Raised by Wolves Review: A Bloated Sci-Fi Drama That Lacks Emotion

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There are high hopes for Raised by Wolves, coming to HBO Max Thursday, September 3. 

With big names such as Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator) and Travis Fimmel (Vikings) attached, it's inevitable the project will draw a lot of attention. 

It's been a long road to the screen for the series, which started its life as a TNT original drama.

A Meeting on Raised by Wolves

The move to HBO Max probably allowed for a more robust budget, and it's evident that no expense was spared in the production of the series. 

The special effects and set designs resemble big-budget movies, with expansive environments introduced throughout the first six episodes. 

Mother in a Hut

Unfortunately, a coherent or convincing story is what the series lacks, with some of the plots feeling a little too convenient to fully embrace. 

What is inherently clear from the jump is that there is simply too much going on. Instead of allowing the characters and their arcs to breathe, the series moves from one extreme to the next. 

There isn't a exactly a wealth of characters, either, but the series uses them to continually introduce new concepts. It's enough to make your head spin.

But while many of them don't have the impact they should, the ones that do stick work well, so that's something, I guess. 

Father Searches

The problem is in the development of the characters. This is a tale that follows two Androids tasked with raising children on a new planet, so there are going to be hurdles. Devastating hurdles, at that. 

Amanda Collin takes on the role of Mother, while Abubakar Salim plays Father. Together, they want to raise human children under their rule, and as with most parents, there is conflict. 

Collin is one of the stronger parts of the cast, delivering an ice-cold performance as the Android who seems to think she knows best. 

Mother's abilities are astounding, there's no question about that, but as a long-term character, there's not that much to see here. 

Mother on Raised by Wolves

You know there are glaring issues when the only semblance of emotion in the early episodes comes from what can only be described as a robot. 

Indeed, Mother thinks she knows best, but that's what she's programmed to believe, and there is simmering tension between her and Father. 

You wouldn't believe it, but even though they are Androids, they are two very different people. Mother tends to act first and think later, while Father is the polar opposite. 

As two people tasked with essentially creating a new community on a virgin planet, there are arguments to be had. 

Marcus Searches

Travis Fimmel was part of the reason why the show was on my radar. As an avid fan of Vikings, as well as sci-fi, I wanted to follow him to this new role. 

But he's given miserable material to work with here. I can get on board with the androids being one-dimensional, but the people who are supposed to be playing humans don't need to act that way, too. 

Fimmel was given a lot to work with during his four-season run on Vikings, but there really isn't much here for him. 

His character is a casualty of the show, putting the plot first and the characters second, to the point that I didn't connect with any of the characters by the sixth episode. 

Campion on Raised by Wolves

Winta McGrath takes on the role of Campion, one of the children Mother and Father are tasked with raising from embryo to healthy adult in their new homestead. 

Campion brings some much-needed levity to the storyline. He's a youngster, who is fully aware of what's going on around him, and asks questions to garner intel. 

The character is very reminiscent of Eleven from Stranger Things in that they are both fish out of water in a world they don't know much about. 

As far as long-term prospects go, there is a vast world just waiting to be explored by the characters, but the flaws with the show come down to untapped potential. 

Raised By Wolves Poster

If you're going into this expecting it to be similar to Alien, then you're going to be disappointed. Alien was brimming with tension as the characters were put in genuinely terrifying situations. 

Raised by Wolves straddles the fine line between good and bad in those six episodes, but by the time the sixth episode concluded, I had little desire to watch what came next. 

The series hints at bigger meanings for everything happening on-screen, but it never delivers on its promise to answer them. 

For that reason alone, it's difficult to stick with the series for any length of time. 

There are many other shows out there that manage to juggle science fiction and storylines very well. 

If you're looking for great visuals, then Raised by Wolves may be the show for you, but there's not much on offer here beyond that. 

Raised by Wolves is rolling out weekly, with the first three episodes dropping Thursday, September 3. Return for a full review of them. 

Will you give the series a shot?

Hit the comments.


Editor Rating: 2.4 / 5.0
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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