‘Another Life’: Pass The Psychotropic Condiments Please!

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

After a mysterious alien artifact lands on earth and all attempts at communication have thus far failed, Captain Niko Breckinridge is tasked with sending the earth spaceship Salvare to discover the point of origin of said artifact!

Normally, everyone would be thrilled to see Starbuck back in action out in space. Except this time, Katee Sackoff is Niko Breckinridge instead of Starbuck, and Niko is rather unpredictable and ruthless. The entire crew of the Salvare seems to live in fear of angering Captain Niko, and apparently with good reason, for when mutiny rears its ugly head in the early days of pre-arrival crisis aboard the ship, Niko responds with merciless, and final, efficiency. She may suffer pangs of guilt after the act, but that doesn’t change the fact that one of her first actions as Captain Niko, was to execute her mutinous second-in-command.

The rest of the crew of the Salvare really doesn’t fare any better, and as they begin to suffer from their Lost in Space –style adventures trying to find the alien artifact homeworld, breakdowns in thinking and order happen and chaos ensues!

It sure doesn’t help that the newly-awoken Cas (Elizabeth Ludlow) was the secret lover of Ian Yerxa (Tyler Hoechlin), the ambitious second who got himself fried in the mutiny attempt by Niko. Or that the ships very own super-sophisticated imprinted AI William (Samuel Anderson) is clearly in love with Captain Niko, and has been in denial about it for some time. The representative of the human government, Sasha Harrison (Jake Abel), ostensibly sent to foster human-whatever relations when they find where the artifact came from, is utterly superfluous and therefore completely useless. Young August, lead engineer of the Salvare, has strange priorities and takes delight in having naked times with shy fellow engineer Oliver (Alex Ozerov) and bold hacker Javier (Alexander Eling), usually at the same time. The crews microbiologist Bernie (A.J. Rivera) has aspirations to be an amateur chef, and doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with including strange newly-found psychotropic plants with the Salvare crews food as a condiment! Zayn Petrossian (JayR Tinaco) is the ships androgynous medic and psychologist, who manages to demonstrate unawares that connection and attraction between persons doesn’t have to be limited to any kind of gender.

Back home on Earth, Niko’s husband Erik Wallace (Justin Chatwin) has been tearing his hair out for months, trying to figure some way of talking to the alien artifact and getting it to respond in some understandable manner. Burdened by his far-too-intelligent daughter Jana (Lina Renna), who’s only interested in when her mother will be coming back to Earth, Erik has to contend with snoopy snarky reporter Harper Glass (Selma Blair) as well, and he’s appropriately beleaguered by all the women in his life. Even after a desperate attempt at alien communication actually works, kind of, Erik is still beset by roadblocks, especially from Egan Harrison (Martin Donovan), Sashas politician father.

The complete lack of discipline evinced by the crew of the Salvare is mildly to be expected, given their never-done-before mission and general humanity in close quarters. But the absurdity that goes on around the freaking alien artifact back on Earth, the severe lack of security and apparent dearth of common sense and decency, combined with the idiocy out in space, make for a poorly-written waste of your TV time. Better pass those psychotropic condiments.

The show has already been confirmed for a Season 2, so here’s hoping the first outing will actually be some lessons learned to carry over!