Go to Source
Author: Scott Myers
Go to Source
Go to Source
Author: Scott Myers
How are you Free Spirits, this has a chance to be worth reading.
Genre: TV Drama/Sci-Fi
Premise: Two atheist-programmed androids are tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet but their plan is compromised when a second God-fearing ship of humans arrives.
About: This is a big one. It hails from Aaron Guzikowski, who sold his spec, Prisoners, for 1 million dollars back in 2009. The show is being directed by Ridley Scott and will be one of the big-ticket items HBO is using to get you onto their upcoming streaming service, HBO Max.
Writer: Aaron Guzikowski
Details: 66 pages
Today’s writer has an interesting history. He won one of the rare 7 figure spec script lottery tickets back in 2009 for his script, Prisoners. It was one of the hottest projects in town at the time, but the script wasn’t as good as people were making it out to be. The core conflict of a man torturing the guy he thought kidnapped his daughters was interesting. But the puzzle behind who the killer really was was a mess. It didn’t make sense.
So it wasn’t surprising to me that Guzikowski hasn’t done much since Prisoners. He had a TV show nobody saw and got the scripting gig for the Papillon remake that nobody saw either but that’s it. In an entire decade.
I don’t think he was ready. And that’s one of the things aspiring writers overlook. Everyone’s trying so hard to break down the doors but if you break down the doors too early, people are going to realize quickly that you can’t write. So don’t feel bad if it takes longer than you want it to. You’ll be more prepared when those giant doors open.
To Guzikowski’s credit, he stuck it out, and now he’s being rewarded in the biggest way. Ridley Freaking Scott has chosen Guzikowski’s script to make his TV debut with. And with deep pockets HBO footing the bill, you know this is going to look great. Let’s see if the pilot is any good…
Androids Mother and Father land on a planet called Kepler-22b, which is 600 light years from earth. It’s the closest planet earthlings can escape to after their planet became uninhabitable due to war.
This future squabbling earth can be divided into two categories – atheists and believers. The atheists don’t care about God and therefore could afford to send a ship out with two robots and a bunch of human embryos. Meanwhile, the believers had to put together a ship that could actually carry humans. For this reason, the much smaller android ship gets to Kepler-22b ten years before the other big lumbering ship.
Once they arrive on this sorta-earth like planet (it’s a little grayer and more depressing than earth), they set about trying to grow babies. They’re able to bring six embryos to life, but over the next decade, all of the children die except for the youngest, Campion.
Since they can no longer keep the atheist race going (without females) Father gets the idea to send out an SOS to the arriving God ship to come pick Campion up. He does this behind Mother’s back because Mother seriously, and I mean SERIOUSLY, hates the God people. When Mother finds out what Father has done, she kills him.
But it’s too late. The God people show up. Now remember, these two sides were in a war with each other. So things get testy right away. The God people try and kill Mother but, in a shocking twist, she reveals that she’s one of the super-weapons that the atheists used to scorch earth. She steals their lander ship, goes up to their big ship, and crashes the thing. But five children were able to escape and fly back down to earth, where they join forces with Campion. He will now have to teach them how to live on this land. All while avoiding…. Mother.
Well, Raised by Wolves is nothing if not interesting.
It’s unlike anything I’ve read in a while. And if you’re an adult sci-fi geek, this is probably going to satisfy your science-fiction needs.
But I’m not sure what to make of it.
It’s sort of all over the place.
Take the droids for example. In any other scenario, the droids would be foolproof. They’re the ones who can stick around for centuries because they don’t degrade. They’re 1s and 0s. But these robots are some of the crappiest robots ever constructed as they start falling apart almost immediately. Ten years into their journey and they can barely function.
On top of that, the droids have full-on human emotions. I would argue that they’re more emotional than the human kids they raise. Both Mother and Father are constantly dealing with depression after the death of their children.
The hook here is humans raised by robots. But if the robots a) aren’t built like robots and b) aren’t emotionless like robots……… are they really robots??
I might have overlooked this if the plot was strong but the whole thing feels like it’s stuck in second gear. You’re waiting and waiting for it to finally step on the gas but it’s this long drawn-out growing-up story where we keep hitting the same beats over and over again (brothers and sisters die – it’s sad).
Then, at the last second, Mother becomes this super-weapon from back on earth who was somehow reprogrammed to be a robot parent or something and all I could think was, “Wait, what!?” Why did her creator recycle the very weapons that destroyed earth to create a robot when he could have just… oh, I don’t know… used a normal robot that wasn’t a planet killing super-weapon??
It didn’t make sense at all.
Then now you have these other kids from the ship who are best friends with Campion and what is the show going to be about? They’re going to run around and hide from Mother for ten episodes? Is that a compelling story?
Things looked a lot more interesting when the whole ship of 100 people was going to land and start a second colony. That had more potential for interesting story ideas in my opinion.
I’m not an expert on television like I am on features, but if there’s one thing I know about pilots, it’s that when you leave that first episode, you need to know exactly what the show is and the upcoming story needs to look exciting. After the end of Raised by Wolves, I don’t know what this show is about nor does it look exciting.
I suppose you could focus on a group of kids growing up on this planet together. The pilot spends a TON of time mentioning that the planet was once occupied by giant lizards. So I’m guessing those lizard creatures are going to come back to alleviate some of our sci-fi needs. But I’m not sure six kids, a few big lizards, and a crazy mom-slash-superweapon are enough to build ten compelling episodes around.
I hope Ridley Scott comes in here and directs the hell out of this thing and proves me wrong cause I’d like nothing more than a cool new sci-fi show to watch.
[ ] What the hell did I just read?
[x] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius
What I learned: You have to stay true to your hook. If you promise a show about humans raised by robots, you need to give us humans raised by emotionless fact-based androids. If you make the androids act exactly like humans, you’ve compromised the whole point of the show.
Was I on the nose?
You can thank me later.
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