As a genuine legend of the industry, one that’s remained at the top of his game for over four decades, any project that draws Ridley Scott to the small screen is sure to generate plenty of interest, and HBO Max’s Raised by Wolves is no different.
The director responsible for Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and American Gangster among others is no stranger to the sci-fi genre having helmed two all-time greats in Alien and Blade Runner, as well as The Martian, one of the best entries the genre has seen in the 21st Century. Combine his track record in sci-fi with a reputation for only lending his name to high-quality TV shows like Tom Hardy’s Taboo, critical darling The Good Fight, acclaimed horror anthology The Terror and Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, and Raised by Wolves was virtually guaranteed to be great.
The 82 year-old may only be serving as an executive producer, but he did direct the first two episodes of the show, marking his first-ever stint behind the camera on a TV series. Aaron Guzikowski created the concept and wrote the scripts for six of the first ten episodes including the premiere and finale, which aired on HBO Max between September 3rd and October 1st.
After Earth was destroyed by war, the story picks up in the distant future where two androids named Mother and Father raise human children. Inevitably, religion has played a huge part in turning humanity against itself, and the androids soon discover that trying to instill the youth with a particular set of beliefs isn’t as straightforward as they thought.
Raised by Wolves is the sort of sweeping, lavish production built on big ideas that HBO have always done so well, so it made complete sense for WarnerMedia to transplant that formula to one of their first major originals on their freshly-launched streaming service. There are definitely elements of both Game of Thrones and Westworld to be found in terms of the characters and the thematic content of the story.
Scott finds himself in very familiar territory with the first two episodes because he’s no stranger to tackling sci-fi that features hefty subtext, humanoid androids, barren landscapes and top-tier visual effects. The scope of the narrative seems narrow to begin with, but the mythology expands and deepens with each subsequent episode.
The cast is largely comprised of unknowns, with Amanda Collin and Abubakar Sallim taking top billing as Mother and Father, while the biggest name in the ensemble is Vikings alum Travis Fimmel, who also gets to do the largest amount of scenery-chewing in the showiest role, although that isn’t saying much when performances are largely restrained across the board.
Raised by Wolves is exactly the sort of thought-provoking and intelligent sci-fi that studios have become increasingly enamored with in recent years after spending decades obsessed with little more than epic space battles and blowing up entire planets. The first season of HBO Max’s newest prestige drama is far from perfect, but sets the show up for a much bigger and brighter future, which it will definitely be getting after it was confirmed before the Season 1 finale even aired that it had already been renewed for a second.