I got to the last episode, so I liked it enough to stick with it (which is pretty good considering the number of tv shows I abandon after part 2). So, yup, it was okay, but it wasn’t without its problems.
The story: the first manned mission to Mars, so nothing particularly new there, but this is particular outing gets away from all the science (yes, all of it), and focusses firmly on the astronauts who’ll be away from home for three years and the people they’re leaving behind. We actually don’t see too much of the other astronauts as the real family drama lies with the mission commander, ably played by Hilary Swank. On the day of the launch, her husband suffers a stroke that leaves him in a wheelchair. Naturally, she’s torn between the mission and her family. And, naturally, she chooses the mission, jetting off to Mars and leaving her daughter and her newly disabled husband behind.
Oh, and there are one or two spoilers after the jump, so proceed with caution (something that no one in Away seemed too bothered about).
As you’d expect, the nine-month trip to Mars isn’t without its problems, mostly concerning the crew: we’ve got a belligerent Russian, a religious botanist, a Chinese mission specialist with all the warmth and charm of a Klingon with IBS. And then there’s the ship’s surgeon who’s in love with the mission commander.
Now, put all these people to together in a ship that started to malfunction as soon as it was soon as it launched, and you do have a pretty tense drama.
I think the main problem with it was that it tried to cram in too much, which stretched the story (and credibility) a little thin in places. For example, the botanist was a refugee who’d been adopted and raised by Jewish parents, so he carried the clash between science and religion along with a tragic back story. The Chinese mission specialist had to contend with honour, duty to the state, and also being a repressed lesbian. No one seemed to have spotted that the Russian, as well as having no respect for the chain of command, was also losing his sight (surely this would’ve been picked up during training, even if he did ‘memorise the eye charts’).
So that was it; enjoyable, but in doing too much, they really watered down what could have been a top notch drama. I hear it’s been picked up for a second series, so I’m hopeful it’ll improve now that we’ve got the outgoing flight done.
I’ll stick with it, even if I’m only giving it five out of ten.