“Death can be very unpleasant when you’re smart.” ~ Father, of Raised by wolves on HBO Max.
Sometimes a TV show lives past its expiration date. A show like Fear the living dead mixes in perpetuity, even if it loses its best actors and in spite of its decreasing quality. We’ve just seen season 7 take the AMC zombie drama to new levels, and yet a season 8 has already been greenlit.
Sometimes a TV show is sent to an early grave. Netflix is known for canceling shows that still had a lot of life, like The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance—or who had almost finished the story – like GLOW.
But I admit that I expected more from HBO. I do not know why. The hasty and sloppy end of game of thrones should have taught me to control my hopes and expectations. Now HBO Max has canceled perhaps the best sci-fi show on television: Raised by wolves. It looks like the Warner Bros. shakeup – and merger with Discovery – has claimed that victim. It won’t be the last.
A show too good to die young
The space opera produced by Ridley Scott is something unique in the television landscape. Raised by wolves it’s clever and well-written, but also something of a fever dream to watch. There’s almost a vintage feel to it, like something out of weird sci-fi from an older era. It’s dark and intriguing, exploring not just the divide between AI and humanity, but between religious fanatics and equally radical atheists and the aftermath of a war that completely destroyed Earth.
The show delves into the mysteries of humanity’s new home on Keppler-22b, a habitable yet hostile aircraft filled with acidic oceans and terrifying monsters. Creator Aaron Guzikowski has told a deft, if downright bizarre tale of shifting alliances, power struggles, and humanity’s last ditch effort to survive so far. The story is not yet over, however.
Raised by wolves also boasts a stellar cast. Travis Fimmel, fresh off his role as Ragnar in Vikings, plays Marcus – an atheist who disguised himself as one of the Mithraic religious soldiers with his wife, Sue, played by Niamh Algar. Fimmel does a terrific job as we see Marcus spiraling into madness, somehow possessed by what appears to be the planet itself – a powerful, twisted entity they call the Mithraic god, Sol.
Meanwhile, Amanda Collin plays Mother A.I. opposite Abubakar Salim’s father. These two androids were tasked by the atheists to raise children on Keppler-22b before the atheist colony ship arrived, and are the first to begin uncovering its dark secrets.
Collin is simply brilliant in this role, portraying both Mother as a caring and friendly nanny and one of the most terrifying AIs you’ll encounter in a movie or TV show.
Salim is also adept at portraying the father as the cautious and far less dangerous counterpart of the mother. He’s so friendly that you can’t help but support him.
Kids make up a big part of the cast and all of those younger actors, including Winta McGrath who plays the OG Keppler-22g kid, 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 feels extraordinarily unique and unlike any other TV show. It’s truly tragic that Warner Bros unplugged it. I have a feeling this will become a cult classic, and it’s so frustrating that the story – which was just getting started! – won’t get the ending his 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 definitely a part of me that was nervous that this could happen. It’s so weird and so different and obviously expensive – and it doesn’t have the same big draw as something like Westworld, but if I had to choose, I’d much rather they canceled this show, which did a great job of wrapping up its best story arc at the end of season 1.
A new house ?
Salim maintains that there is still hope that Scott Free Productions can find a second life for Raised by wolves somewhere else. It would not be unprecedented. We’ve seen shows like Brooklyn nine-nine be canceled and find a new home on another streamer. The Orville left Fox and moved to Hulu for its third season.
Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Paramount – any of them would be wise to snatch this premium sci-fi show as soon as possible. It would bring much-needed premium content and a flood of grateful fans. Netflix, which has been struggling lately and will soon have another content issue when stranger things 4 airing its final two episodes in July, could especially win here.
I will cross my fingers. And fans of this show should make their voices heard. As Salim wrote on reddit, “I ask you to show this love, make your voice heard through social media and help us find a new home.”
There’s a petition you can sign here and a fan-made website with resources to help spread the word. Go on social media, share posts like this on Twitter and Facebook, do whatever you can to save the show.
Maybe all of this will come to nothing, but it never hurts to try. Each of the big streamers could use a real sci-fi drama to add to their lists.