Hilary Swank embarking on a space expedition in a new family series
The series continues to head in the stars. The little new Netflix sign, Away, available September 4, is far from being the first to imagine spatial conquest. Not to mention recent productions, Netflix has attacked Donald Trump’s job – creating its own spatial army – with political satire Space Force (broadcast late May). For All Mankind of Apple TV+ imagine a world where the Americans were doubled by the Russians in the conquest of space. Away, a family drama played by doubly oscarised actress Hilary Swank, is a more classic work.
Emma Green (Hilary Swank) incarnates an American astronaut in charge of the first space expedition to Mars. To do so, she must abandon for three years her husband Matt (Josh Charles) who also works at NASA, and her teenage daughter Alexis (Talitha Bateman), when they desperately need her. Is the adventure worth the shot? This question arises in each of the ten episodes ofAway. Between family and scientific advancement, Emma has to choose.
Emma is not the only one to make this sacrifice. Next to him: Kwesi (Ato Essandoh), a very believing British botanist and novice in space, Lu (Vivian Wu), a Chinese astronaut, apparently cold, Ram (Ray Arya), a solitary Indian doctor and Misha (Mark Ivanir), the Russian veteran with a complicated family past, who is approaching his last trip. The dynamics between the five characters with very different cultures and customs is one of the strong points ofAway. Their personalities, more complex than it seems, are stripped down little by little.
The theme of the family is recurring in the works that have their head in the stars: Interstellar by Christopher Nolan, Ad Astra by James Gray, Proxima d’Alice Winocour… Writing in the same scheme, Away focuses more on the personal lives of its main characters than in their spatial adventures. The record is divided between the daily in the Mars rocket and the one on Earth, especially with the Emma family. Flashbacks on the past astronauts also come to mark the episodes. Childhood, love, trauma, chess: the characters are no longer a secret to us.
One can regret that the series keeps a very American point of view focusing on the character of Emma, the least interesting of the five astronauts, and the teenage emotions of her daughter Alexis. Some secondary roles like Misha and Lu attract more attention. Away remains nonetheless entertaining and looks at each other with pleasure. In the course of the episodes, one is left to play in this family drama, a question always comes to mind: will they arrive on Mars? The answer will be found in the last episode.
“Away”, on Netflix on September 4th.