[Warning: General spoilers for Season 1 ahead.]
If you’re looking for a TV binge as the summer winds down and sci-fi is your thing, let me direct you to Another Life, available now on Netflix. My full preview of the Katee Sackhoff-led drama is here, and this week, I chatted with the showrunner behind the series, Aaron Martin, who’s also brought us shows as diverse as Being Erica and Slasher.
Martin was approached by The Best Years colleague and Another Life executive producer Noreen Halpern to pitch his vision on the basis of a Netflix concept that already had Sackhoff attached to star. The network liked his ideas and the series was greenlit, shooting last summer and fall in Vancouver.
Sackhoff’s character, Niko, is the centerpiece of the show. She’s a semi-retired astronaut called back up a decade after an early tragedy to head a new exploratory mission after a several-stories-high alien artifact is planted and seemingly abandoned on Earth. Returning to space creates a mix of emotions for her character, and that’s our hook.
“In our minds, in the writing room, [she agrees to go because] she felt the best way to protect her daughter and husband and Earth was to lead the mission, because she knew she could make the tough calls,” Martin says. “Even though [her decisions on the earlier mission] had haunted her forever, she knew she could do that. She’s caught between guilt over the earlier tragedy and guilt over leaving her daughter, but also having a mission to save everybody she loves.”
The other side of the coin back on Earth is Harper Glass, an uber blogger played by Selma Blair, who has a staggering 250 million followers. “[We shaped her character by] looking at where [blogging] is now and imagining what the future would be like when bloggers and traditional news all meld together,” Martin explains.
“We wanted her to be a mix of Christiane Amanpour and Kim Kardashian. That might be what happens in the future—someone’s personality is just as important as the news she’s talking about. She cares about finding the truth out. It’s a bit self-serving, but In her mind, she’s working to expose the truth about this thing that landed on Earth.”
The first season spins off a young crew who are essentially expendable because there are literally backups for each of them in stasis pods on board the ship. Martin explains that’s borne out of how wars have always been fought. “When countries fight wars, they generally send out their young people to do it,” he points out.
“They typically don’t have families, husbands or wives or children. They’re going to be the ones heroic enough to go out into space to figure out what they’re going to do about this artifact. That’s the reality of war. You get killed and you have people coming up behind them to take their place.”
The crew is also a refreshingly diverse mix of ethnicities, identities, and sexualities and Martin says that’s a bit of an homage to his hometown of Toronto. “You would hope that in the future, all these ridiculous things that are supposedly problems in the present—which bathroom to use and the debate around gender and gender identity—that nobody cares,” he says.
“It’s part of who these characters are. You get accused of being a social justice warrior [when you write about them] but these are just characters. They’re straight, gay, non-binary, white, black… It’s not a social justice warrior thing. I wanted the cast to be as diverse as the city I live in.”
The character you may care most about by the end of the season is William, played by Samuel Anderson, an AI creation with human tendencies. Martin enjoyed writing him precisely because he’s a jumble of emotions. “He is a new form of life. He’s been given the programming of emotions, but nobody thinks about what happens when those emotions override programming. He’s essentially a teenager because he doesn’t understand the complicated emotional feelings that are thrust upon him when he falls in love,” Martin shares.
“We wanted to avoid the idea that AI is inherently evil. It’s just a different kind of technology. We wanted him to have emotions. We wanted to see what would happen to an artificial intelligence that was given the ability to feel the same way the humans he’s helping are feeling.”
When Another Life was picked up to series, Martin handed Netflix’s Slasher off to another production team to shoot Season 3. That was a switch up from the first two seasons where he was showrunner and had written most of the episodes. “I [had written] the pilot for Season 3 and broken the first four or five episodes and came up with the characters and general arc,” he recalls.
“I handed it over to Ian [Carpenter] and he took it and ran with it and did a great job. We’d been working together since The Best Years. It was nice to hand it off to him and director Adam MacDonald knowing they both loved the show before they took over. It was a actually a really good fit. I was really happy with what they did. I think it became a lot more violent, which the audience responded to.”
There’s no word yet on a second season of Another Life, but Martin has an idea of what he’d like to do. “Season 1 is about figuring out what that thing is and why it’s there and why the aliens are there,” he says. “At the end of Season 1, I want Niko to think one thing and Erik to think another. Season 2 would be about what happens when both side have completely different points of view.”
Photos Courtesy of Netflix.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Maahra Hill Talks The Irrational
I’m a Jesse L. Martin stan back to the OG Mothership Law & Order (pour one out for Lennie Brisco, y’all), although I admittedly tapped out on The Flash at a certain point. This season, Martin has been back in his old NBC stomping grounds with The Irrational, a different,…
George R. Olson, Tim Rozon, and Sarah Levy Talk the SurrealEstate S2 Finale
[Spoilers for the SurrealEstate Season 2 finale.] How’s everyone doing after the finale? As we close out the second season of SurrealEstate, some of our merry band of misfits are scattering to the winds–Zooey to law school, Phil to the Vatican, and Augie back to his think tank with Rochelle,…
Previewing SurrealEstate Season 2 Finale + Revisiting the Season with George R. Olson
[Warning; General spoilers ahead.] Strap in, SurrealEstate fam, because we’ve arrived at the Season 2 finale, and it’s a doozy. As we saw in the closing moments of last week’s episode, Susan is back. But because we have one more episode left, it’s not as simple as all that, as…
Tyler Hynes Talks Through His Eight-Film Hallmark Holiday Library
Things you realize when you have to re-record your shows on a new DVR – just how many Hallmark movies your people have done. Fan favorite – and one of ours – Tyler Hynes has done eight Christmas movies for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries since 2018. Alongside…
Spencer Creaghan Talks About Creating SurrealEstate’s Signature Sound
SurrealEstate is winding down its second season, with two episodes left, and just as in Season 1, Spencer Creaghan’s music continues to be a character unto itself. And every week, he shares tidbits with the fans via his s social media channels, something he started to help give them an…
Andrew Walker Talks Christmas Island and the Magical Hallmark Community
[Warning: Spoilers for Christmas Island.] Now that the Screen Actors Guild strike has been resolved, we’re able to resume regularly scheduled programming and interview our favorites and yours. Up first, earlier today, I spoke with Andrew Walker about Christmas Island, which premiered last weekend and encores tonight and through the…
George Olson and Danishka Esterhazy Talk SurrealEstate “I Put a Spell on You”
[Warning: Spoilers for the episode.] Tonight’s fun new SurrealEstate found Luke caught up in an especially bewitching woman, Kay, played by Tara Yelland, Susan trapped in her house, and Zooey learning the ropes. In the next part of my conversation with showrunner George R. Olson and producing director Danishka Esterhazy,…
Danishka Esterhazy Talks SurrealEstate: “The Butler Didn’t”
[Warning: General spoilers for the episode]. Tonight’s new SurrealEstate, “The Butler Didn’t,” follows the team as they investigate the years-earlier mysterious death of a woman whose ghost now reenacts her hanging by dropping over the banister from the second floor to terrify anyone on the landing or at the bottom…
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk the From Season 2 finale
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale.] How’s everyone doing after that finale? While we wait and wonder and hope for a third season announcement, soon, here’s what Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders had to say about their parts of the finale, and where they hope they get to go next….
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk From Season 2 + A Season Finale Preview
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] It all comes down this, #FROMily. As Sunday’s episode wraps up Season 2, we begin with the aftermath of the terrifying onset of seemingly simultaneous attacks on Julie, Marielle, and Randall, which accelerate the “We gotta get out of this place” of it all. Sara comes…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…