“Death can be very unpleasant when you’re intelligent.” ~ Father, from Raised By Wolves on HBO Max.
Sometimes, a TV show lives beyond its expiration date. A show like Fear The Walking Dead shuffles on in perpetuity, even as it loses its best cast members and despite its diminishing quality. We’ve just witnessed Season 7 take the AMC zombie drama to new lows, and yet a Season 8 has already been greenlit.
Sometimes, a TV show is sent to an early grave. Netflix has been notorious for cancelling shows that still had plenty of life in them—like The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance—or that had almost wrapped up the story—like GLOW.
But I admit, I expected more from HBO. I don’t know why. The rushed, botched ending of Game Of Thrones should have taught me to keep my hopes and expectations in check. Now, HBO Max has cancelled perhaps the best science-fiction show on TV: Raised By Wolves. It seems that the shakeup over at Warner Bros—and merger with Discovery—has claimed this casualty. It won’t be the last.
A Show Too Good To Die Young
The Ridley Scott-produced space opera is something unique in the TV landscape. Raised By Wolves ifs intelligent and well-written—but also something of a fever dream to watch. There’s almost a bit of a vintage feel to it, like something plucked from the weird science-fiction of an older era. It’s dark and intriguing, exploring not just the division between AI and humanity, but between religious zealots and equally radical atheists and the aftermath of a war that left Earth completely destroyed.
The show delves into the mysteries of humanity’s new home on Keppler-22b, a habitable-but-hostile plane, replete with acid oceans and terrifying monsters. Creator Aaron Guzikowski has spun a deft—if absolutely bizarre—tale of shifting alliances, power struggles and humankind’s last ditch effort to survive so far. The story isn’t done yet, however.
Raised By Wolves also boasts a stellar cast. Travis Fimmel, fresh off his role as Ragnar in Vikings, plays Marcus—an atheist who has disguised himself as one of the religious Mithraic soldiers along with is wife, Sue, played by Niamh Algar. Fimmel does a tremendous job as we see Marcus descend into madness, somehow possessed by what seems to be the planet itself—a powerful and twisted entity they refer to as the Mithraic god, Sol.
Meanwhile, Amanda Collin plays the AI Mother across from Abubakar Salim’s Father. These two androids have been tasked by the atheists with raising children on Keppler-22b ahead of the arrival of the atheist colony ship, and are the first to start uncovering its dark secrets.
Collin is simply brilliant in this role, at once portraying Mother as a caring, sympathetic nurturer and one of the most terrifying AI you’ll ever come across in any movie or TV show.
Salim is equally adept at portraying Father as Mother’s cautious, and much less dangerous, counterpart. He’s just so damn likeable, you can’t help but root for him.
Children make up much of the cast and all these younger actors—most notably Winta McGrath who plays the OG Keppler-22g child, Campion—do a terrific job as well.
The acting, the special effects, the set design, the costumes, the weird music, the phenomenal world-building—it’s all great and it all just feels extraordinarily unique and unlike any other show on TV. It’s truly tragic that Warner Bros has pulled the plug on it. I have a feeling this will become quite the cult classic, and it’s just so frustrating that the story—which was just getting going!—won’t get the ending it and its fans deserve.
Yes, I’m sure it’s very expensive. Season 2 had a bigger cast and more special effects and just more of everything and there was certainly a part of me that was nervous this might happen. It’s so weird and so different and so obviously expensive—and it doesn’t have the same big draw as something like Westworld, though if I had to choose I’d much prefer they cancel that show—which did a fine job wrapping up its best story arc at the end of Season 1.
A New Home?
Salim maintains that there is still hope that Scott Free Productions could find a second life for Raised By Wolves elsewhere. This would not be unprecedented. We’ve seen shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine get cancelled and find a new home at a different streamer. The Orville left Fox and moved to Hulu for its third season.
Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Paramount—any of these would be wise to snatch this premium sci-fi show up as quickly as possible. It would bring some much needed top-tier content and a flood of grateful fans. Netflix, which has been struggling lately and will soon have another content problem when Stranger Things 4 airs its final two episodes in July, could especially stand to gain here.
I’ll be crossing my fingers. And fans of this show should make their voices heard. As Salim wrote on reddit, “I’m asking that you show that love, and have your voice heard throughout socials and help us find a new home.”
There’s a petition you can sign here and a fan-made website with some resources to help spread the word. Get on social media, share posts like this one on Twitter and Facebook, do whatever you can to save the show.
Maybe it will all come to nothing, but it never hurts to try. Each of the big streamers could use a genuinely good science-fiction drama to add to their rosters.
Make some noise.