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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Another Life is a sci-fi drama series about an alien craft that suddenly lands on Earth -- and the scientists who try to figure out why. Violence is less intense here than in some other shows with similar tone and settings, but expect sci-fi weapons and dangers from space travel, sudden deaths, and fights. Sexual content is infrequent, but many characters are single and interested -- kissing, dating, and references to sex are likely. Both male and female characters wear brief, tight costumes, and the camera lingers on body parts. Language is infrequent but includes "f--k, "s--t," "goddamn," and "hell." Strong women are at the center of the action and show courage and teamwork in solving tough, dangerous problems; another character has atypical gender presentation, which isn't remarked on. Katee Sackhoff and Justin Chatwin star.
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What's the story?
In ANOTHER LIFE, Niko (Katee Sackhoff) was the commander of a space mission that resulted in the deaths of 10 crew members, sending her into semi-retirement to raise her young daughter Jana (Lina Renna) with her extraterrestrial research expert husband Erik (Justin Chatwin). But when an alien craft lands mysteriously on earth and begins sending signals into space, it's up to Niko to uncover the origins and the purpose of the ship and our planet's new visitors.
Is it any good?
Get your science fiction cliche bingo cards ready, because this mashup of plot points from other, better stories will give you plenty to check off. Another Life starts with a promising Arrival-like premise, as an infinity-symbol-shaped alien "artifact" lands on earth for unknown reasons. So the aliens have arrived, and no one knows why. Cool! Viewers are ready to work backwards to get their answers. But what could be an intriguing puzzle is quickly squandered as Niko and her crew head out into space to check out the star the artifact's sending signals to, and the whole thing turns into what feels very much like a riff on Star Trek. The original.
You can expect a lot of "it's a crazy plan but it just might work" setups in deep space; meanwhile, Erik pokes around the artifact back on earth, trying to prod some sort of reaction out of it. He eventually does, in a sequence lifted fairly directly from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It just all feels rather lifeless, and though Sackhoff is as vital a presence as she was when sci-fi fans first got to know her in Battlestar Galactica, here she's wasted. Yes, she looks amazing -- the crew of the faster-than-light Salvare for some reason wear yoga clothes instead of uniforms, and seem to have been chosen for their sculpted abs rather than acting chops -- but the dialogue and her storyline are blah.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why science fiction movies so frequently focus on aliens and space travel. What is it about these topics that make for rousing stories? What hopes and fears about the future do they capitalize on, or crystalize?
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