Hilary Swank makes a triumphant return to sequence tv in “Away,” a mix outer-space/terrestrial drama that strikes a pleasant steadiness on each ends of that storytelling spectrum — by no means a simple job.
The 10-episode Netflix sequence, created by Andrew Hinderaker, finds Swank within the function of Emma Inexperienced, a NASA astronaut who’s commanding the primary manned mission to Mars with a world crew. The mission will final three years — the longest outer-space flight in historical past — and, if that’s not daunting sufficient, Inexperienced and her crew are anticipated to give attention to the expedition on the expense of their family members (and all the pieces that entails) again on Earth. For Inexperienced, that’s her husband, NASA engineer Matt Logan (Josh Charles), and her teenage daughter, Alexis (Talitha Bateman). Matt was supposed to steer the mission; medical issues saved him behind in Houston with Alexis, who isn’t coping nicely with Emma’s choice to go away her household behind — simply as she’s getting into highschool and wishes her mom’s emotional assist.
The astronauts can talk with their households through video chats for about six months post-liftoff earlier than their distance from Earth makes that unimaginable (cell telephones and texting, apparently, can proceed). It’s by way of these video chats (and a sequence of flashbacks) that we be taught the backstories of Emma’s staff aboard the Atlas: surly Russian cosmonaut Misha Popov (Mark Ivanir), who’s logged extra time in house than any man (or animal); chemist Lu Wang (Vivian Lu), trapped in a loveless marriage and who would be the first human to set foot on Mars; second-in-command Ram Arya (Ray Panthaki), who’s estranged from his dad and mom in India; and Kwesi Weisberg-Abban (Ato Essandoh), a world-renowned botanist born in Ghana and raised in England by adoptive dad and mom. He’s making his first house flight.
As you may count on, issues and tensions are exacerbated on the best way to Mars, not solely between Inexperienced and her crew, however between the person crew members and their households again house. Emma must not solely win again the belief and confidence of Popov, Wang et al. — there was an incident that occurred en path to the moon (their departure level to Mars) — whereas juggling an emergency again house that places her below extreme emotional pressure and exams her resolve in methods she by no means might have imagined. Ditto for her crew, whose mettle is constantly examined in the course of the interminable, arduous — and intensely lonely — journey by way of the suffocating void and darkness of house.
“Away” works on a number of ranges. Its top-notch particular results don’t, as we’ve seen so many occasions earlier than, overpower the present’s human core however slightly mix in seamlessly, functioning extra as a supporting character than a bombastic distraction. Kudos to the present’s writers and administrators for offering the instruments to create multi-dimensional characters you actually care about as you’re concurrently rooting for, disliking and empathizing with them, typically in the middle of one scene. Most of all, although, “Away” weaves a seamless connection between the drama onboard the Atlas and again on Earth with Swank, the sequence’ titular star, main the best way in a bravura efficiency combining emotional fragility with a gung-ho resoluteness that resonates in every episode.