There is a new Sci-Fi series on Netflix called Another Life.
It a pretty simple set-up: Ouroboros shaped ships arrive around the planets major Cities (à la Independence Day) and drop mysterious alien 'Artifacts' on the ground. Giant crystalline structure that does nothing but sit there ominously waiting or perhaps testing (à la Annihilation).
An FTL starship is dispatched to Pi canis majoris - the apparent origin of the alien vessels. The ship is tasked with investigating the star system, make first contact, and establish if the artifacts and aliens are a threat to humanity.
This is not a review of the series, but I would recommend giving it a chance if you come across it. It feels like a millennial-targeted modern take inspired by Stargate, Arrival, Battlestar Galactica. There is also definitely inspiration taken from the Alien franchise with a certain 'burster scene, some parasitic entities, and the antagonistic ship (pictured) and crew very much taken from Engineer / SJ lore.
The point of this thread is instead meant to discuss the all-to-common theme of Where-to for the Alien Franchise. Another Life is a good example of sci-fi storytelling that benefits greatly from the freedom of extended screen-time. It is fairly low-budget, hinging greatly on its star signing of Katee Sackhoff. It has quality CGI (especially towards the end of the season) brought about by using limited set pieces and stacking on the drama. The storyline is intriguing if nothing ground-breaking, but even so does a great job to build the suspense and mystery about the enigmatic Aliens whose purpose is shrouded and slowly revealed.
It is a perfect template for what could be an Alien series blueprint.
Set up a premise for a new Alien storyline, slowly introduce the threat, build the lore and characters. Then increase the stakes as the story progresses. Another Life shows it can be done without a huge budget and all-star cast.
An extended universe Alien series could perhaps be set in the inner systems of the Alienverse away from the actions of the established films. Stories of Xenomorphs are heard second and third hand, and have become exaggerated and full of hyperbole, or dismissed as nothing. There are many whispers of a threat out on the edge of known space but nothing concrete, until an unlucky crew have a close encounter closer to home......
Alternatively if Disney wish to ditch Ripley Scotts David and Alien Genesis stories a tv series could be adapted to give closure to that thread whilst the cinematic universe takes a new direction.
The Covenant has landed on Origae-6 and established a colony whilst David plays malevolent Overlord continuing his experiments on 'Ze Goo' until the Engineers return...
Another Life Season One Trailer
Er... no. I had the misfortune to struggle through several episodes of Another Life. It is dreadfully executed. At the time I gave it 1 star on IMDB, and I stick by that. Tens of thousands of reviewers give it a score of less than five, which a poor rating on IMDB by anyone's standard.
I'm trying to erase the memory of it from my mind, but what lingers are groups of millennials squabbling amongst each other and generally acting stupid. And, of course, the science is nuts.
I'd say avoid this one before you make the same mistake that I did.
hox is correct about viewer reviews. The reviews I have read are generally poor, but I am giving it a chance anyway. It draws from a lot of other movies but there have been some surprises in there too so far.
The primary reason for watching is to see how an Alien universe show could play out via streaming. I want to see how well characters can develop- will I care about them later? Being entertained is secondary. I am trying to watch as a study of sorts.
On a side note, some MST3K type entertainment is derived from things seen in Prometheus or Covenant. "Come on, they're really not going to do this on an unexplored plan- oh yes they just did! .....TWICE!!!"
I will give it a season and decide on continuing after that. The acting and visuals are quite good.
When a series of any type starts, the first few episodes can be dicey due to the set up and characters etc. Another Life is no different in that respect.
The OT was not meant as a plug or review, but I am plugging it for what it's worth.
By the 3rd episode, it starts to come into its own.
It blatantly rips off Prometheus and AC, but has merits imo.
I am watching to see if the Alien franchise can work as a streaming series based on Another Life. I say that it can. The reviews suck, but check it out for yourself. Do you avoid things just because others tell you it sucks? I started out trying to be detached, but it is actually a decent show- derivative as it is!
As derivitive as it is, it has what Prometheus and AC lacked- decent character development.
Give it 4 episodes and see what you think.
If I followed reviews all my life, I would have missed out on a lot of cool stuff.
well that is disappointing about the reviews for AL but not really a surprise, as stated in OP its not ground-breaking.
But its not terrible either, I am genuinely keen to see a Season 2. Most of season 1 is dedicated to building the suspense for where it plans on going...
However Another Life is not the Alien franchise and the Alien franchise has it own established IP to work with. The challenge for new Sci-fi series is trying to establish themselves amid the dense crowd - and unfortunately the quick route is to borrow and steal from proven troupes to fast-track success by offering familiarity. Another Life may be guilty of this for Season one. It does have an exciting over-aching story it wants to tell, whether we get to see it or not....time will tell
Alien does not need to do this.
The point of this thread was to highlight a blueprint for a the Alien franchise offering a Series to compliment the cinematic realm. Another Life was a slow-burner, full of suspense and anticipation.
Ideally an Alien series would follow suite but be darker and crank up the dread throughout the series.
Other good examples:
I enjoy AL so far and have no problems with it ripping off other movies. Thus far, it demonstrates that an Alienverse show can be viable- and I have warmed to the actual show.
We have talked about this for a long time and now some one is doing it.
I notice some episodes may have a different vibe, but I also see that directors and writers change too.
I dont have Netflix....
Looking into this Series it has some Decent Premise, but its kind of a Amalgamation of so many Sci-Fi series we have seen before, seems like its not that Well Executed and like they added some LOVE ISLAND into the Mix.
But i cant Judge it until i have seen it Myself.... and Everyone has their own likes and dislikes what may-not be one Persons Cuppa could be another Persons Prosecco!
R.I.P Sox 01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017
Looking at the series as a potential Alien series TV show, I have observed something.
Over all, it is a good series but some boredom seems to be required for developments that will pay off later. There were a few episodes that were effing boring- but they paid off later. Seems a bit of a conundrum. Do we want deep character and plot development that might be boring at some points, or just cut to the chase?
I would vote for the somewhat boring episodes since there is a payoff later.
The fix would be for writers to make the slower episodes more interesting somehow- not sure what it would be.
I like this style but could understand viewers jumping ship because the show couldn't keep viewers engaged. And I think they have a daunting job in engaging both casual binge watchers and hard core unforgiving arm chair critics.
A good point. I remember Battlestar Galactica (The remake) utilizing quite a few character-development episodes over the course of the series. On-watches those episodes can be tedious, but I feel they do pay-off. Importantly for better sub-plots and overall narrative, and to get a more intimate understanding of the characters.
But more importantly for series like that, those types of episodes provide an ebb and flow in the intensity of the show, something that can really lift for a conclusion.
That calm before the storm build-up
I'm sure - Stargate SG-1/Atlantis will be the best example. 200+ series and all awesome. Discover new worlds, explore new civilizations, get acquainted with deadly creatures - best sci-fi formula. Or Stargate Universe - just imagine a group of people (scientists, of course), who travel on an alien ship and visit other planets. Without romance / teenagers, of course. I'm sure - this is the future of Alien.
Another Life is in the Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome file right beside Eyes Wide Shut.
It was too early to commit Another Life to the MMBT file I Raptus. The Mobius Strip ships in the last episode were enough to keep the series out of the same classification as Eyes Wide Shut.
Alien Series Blueprint
As far as a blueprint for an Alien Series...that is a good question because the story/character development does begin on Earth and a crew is selected to investigate areas not seen before. The extraterrestrial arrival, to me, doesn't fit unless it is changed to a hostile Engineer visit or a Xenomorph outbreak.
The character development cited above is vital and a continuing challenge in the narrow window of an Alien film. An Alien series would certainly have the room to address this. Private Rosenthal and Sergeant Lope have a great time fighting local terrorists just outside of London in the early 2100s in the Alien: Covenant Origins novel.
This scenario would provide the character development in a series that builds up to or following a film such as Alien: Covenant. And who is against micro-drones attacking a flying 4-door sedan over a field of synthetic animals attacking the security forces...that would create a lot of character for the series.
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