Wednesday 14 October 2020

Streaming on Foxtel Showcase - Rod Bishop reviews a new series produced by Ridley Scott RAISED BY WOLVES (HBO/MAX, USA, 2020)


Here’s an idea:

Resurrect the dead Mithras cult from the 1st to 4thCentury CE, a ‘boutique’ religion once pinched by the Romans from the Persians and popular among the Roman Centurions in Northern Europe.

Instead of perishing, let’s have them survive, thrive and by the 22ndCentury, win a religious war against The Atheists. With the Earth war-ravaged, the Atheists are well in retreat but still manage to send some incubating children and a couple of very nifty androids to the distant planet of Keplar 22b where they plan to create a new world free of religion.

But those Mithraics haven’t survived the Millennia for nothing. They send a gigantic spacecraft named The Ark ofHeaven packed with Mithraic believers, their children and some double-agent Atheists pretending to be believers to Keplar 22b as well. Their mission: to create a New Eden and destroy The Atheists’ plans for an atheistic world. 

One of the androids, however is a Necromancer, and boy, can she cause problems.

Executive producer Ridley Scott directs the first couple of episodes and his son, Luke, gets to direct three as well.

Amana Collin, Raised by Wolves

Unsurprisingly, Scott’s preoccupation with artificial intelligence and its relationship to the human species (along the lines of “What makes you human?” and “Androids don’t feel empathy”) is in abundance as is the hoary old science versus religion debate. When one of the Atheists pretending to be a Mithraic is asked to help an ailing android, she briskly replies: “I’m a doctor, not a mechanic”.

There’s probably the artiest sex scene ever between an android and a computer simulation, if that’s your thing, along with silicon tumours and even a half-carbon fetus in need of plasma.

A lot of work (and money) has gone into the production design and art decoration and a very brief credit in the titles suggests inspiration from Zeitz Mocaa, the new Museum of Contemporary African Art in Cape Town, South Africa.

Cricket tragics will also recognize the striking Table Mountain above Cape Town with its orographic white cloud formations pouring over the cliffs from its flat top. lists nearly 400 contributors to “Series Special Effects”.

A second season is in production.

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