Science Fiction is without a doubt one of the most popular genres when it comes to storytelling. The most successful films ever at the box office are science fiction films, with Avengers Endgame, and Avatar leading the pack. However, those films have something in common. They are bombastic sci-fi festivals made under a huge budget, and so they can afford as many impressive visuals, and actions sequences as they want.
Sadly, not all science fiction stories have the resources they need to translate themselves onto the screen in the proper way. Very few projects actually have them, so in order to still try to make it fit into the science fiction label. However, without having to spend so much money, many creators have to turn to sci-fi stories that are more subtle, equally intriguing, and that focus their premises on their characters instead of the universe that surrounds them.
Amazon Prime has been having a rough time trying to get into the genre space. They are really trying, but they have only managed to achieve it with The Boys. So seeing that this is the most successful genre ever, and wanting to keep subscribers happy and new ones coming constantly, they have been pouring their resources on that effort. Outer Range seems to be doing good, so, why not more stories like that?
Night Sky is a series developed by Holden Miller, and Daniel C. Connolly for Amazon Prime. The series stars J.K. Simmons, Sissy Spacek, Chai Hansen, Adam Bartley, Julieta Zylberberg, and Rocio Hernandez. The show tells the story of an elder couple, Irene and Franklin York, as they discover a portal in their backyard that leads to a mysterious desert planet. The York’s have kept their discovery a secret, but when a young man appears in their lives uncovering their secret, things start to get complicated.
To get the obvious out of the way. It seems that if Amazon is not willing to spend huge money on a heavy VFX show, outside a popular brand like The Lord of the Rings, they are really willing to spend the money getting some top talent in front of the camera. On this occasion we are talking about Sissy Spacek, and J.K. Simmons who, just like Josh Brolin in Outer Range, can bring something that less experienced actors cannot.
The whole show sits on the shoulders of these two, and they completely kill it in every single scene. The relationship between Irene and Franklin is just wonderful. It could be said that they are one of those elderly couples you see on the street that look at each other as if they were in their first year as sweethearts, even after so many years have passed. Franklin is grumpy, and Irene is naive and sweet, both characters really complement each other very well, and it is quite cute to see them interacting.
When the character of Jude, played by Chai Hansen comes into their lives, the dynamic changes a lot between the couple but not for the worse, the love between Irene and Franklin is really pure and nothing can change that. What Jude brings is something else entirely, but that still fits and enriches the narrative. Hansen levels up his acting chops and keeps up with the two veterans. The trio becomes the central focus of the show, and that storyline is so good that it makes the rest of the characters feel a bit like fluff.
And that is one of the main issues when it comes to Night Sky. The show’s main storyline is fascinating, fun, intriguing and even exciting, but the rest of the subplots lack each one of those elements. The result is that Night Sky might end up feeling like a slog, like it takes too much time to really get to the good stuff, and that might scare some members of the audience as they see it.
Many of the supporting characters have their own storylines, and it is evident that the writers are leading to something with all these set up. But sadly, the show never manages to give a satisfying pay-off to any of them, which serves to make them see more life fluff than anything else. Maybe if the series gets a second season, these set up can find a more satisfying resolution, but in its current form, season 1 ends with many plot lines just falling into cliffhangers that might or might not be resolved.
Night Sky offers infinite potential, and it is evident that the writers are trying to build up something for later seasons. However, this leaves season one with the feeling that it is incomplete, and that at least if it had given us a better resolution to the season, it could be a more easy recommendation. The last stretch of episodes might frustrate many viewers who don’t have the patience to wait another year for the story to continue.
Night Sky offers a great central plot, very intriguing mysteries, and powerful performances from the main trio of actors. But it dwells too much into supporting characters that are just not that interesting and that make the story go along at a slower pace than it has to. Let’s hope there is a season two, or this could become a really sad ending for what could be a really cute and heartwarming show.