A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Raised by Wolves is a dark, dystopian science fiction series aimed at a mature audience. The show takes place in a future where androids give birth to human babies via a bizarre, somewhat disturbing, process involving the A.I. mother being connected -- via tubes inserted into her torso -- to external, goo-filled receptacles holding the unborn babies. The series explores strong, if unconventional, themes about the bonds between children and their guardians. Religion and faith is also heavily examined through the lens of a war between human believers and android atheists.
Young children succumb to illnesses and die, and another falls to her death (off-screen) into a gaping pit. Extreme, graphic violence, including characters being reduced to blood and viscera, is depicted. Androids, which "bleed" a gooey, white substance from their mouths, are frequently injured, including an impaling. A human has one of his eyelids violently removed. Androids engage in brutal, physical violence and use lethal, super power-like abilities, such as one that gruesomely mutates human faces.
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What's the story?
Produced by prolific science fiction director Ridley Scott, RAISED BY WOLVES envisions a dystopian future where androids and humans are at war over differing religious beliefs. The former are atheists, while the latter -- consisting of a small group of surviving refugees -- strongly believe in a higher power. The androids, primarily represented by a pair called Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim) are tasked with helping save the endangered human race by artificially birthing humans and raising them under their strict belief system. Much of the story is experienced through Mother and Father's last surviving offspring, Campion. Conflict ensues when a group of humans, led by religious crusader/soldier Marcus (Travis Fimmel), who's also a father, lands on the hostile planet the androids are attempting to settle.
Is it any good?
Despite its strong ties to dystopian and science fiction storytelling, the absorbing this action-drama rseries arely relies on the cliches that typically define those genres. Like so many series that unfold among the stars, Raised by Wolves contains a central conflict, but it's no clear-cut, good-versus-evil squabble settled by swaggering space cowboys or epic space battles. A barely-surviving population of human, God-fearing refugees are at war with advanced, atheist androids, but the focus is on the children who'll shape the future. The layered, sometimes complex, narrative -- supported by strong characterizations of androids possessing both robotic and human traits -- explores both the unconventional relationship between the children and their A.I. guardians, as well as the ramifications of swaying young minds against religion.
It can be a heady, often trippy watch, one that frequently surprises, occasionally confuses, and always leaves you pondering its more bizarre narrative beats long after each episodes' credits roll. And, while it weaves one of the most imaginative yarns the genre's seen in years, it's not without its share of thrills and palate-cleansing action. When not caring for her human charges, female android, Mother, might perform amateur surgery on her partner or reduce her adversaries to literal bloody ribbons. Raised by Wolves might be light on traditional action, but it's not shy about churning stomachs when it does let loose. If you're in the mood for a cerebral, futuristic tale that steers clear of formulaic, familiar territory, while also serving up a side of gore that could make a slasher flick blush, Raised by Wolves just might provide your next sci-fi fix.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between the children and the androids in Raised by Wolves. Are the androids the children's parents? What's the difference between a parent and a guardian? How does the bond between the children and androids differ from a more traditional parent-child relationship.
How does the series explore religion and faith? What do the humans believe? What do the androids believe? What supports -- or opposes -- these beliefs?
How are the human characters depicted versus the androids? Are either viewed as the "good guys" or "bad guys?" Is it possible for characters to possess both positive (heroism, bravery) and negative (violence, deception) traits?
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