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

(Photo by )

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

Discovery Channel Superheroes Logo Paramount Network die hard YouTube international TCM 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards comic books slasher stand-up comedy obi wan comic Food Network zombie unscripted Grammys TV Land Awards Interview leaderboard Trivia transformers The Academy rt archives dexter cancelled TV shows Showtime mcc cooking Sci-Fi FXX Creative Arts Emmys Writers Guild of America Premiere Dates halloween Infographic rotten nbcuniversal Schedule Rocky FOX nfl scary movies Mystery green book Cosplay Hulu mission: impossible werewolf TNT USA Network Disney hist Disney Channel ID PBS movie art house book adaptation superhero pirates of the caribbean Lucasfilm godzilla Television Critics Association Pet Sematary TV movies Best Actress BBC America marvel comics critic resources documentaries Chilling Adventures of Sabrina The Arrangement Black Mirror Election Best Picture summer TV Emmy Nominations laika Ovation boxoffice BBC One Film Amazon Prime Video Family Paramount SundanceTV king arthur a nightmare on elm street basketball Fox News 24 frames Winners crime drama women Elton John prank Star Wars game of thrones BBC WGN miniseries latino spinoff justice league free movies Crunchyroll award winner jurassic park quibi Extras historical drama fast and furious 2021 TCA Awards Paramount Plus adenture Avengers anime joker zero dark thirty Holidays dramedy 20th Century Fox Amazon Prime TIFF serial killer foreign CBS TCA 2017 japan trailers video on demand TV 93rd Oscars Nat Geo Tokyo Olympics Adult Swim worst movies Tomatazos witnail Awards Tour superman blockbuster war Captain marvel TruTV Television Academy 2019 Superheroe E3 crime thriller Mary Tyler Moore Comic-Con@Home 2021 Women's History Month Amazon Studios Music ESPN VH1 rt labs kids 79th Golden Globes Awards black FX on Hulu IFC Films child's play reviews richard e. Grant political drama sequels Mudbound Cannes Apple TV Plus LGBTQ 99% romance South by Southwest Film Festival olympics cinemax First Look Fantasy dragons First Reviews Starz disaster genre game show romantic comedy Walt Disney Pictures crossover 45 NBA Best and Worst Western sopranos Rock popular Endgame HFPA Netflix screen actors guild zombies Black History Month all-time Columbia Pictures scary Universal Pictures PaleyFest thriller Nominations El Rey HBO Max Mary poppins GLAAD stop motion spanish language Spring TV Hollywood Foreign Press Association Toys Christmas Horror Pirates 2018 2017 streaming movies scene in color cartoon 90s ratings Masterpiece A24 Red Carpet spain Alien Arrowverse comiccon NBC renewed TV shows Hear Us Out robots Marvel Television WarnerMedia 2020 Holiday Prime Video strong female leads Opinion Ghostbusters crime streamig elevated horror Set visit The CW video BET Awards debate IFC young adult Sundance biopic Acorn TV razzies emmy awards 007 teaser gangster Disney+ Disney Plus casting heist movie Drama Brie Larson Lifetime Christmas movies james bond streaming TLC Shudder Netflix Christmas movies Tubi E! movies Academy Awards ABC feel good Warner Bros. Quiz American Society of Cinematographers festival Comic Book batman DGA anthology comedies lord of the rings Musicals Trailer Turner Classic Movies screenings sag awards Valentine's Day Instagram Live 2015 Pop TV series deadpool ABC Family name the review Stephen King PlayStation TCA Winter 2020 sequel Nickelodeon blaxploitation OWN VOD obituary Comics on TV nature Marvel Studios Exclusive Video Freeform DC streaming service Pacific Islander Sundance TV diversity vampires Animation indiana jones aapi new star wars movies australia finale AMC Plus ghosts hidden camera twilight trophy summer preview halloween tv Hallmark Christmas movies christmas movies Watching Series new zealand criterion Thanksgiving hispanic news vs. politics scorecard Apple TV+ Box Office know your critic comics supernatural parents slashers Legendary spider-verse Dark Horse Comics 4/20 worst psychological thriller documentary hispanic heritage month Biopics DirecTV franchise cancelled television talk show Musical Baby Yoda Turner The Walt Disney Company posters legend Oscar IMDb TV Calendar Shondaland CMT cars President festivals Mindy Kaling Anna Paquin MTV book Neflix discovery television Song of Ice and Fire Teen Character Guide Lionsgate canceled TV shows Fargo classics Tumblr critics GoT Super Bowl DC Universe Spike YouTube Premium Polls and Games space ITV TV One Image Comics football universal monsters RT History Cartoon Network SDCC Epix animated YA mockumentary TBS stoner spanish concert reboot revenge hollywood high school facebook doctor who king kong Photos Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt kaiju Film Festival directors royal family ViacomCBS archives tv talk The Walking Dead ABC Signature medical drama Amazon technology cops adventure Winter TV SXSW natural history National Geographic composers DC Comics Pixar YouTube Red telelvision venice what to watch Marvel jamie lee curtis singing competition Sony Pictures dogs golden globes toy story SXSW 2022 dreamworks mutant Martial Arts monster movies boxing The Purge Universal Lifetime cults dark Mary Poppins Returns based on movie A&E versus toronto Sneak Peek Britbox satire Broadway spider-man rt labs critics edition science fiction theme song Year in Review Ellie Kemper Fall TV MSNBC suspense asian-american Best Director Country BET 1990s LGBT The Witch docudrama Star Trek cancelled TV series CW Seed mob BAFTA Heroines docuseries biography Podcast adaptation black comedy Tags: Comedy Kids & Family History comic book movies Trophy Talk true crime Disney streaming service cats AMC 94th Oscars Esquire south america canceled target kong CBS All Access police drama best Oscars GIFs Pride Month X-Men Action Fox Searchlight aliens Chernobyl Spectrum Originals sports Disney Plus Summer HBO Go live action Crackle period drama Marathons remakes social media RT21 VICE marvel cinematic universe Tarantino Classic Film indie OneApp APB italian 21st Century Fox fresh FX Countdown rom-coms harry potter new york MGM Hallmark 72 Emmy Awards Vudu 2016 Pop Reality Competition TV renewals San Diego Comic-Con live event Travel Channel Binge Guide MCU See It Skip It blockbusters chucky Best Actor saw Sundance Now Bravo HBO Rocketman Reality binge dceu rotten movies we love Video Games action-comedy Wes Anderson summer TV preview films 73rd Emmy Awards french wonder woman independent New York Comic Con Comedy Central dc travel USA Syfy Funimation Comedy CNN breaking bad sitcom golden globe awards Certified Fresh spy thriller TCA 71st Emmy Awards Apple Emmys comic book movie Peacock psycho Rom-Com NYCC japanese cancelled children's TV