News

Raised By Wolves First Reviews: Ridley Scott's New Sci-Fi Series Is 'Fascinating' but 'Inconsistent,' Critics Say

The series offers all of the android goodness and dystopian world-building you'd expect from Scott, but clunky character development and the slow-burn narrative may be a hard sell for some viewers.

by | August 28, 2020 | Comments

Do androids dream of having kids? That seems to be at least one of the questions that Raised By Wolves, the new Ridley Scott–executive produced series coming to HBO Max in September, is asking. Created by Aaron Guzikowski (the writer of Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners) and starring Amanda Collin and Abubakar Salim as Mother and Father (the main robots in question), the show takes viewers to a distant planet in the far-off future where a new synthetic-led human civilization is in the making.

Mother and Father try to live a solitary life, cultivating an atheistic society, but the threat of humanity and its theology, looms nearby. The Mithraic is the perceived enemy and this neo-puritanical religious space army might be all that’s left of Earth’s population. Vikings alum Travis Fimmel is at the center of this plot, and it’d be easy to identify his character, Marcus, as the villain. But Raised By Wolves subverts expectations, leaving the viewer to question which side of this struggle is worth rooting for: the well-intentioned, yet thoroughly lethal robot parents or the possibly misguided human zealots looking for a new planet to call home?

As he did with the likes of Blade Runner and Alien, Scott puts his signature sci-fi world-building skills to use here and directs the show’s first two episodes. But is the HBO Max series a hit? Here’s what critics are saying about Raised By Wolves.


AMANDA COLLIN’S MOTHER STEALS THE SHOW

Amanda Collin in Raised By Wolves

(Photo by Coco Van Oppens/HBO Max)

Collin approaches her role as Mother in a unique way that equals Alicia Vikander’s role in EX MACHINA and Rutger Hauer’s in BLADE RUNNER. Mother is an android with warrior-like skills and abilities that make her a powerful weapon. She alone can rival the entirety of the Mithraic faction and yet she shows a lot of vulnerability as she protects not only her son Campion (Winta McGrath) but several other children as well. — Alex Maidy, JoBlo’s Movie Network

Mother is a fearsome figure, and Collin plays her with tightrope terror: She’s a new god, an anxious mom, or maybe just a broken appliance stumbling toward obsolescence. — Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly


THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

Raised By Wolves

(Photo by Coco Van Oppens/HBO Max)

When Mother and Father do things that make no particular internal sense, you can at least excuse it with, “They’re androids and they’re weird.” It’s less easy to pass off how consistently inconsistent and weakly developed every other character in the series is. As much as I appreciate Guzikowski’s willingness not to overly explain the Mithraic religion or the dystopian world that led to humanity fleeing Earth, it’s astonishing how dull Marcus, Sue and everybody else on the ark are. — Daniel Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

As with most aspects of “Raised by Wolves,” these characters are too derivative to compel, and extraordinarily frustrating from a show that purports itself a true novelty. A show that can’t find more uses for women than “wife” and “mother” isn’t one that’s thinking even halfway outside the box, let alone lightyears beyond our earthly orbit. — Caroline Framke, Variety


THE SCIENCE VS. RELIGION THEME IS A BIT POLARIZING

Travis Fimmel in Raised By Wolves

Aaron Pruner

The conflict between rationality and religion is sometimes presented in overly simplistic terms, and Guzikowski hedges his bets by using the fictional Mithraic religion (named for a Roman mystery religion) rather than an existing faith tradition, which makes the show’s philosophical debates a bit toothless. — Josh Bell, CBR

The Mithraics are portrayed as warmongers who set out to crush atheists in the name of Sol, their god, and are essentially holy crusaders from space, right down to their knightly armor. Their faith is cultish and infectious, presenting discussions about religion’s place in humanity, and though they espouse virtuous living, they contradict their beliefs with self-preservation and violence — Tim Surette, TV Guide


IT’S THE TYPE OF OPERATIC SCI-FI RIDLEY SCOTT FANS WILL LOVE

Raised by Wolves is sci-fi television of a rare breed. While premium cable and streaming services have been raising the bar in the genre for years, Raised by Wolves leaps ahead in craft, scale, and vision. Its novelistic storytelling and slow-burn pacing ask much of its audience, but it offers rewards in kind. For those willing to engage, Raised by Wolves is a stunning work of operatic science fiction that will linger in your mind well after the credits of each episode roll. — Jamie Lovett, ComicBook.com

Replicants, Synthetics & Androids – oh my! After Blade Runner & Alien, Ridley Scott again visits the world of artificial life, with equally fascinating and thrilling results. — Grace Randolph, Beyond the Trailer


FINAL THOUGHTS?

Raised by Wolves Key Art

Watching “Raised by Wolves,” you feel a certain gratitude that someone can still make sci-fi projects like this, that creatives can keep tinkering with our thoughts of the future while reflecting modern themes back at us. — Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

It’s a show that throws concept after concept at the wall, though in Scott’s seasoned hands, the vast majority of them stick, setting the stage for one of the most interesting sci-fi shows in years…To put it simply, Raised By Wolves is peak Ridley Scott. — Siddhant Adlakha, IGN Movies

Hands down the most thrilling original sci-fi show in more than a decade. — Meghan O’Keefe, Decider

Tag Cloud

criterion Apple TV+ LGBTQ Marvel Studios franchise Sneak Peek zombie theme song revenge Mary Tyler Moore hispanic TLC crossover Red Carpet crime drama facebook Winners diversity movies IFC Films Certified Fresh anthology Summer hollywood comic Pop Winter TV indiana jones Sundance Now 71st Emmy Awards Sundance TV Musicals series supernatural Tumblr cancelled television films RT21 Video Games adventure Dark Horse Comics Chernobyl free movies Stephen King witnail streaming See It Skip It Animation science fiction Comic Book Rock Mudbound spider-man docudrama romantic comedy sequels historical drama video Cannes Lionsgate Travel Channel critics all-time Star Wars Election game show DC Universe Pirates travel Turner mission: impossible Captain marvel 2015 Turner Classic Movies political drama technology dramedy DirecTV First Reviews italian Spike Sony Pictures Quiz Superheroe ABC Opinion Rocky singing competition Rom-Com blockbuster halloween TIFF 24 frames Podcast TBS Sci-Fi documentary Warner Bros. El Rey Valentine's Day Cartoon Network spanish language obituary Thanksgiving Trivia Lucasfilm Schedule composers Nominations E3 Action Adult Swim CMT social media 2017 TCM IFC FX venice YA finale Mindy Kaling Discovery Channel DGA period drama canceled TV shows aliens toy story ITV OWN dogs cults ghosts BBC One spanish Marvel sag awards Syfy 007 slashers Amazon Prime dark ratings NBC stop motion The Witch Comedy Central Music Fox News Walt Disney Pictures Television Academy anime TruTV San Diego Comic-Con CBS werewolf Comedy Pop TV Tubi Crunchyroll talk show History Brie Larson TCA 2017 Binge Guide strong female leads cancelled TV series Amazon elevated horror 2019 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt reboot war Spring TV Grammys Pride Month Ghostbusters Tarantino police drama joker DC Comics laika The Purge latino sitcom Academy Awards Crackle Countdown children's TV blaxploitation 20th Century Fox discovery green book kids Pet Sematary cancelled ABC Family Baby Yoda serial killer Hear Us Out MTV VH1 christmas movies Columbia Pictures Hallmark BET Awards Holidays miniseries APB mutant Film Festival Cosplay Black History Month Television Critics Association renewed TV shows Disney Plus Interview cars FXX TCA Winter 2020 Mystery WGN crime true crime 4/20 HBO Go football Elton John rotten Trophy Talk Calendar Pixar Reality Mary Poppins Returns New York Comic Con CW Seed cartoon WarnerMedia cooking book Comics on TV Musical richard e. Grant disaster Infographic Amazon Studios independent ESPN SXSW worst movies south america Holiday emmy awards Biopics festival Song of Ice and Fire OneApp scorecard Creative Arts Emmys television satire Reality Competition CNN Lifetime A24 LGBT die hard festivals Teen screenings screen actors guild teaser what to watch remakes MCU X-Men Esquire Superheroes Paramount Network news Fantasy doctor who 2018 Marvel Television Writers Guild of America GIFs Apple hist Awards Tour versus Logo Sundance BBC USA Network A&E mockumentary space Freeform Super Bowl justice league Emmys TV renewals spinoff BBC America VICE 2016 foreign Tomatazos unscripted First Look worst Showtime child's play jamie lee curtis PlayStation PBS HBO cats Polls and Games BET Vudu Character Guide Horror halloween tv casting Starz Masterpiece Disney Channel archives Nat Geo The Academy TV PaleyFest Shondaland based on movie Apple TV Plus animated FOX zombies best twilight toronto Awards American Society of Cinematographers 72 Emmy Awards NYCC Western dc Premiere Dates National Geographic Acorn TV cops Peacock natural history vampires reviews 2020 The Arrangement zero dark thirty Disney Hallmark Christmas movies RT History award winner Family FX on Hulu Classic Film Best and Worst dragons concert Fall TV parents Lifetime Christmas movies YouTube Red dceu Black Mirror Funimation superhero Disney streaming service Universal Avengers Rocketman fast and furious Star Trek comics stoner scary movies cancelled TV shows Country Paramount SundanceTV DC streaming service GoT binge asian-american video on demand Box Office Ovation BAFTA MSNBC Epix Bravo transformers spain thriller Ellie Kemper VOD Food Network sequel GLAAD comedies Set visit Emmy Nominations 45 nbcuniversal nature Spectrum Originals Arrowverse Kids & Family spy thriller canceled cinemax Martial Arts Netflix CBS All Access psychological thriller Disney+ Disney Plus Toys movie indie TNT french batman classics nfl psycho The CW game of thrones YouTube Premium universal monsters boxoffice The Walking Dead 21st Century Fox Endgame Drama Watching Series romance harry potter Marathons sports HBO Max Britbox Oscars breaking bad biography stand-up comedy politics chucky comiccon Extras Heroines TV Land Anna Paquin Trailer Year in Review Amazon Prime Video a nightmare on elm street Christmas quibi Photos tv talk rotten movies we love directors robots name the review Women's History Month Nickelodeon Netflix Christmas movies SDCC AMC golden globes Shudder TCA crime thriller E! documentaries adaptation USA Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Fox Searchlight medical drama Hulu President Mary poppins YouTube Film TCA Awards