I just finished watching the first three episodes of the new HBO Max series: Raised by Wolves. Lamentably, HBO made this difficult since they’ve been in a dispute with Roku, my preferred steaming platform, on getting an app into their environment. I had to watch it on as ASUS Chromebook mini I keep connected to the TV using HBO Max’s somewhat glitchy website. I hadn’t turned on that Chromebook in a long time, so there was a lot of updating and configuration twiddling. (I hate watching shows on my laptop or desktop computer.)
But stupid logistical difficulties aside, I’m really enjoying this series so far. It appears to be set in a far future, where two factions of humanity have engaged in a catastrophic war that has made Earth uninhabitable. One faction are atheists, the other believers in a religion called Mithraism (probably not the right spelling).
Both sides send missions to colonize Kepler-22b, an exoplanet several hundred light years from Earth. The atheists send a small ship with human embryos and two androids, Father and Mother, to incubate, birth, and then raise the resulting kids in the atheist ideology. I say “ideology” because this ends up being pretty dogmatic version of atheism. Unfortunately, the kids start getting sick and dying one by one.
The Mithraic approach is to send a lot of humans in suspended animation on a large ark type ship. While their bodies are in suspended animation, the humans are conscious during the journey, and are able to communicate with each other in a virtual reality environment. Since this large ship is much slower, it takes them several more years to arrive at the planet.
By the time they do, only one of the android’s children are left alive. Father detects the arrival of the Mithraic ark and he and Mother begin debating what to do. Father wants to hand the last child, Campion, over to the Mithraics, so at least he can be with other humans. However, Mother is far more zealous in her ideology and refuses, violently. When the Mithraics do arrive, it’s fair to say that everything quickly goes to hell.
It’s hard to go much further without getting into serious spoiler territory. This is a very imaginative series, with lots of haunting otherworldly imagery, and visions of a human culture pretty far removed from ours. There are no clear heroes or villains here, with both factions appearing to be dogmatic in their own way. But one character in particular is turning out to be extremely dangerous. And there are also plenty of twists and turns in the story, lots of surprises.
Also, be forewarned that this is not a happy tale. The vision of the future presented is pretty grim. That and this show is pretty stark in showing a lot of grizzly death. Not a show to watch if you’re looking for something positive and life affirming.
Still, I’m enjoying it, and if science fiction is your thing, it might be worth checking out.