Androids struggle to raise human children on a mysterious planet in the first trailer for Raised by Wolves, a new sci-fi series coming to HBO Max, courtesy of none other than Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien, etc., etc.). Created by Aaron Guzikowski, who also penned the script for the 2013 thriller Prisoners, the ten-episode series was initially a straight-to-series order for TNT, but moved to HBO Max last October. Scott even directed the first two episodes, making this his US TV directorial debut.
“I’m always searching for new frontiers in the sci-fi genre and have found a true original in Raised by Wolves— a wholly distinct and imaginative world, full of characters struggling with existential questions,” Scott told Deadline Hollywood in 2018 about what drew him to the project. “What makes us human? What constitutes a family? And what if we could start over again and erase the mess we’ve made of our planet? Would we survive? Would we do better?”
The tagline for the series gives little away: “Mother was programmed to protect everyone after Earth had been destroyed. When the big bad wolf shows up, she is the one we must trust.” But the basic premise revealed during development is that the story involves two androids serving as Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim) figures on a strange virgin planet. They are programmed to raise human children to rebuild the population. However, the people of the fledgling colony develop stark religious differences, and “the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.”
Judging by the trailer, the actual series is much weirder and more complicated than that brief description. “Gather round, children,” we hear Mother say. It appears to be story time for her young charges, but this one might give them nightmares. “The Earth was destroyed by a great war,” she says. “I was programmed to protect you. And now we start again.” Then Mother launches into a creepy retelling of the Three Little Pigs as images flash by in rapid succession, becoming increasingly strange and violent.
Travis Fimmel plays Marcus, who seems to be the bad guy in the series. Or is he? All those images of a blood-spattered Mother emitting banshee wails with enough acoustic energy to make heads explode suggests otherwise. And what’s Mother doing crouched and howling by a giant pit? “The big bad wolf she was talking about? That’s her,” we are told.
Raised by Wolves debuts on HBO Max on September 3, 2020. Will it be good? That’s hard to say, although the production values seem pretty impressive and there’s some strong Alien vibes. It’s Ridley Scott, so we’ll definitely be watching.
Listing image by YouTube/HBO Max