TV review: Away
This space drama, currently streaming on Netflix, wastes no time in getting down to business in its intriguing pilot episode.
As American astronaut Emma Green (Hilary Swank) prepares to command an international crew on a perilous three-year mission to Mars, she reconciles her decision to leave behind her Nasa engineer husband (Josh Charles) and teenage daughter.
Even during the team's pitstop at the lunar base before setting off for the Red Planet, a near-fatal accident on board casts doubt about her leadership and eventually divides its members, with veteran Russian cosmonaut (Mark Ivanir) and Chinese chemist (Vivian Wu) close to screaming mutiny.
The effects and production design are solid enough for a TV show, the character dynamics are worth following, there is plenty of backstory to be unearthed and what a strong comeback for Wu (The Joy Luck Club, The Pillow Book, The Soong Sisters).
If Away focuses more on the thrills and spills of space travel, like a nail-biting spacewalk, and orbits less around Green's family melodrama on Earth, it has the potential to soar.