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Netflix series “Away”: the journey to Mars, chock full of personal drama

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,474
14,485
West Vancouver, British Columbia
am also now curious about “Raised by Wolves”. But that is for another thread.
As the person who started this thread, I encourage you to hijack it so we can discuss a hopefully better series! :p

I don’t have HBO so do not have access to “Raised by Wolves”.
 
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heems

Member
Jan 10, 2011
314
292
San Diego
Here is a small voice from the other side. With all due respect OP (and almost everyone else here) should limit themselves to space documentaries. Really if you are itching that bad for real space then go watch the NASA channel. Plenty of yawns there. :)

I started watching Away without any expectations. A sci-fi show in space is rare and I would give it a shot. While I am not into rate of psi change of the capsule during someone farting, I did see some glaring issues. Hell I wish they could have watched the SpaceX launch and vehicle just so they knew how wrong they got the set. All those buttons and knobs. So old school. But I also saw some positives I did not see mentioned here. For instance the show does highlight command and conflict issues. Does it resolve it properly maybe not, but at least got me thinking about how a commander has to lead and the tough decisions s/he has to make. Also for once a show didn’t have Uber tech in it either. It was simple text, email, etc. No next gen semi-sentient AI driving the ship. Maybe a disappoint for some but that would have been another me too I am glad they didn’t take.

In the end I found the series entertaining. A foreign concept here perhaps. And I was rooting for their mission. It was light but at the same time let my imagination fly along. I call it a win.
 
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ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,474
14,485
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Here is a small voice from the other side. With all due respect OP (and almost everyone else here) should limit themselves to space documentaries. Really if you are itching that bad for real space then go watch the NASA channel.
I am a science fiction fan from since I was 12. When a story is set in the distant future I make allowances for possible scientific advancements and will accept things like faster-than-light travel and even teleportation if it serves the story.

But Away is set in the very near future using currently feasible technology. That is why the basic scientific errors are so egregious. They are there to drive the hyper-emotional plot lines but they are completely unnecessary. Anyone with an elementary knowledge of physics can clearly see them. The writers could tell their story effectively while getting the science right, in fact they have a duty to do so. Our society is by and large science ignorant. A high profile Netflix show set maybe a decade from now is a great opportunity to educate people while telling a compelling story about the incredibly brave people who might undertake such a hazardous journey. Instead it’s a wasted opportunity.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,474
14,485
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Thanks, I watched that episode. Extremely intriguing and wildly imaginative. I will look into how I can access all the episodes.
Raised by Cosmacelf.
I'm up to date on the show (ep5). I find it pretty interesting. The visuals are fantastic.
The first episode is on YouTube, if you're curious and don't have HBO.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,474
14,485
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Eric Berger’s take on “Away” Netflix’s Away splendidly brings a humans-to-Mars mission to life

QUOTE: “I found the show to be fantastic. The characters felt real, the politics felt real, and the technology felt real.”

As readers of this thread already know, I am not in complete agreement with Eric, whose space reporting I find to be exceptional. Of course we are talking about a work of fiction here, not actual events.

QUOTE: “Because of the actions taken on the way to Mars in the show, some critics have said the five astronauts in Away would never have passed the extensive screenings to become crew members. But I suspect traveling into deep space for months at a time will have a profound effect on astronauts and lead to more independence.”

I think he is missing the fact that the astronauts were already exhibiting clear signs of conflict before they even left the Moon. The “chemical leak” fire accident that occurred during Earth-Moon transit laid bare the divides between crew members. They weren’t a team, they were warring personalities (with the exception of the botanist, who seemed designed to serve as the religious mediator on a crew of atheists).

QUOTE: “There are a few truly implausible events in Away. The most glaring of which for me was the uncertainty about whether the Pegasus supply ship successfully landed on Mars, a few weeks before the crew’s arrival. In the real world, this supply vessel would have launched and landed safely on Mars before a human crew ever left Earth’s gravity well. Moreover, there would be satellites in orbit around Mars to image the landing site.”

Only a “few”? While I agree with Eric about the absurdity of the success of the mission depending on a cargo vehicle arriving safely just weeks before the crew lands, he does not mention the numerous instances of basic scientific errors.

QUOTE: “But these are small quibbles. Most of the technology comes across as legitimate, an evolution of existing systems. If the show does not portray enough involvement from commercial companies—it is hard to see NASA reaching Mars without SpaceX, for example—it does the intergovernmental space agency politics well. Bottom line: this show is set in a plausible future.”

I partially agree with him in that regard. However, I think the likelihood that at some point during the next decade or two the idea that China, the US, Russia, India, and Britain (not the EU, apparently*) would come together to mount a joint mission to Mars is wildly implausible. I can’t imagine even the US and the EU could come to an agreement to achieve that objective. I realize that the ISS is a mostly successful partnership, but the financial investment is much smaller and looking forward I cannot envision that happening again in the near future. The stresses and fracture lines evident in today’s world, driven by climate change, battles over globalization, rising extreme nationalism, and an internet that is trending toward exacerbating divisions rather than increasing peaceful cooperation, make such a fairytale vision of international cooperation extremely unlikely.

* The botanist wears a British flag on his flight suit. Leaving aside the possibility that by the time of this Mars mission Britain will likely have devolved, with a completely independent Scotland (and possibly Ireland) the EU is a far more powerful and economically capable entity with greater financial resources than Britain and would be a much more plausible participant in a Mars mission, as would Japan or Canada be compared to England.
 
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ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
11,066
8,878
Maine
* The botanist wears a British flag on his flight suit. Leaving aside the possibility that by the time of this Mars mission Britain will likely have devolved, with a completely independent Scotland (and possibly Ireland) the EU is a far more powerful and economically capable entity with greater financial resources than Britain and would be a much more plausible participant in a Mars mission, as would Japan or Canada be compared to England.

If there's a single Western European, the most likely nationality by population is German, French then British.
But maybe it just happened that the British botanist was considered best qualified, and there was absolutely no politics involved in the selection.
 

Rockster

Active Member
Oct 22, 2013
3,014
4,699
McKinney, TX
The Discovery Channel "Mars" docudrama series that had commentary by Elon was about as good as it gets for something on Mars colonization.

The problem with "Away," "The Martian," or any similar type of show or movie is that it has to focus on drama or action over reality. 2001 A Space Odyssey was about the most realistic in terms of how quiet, slow, and tedious real space travel is after the initial launch. Movies and TV shows are notorious for spacecraft acting like fighter planes instead of real spacecraft. Even SpaceX gives us the intense drama of the launch and landing but avoids the hours and days of a Dragon going to and from the ISS. Apollo 13 was a great example of how to turn it around but that was because the astronauts were really in a life and death situation for their mission.

So enjoy the fantasy of TV and movies but being accurate or realistic is very unlikely. If the show tells a story well and avoids too much bad science then it should be enjoyable. Movies and TV are art by committee. I've written over a dozen screenplays and it doesn't matter how accurate or realistic you write the story, if a director or producer decides to add something they think is great...your work at being accurate or realistic is gone.


The "Mars" docudrama has a number of things about it that I liked. The intermix of real, present day interviews and commentary by noted experts (including Musk, Tyson, etc.) was great. Mixing that with the fictional drama was nicely done and felt like an original concept. There were, though, just too many eye roll moments in the drama part for me to really get into it. [spoilers ahead] Things like the commander speaking to his crew minutes before takeoff and in his 'rally the troops' speech saying that if any of them had any doubts or anything more important in their life that they could leave now and nobody would blame them. Uh, you're 90 seconds from launch and you think the loss of a crew member would be no big deal? Really?

Also, when they landed outside of the anticipated landing zone and the reaction at mission control was "oh, no, they're outside of the drop zone. We gotta figure out what to do. Let's go, people. Think. Somebody give me options..." Again, no. There would be contingency plans for contingency plans for contingency plans. A craft landing outside of the landing zone would have been met at mission control with a specific reaction, based upon well documented protocols that have been planned out months and years in advance. Sure, a complete outlier event would thrown mission control into a 'what now?' mindset, but not the most easily predicted misstep imaginable: the craft landing outside of its designated landing area. Please.

Too much of that sort of that nonsense from what's supposed to be a group of very smart experts who have planned thoroughly and I tune out.
 
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Cosmacelf

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Mar 6, 2013
8,885
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San Diego
Also, when they landed outside of the anticipated landing zone and the reaction at mission control was "oh, no, they're outside of the drop zone. We gotta figure out what to do. Let's go, people. Think. Somebody give me options..." Again, no. There would be contingency plans for contingency plans for contingency plans. A craft landing outside of the landing zone would have been met at mission control with a specific reaction, based upon well documented protocols that have been planned out months and years in advance. Sure, a complete outlier event would thrown mission control into a 'what now?' mindset, but not the most easily predicted misstep imaginable: the craft landing outside of its designated landing area. Please.

Yes indeed. That actually happened on the very first moon landing. Their intended landing site had too many boulders so Armstrong took control of the lander manually and joysticked it further along, visually looking for a better landing site. The poor computer couldn't keep up so he manually landed the craft as well, fuel running low.

The guts of those guys taking on that mission with dodgy pocket calculators and instruments so bad that they had no idea if the landing site was going to work or not!
 
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Mo City

Active Member
Jul 17, 2016
1,910
11,884
near Houston
Away was meh. If you are a complete sci fi nut like me, give it a try and you'll probably finish.

Raised by Wolves is interesting. It does a good job of roping you into investing in the characters, which is the easiest way for a show to retain viewers. I won't know if it's been worth the time until the 10th and final episode this Thursday. The payoff needs to be good. If you are a Vikings fan, you are probably also a Travis Fimmel fan.

Neither of these shows is as bad as that piece of horrid tripe, "Another Life," with Katee Sachoff (who was great in Battlestar Galactica). That was laughably bad.
This is one of the few shows where the reviews and comments were so unanimously and harshly negative I did not watch.
 

Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2013
8,885
22,910
San Diego
Raised by Wolves is interesting. It does a good job of roping you into investing in the characters, which is the easiest way for a show to retain viewers. I won't know if it's been worth the time until the 10th and final episode this Thursday. The payoff needs to be good. If you are a Vikings fan, you are probably also a Travis Fimmel fan.

Raised by Wolves is flawed by otherwise interesting characters doing random stuff to seemingly advance the plot towards some goal or payoff. It is a bit too much of supposedly intelligent people making stupid decisions.

For example, when the Mythraic advance party got to the settlement and realized they were dealing with androids and a freaking necromancer, any normal person would have tried negotiating and biding their time. Why would an isolated and totally outgunned advance party do essentially a frontal assault? Pretty dumb, but it advanced the plot.

It's too bad because they did indeed have interesting characters.

Good screenwriting delivers a story where you aren't constantly asking yourself "why did that character do that?" especially if there was an obviously better thing to do. I'm not talking about Mother here - obviously she is more complicated that we've been told so far.

Anyways we shall see what the payoff is this Thursday.
 
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Mo City

Active Member
Jul 17, 2016
1,910
11,884
near Houston
Raised by Wolves is flawed by otherwise interesting characters doing random stuff to seemingly advance the plot towards some goal or payoff. It is a bit too much of supposedly intelligent people making stupid decisions.

For example, when the Mythraic advance party got to the settlement and realized they were dealing with androids and a freaking necromancer, any normal person would have tried negotiating and biding their time. Why would an isolated and totally outgunned advance party do essentially a frontal assault? Pretty dumb, but it advanced the plot.

It's too bad because they did indeed have interesting characters.

Good screenwriting delivers a story where you aren't constantly asking yourself "why did that character do that?" especially if there was an obviously better thing to do. I'm not talking about Mother here - obviously she is more complicated that we've been told so far.

Anyways we shall see what the payoff is this Thursday.
IMO, payoff was meh. I might watch the second season whenever it happens. Not exactly looking forward to it.
 
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