Away: Full Season 1
September 6, 2020 5:02 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

An American astronaut struggles with leaving her husband and daughter behind to embark on a dangerous mission with an international space crew.
posted by ellieBOA (19 comments total)
I wonder if they filmed some of the show on the same sound stage as For All Mankind. Mark Ivanir, the actor who plays Misha, is in both. But I wish they had given Ato Essandoh / Kwesi more to do other than offering prayers. Essandoh was wonderful in his episode of Amazon's Tales From the Loop.

The switching between zero gravity and artificial gravity was sometimes jarring. Is NASA even anywhere close to building large enough vehicles to give everyone private rooms of that size?
posted by emelenjr at 5:34 AM on September 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

It's fine if a space show wants to be impressionistic rather than realistic. No need to even try to depict equal and opposite reaction when throwing someone in a spacesuit, for example, if the focus is on the social side.

If the point of the show is to explore if a crew this badly integrated socially could survive a mars mission, I'd be down for that. But the characters don't seem good enough or the relationships deep enough for that either?
posted by joeyh at 9:28 AM on September 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Weird show. Expensive actors, but soap opera level script . Ship with artificial gravity, but loads of microgravity effects anyway. Some cool effects (lighting in the rotating section was great!), but the central water widget often looked like a space-themed escape room. Semi-serious mission architecture, but totally bonkers stuff thrown in seemingly at random. Some plot elements clearly heavily inspired by The Martian, but they often half-arsed them.

Lu's chaste love affair seemed like it was walking a fine line that I couldn't quite make out. An export thing?

No need to even try to depict equal and opposite reaction when throwing someone in a spacesuit
Misha was on the short tether when he made that throw, wasn't he?
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:55 PM on September 6, 2020

I was just amazed at how clear and lag-free (until the plot demanded a whole 20-minute delay) all of their communications back home were. Like, I can't even call my family a few states away without the call dropping every fifth time.

I think I would have found pretty much any of the other families more interesting to follow than Emma's. Josh Charles is fantastic but in no way convinced me that he was an astronaut or the smartest scientist at NASA. The daughter was fine but one-note.

I did love the plot about Misha making everyone rehearse his dog puppet play (complete with special effects) for like 6 months.
posted by TwoStride at 7:36 PM on September 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

Nothing about the comments here makes me want to venture any further than the 20 mins i spent in episode 1 the other night. It was slow, and there were tropes (has there ever actually been a panel discussion with a mission crew, where they all praise each other's skill set with ham-fisted expository monologues?) Good golly NO.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:37 PM on September 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just finished the season, and I actually thought it was quite lovely! Many of the elements of the show mirror elements of my own life (isolated environment, multicultural team that doesn't always get along, limited food choices, high risk situations, having to make urgent life-changing judgement calls, etc) and so I felt "at home" watching the show, even if I'm not an astronaut. The scenes back on earth weren't as interesting, but I don't really have sympathy for mopey family members of people doing important things.
I'm really hoping they make a second season!
posted by hasna at 8:48 AM on September 18, 2020

This show leans way too hard into "a problem happens because the mission was planned with less foresight than the average camping trip and then somebody (often Brooding Husband McGuyver) has to improvise a solution based on a sudden insight prompted by an incidental observation". Seriously though, what kind of plot device is "we have no water because our purifier broke, and then our backup broke (a backup is like a 'spare tire' so obviously like a real spare tire you should expect it to come factory pre-broken), and our ship is actually surrounded by potable water but they didn't put in a spigot".

Also: I would like to see a space show where the crew actually works well together and trusts each other, rather than trying to mutiny before they've even launched.
posted by Pyry at 11:47 AM on September 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

I liked this ok, mostly the exploring of so many different challenges that could come up in this kind of mission (not just mechanical/deadly challenges like most similar shows) and also how the different personalities and relationships evolved over time. I did like the middle-later episodes a lot more than the first few.

(spoilers, I guess) The least interesting part by far was all the mechanical breakdowns and McGuyvering solutions. Those all felt like a big waste of time and trying to hammer us over the head with how brilliant they all are, because it was always pretty obvious the astronauts were never all going to die because that's the whole show, so of course they would come up with some elaborate solution. It also seemed weird to get into nitpicky mechanical details when we're just hand-waving away stuff like lag-free video communication.

It was also a little annoying how absolutely blindingly perfect Emma and to a lesser degree her whole family were, but that's so common (especially for a strong female lead) that I guess I can live with it.
posted by randomnity at 11:30 AM on September 25, 2020

Oof. First episode and I am unreasonably annoyed by the clouds of vapor rolling down the spaceship and the bright orange rocket plume on liftoff.

Still, the emotional hits landed right, so I'll watch it, sure.
posted by Kyol at 7:48 PM on October 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

It was also a little annoying how absolutely blindingly perfect Emma and to a lesser degree her whole family were, but that's so common (especially for a strong female lead) that I guess I can live with it.
In this case I thought it made sense in-universe as a selection bias: astronauts are not drawn randomly from the population and both she and her husband were in that program, and this mission was unusually selective even within the space program. It’s one of the few areas where this Hollywood pattern is remotely plausible.
posted by adamsc at 5:58 AM on October 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm three episodes in, and finding it odd to hear about a mission going out with only a 50/50 chance of success (which, in my experience, is not at all how space agencies operate), a crew that is mistrustful of each other, high risk solutions being implemented, and so on. Like, after a chemical leak and a fire on the way to the moon, I would expect the mission to be "grounded" for months while everything got doublechecked, damage repaired, procedures reviewed, etc. I guess I'm used to space shows that strive for a high degree of realism to display high levels of competence porn, or is there an urgency to this mission that I missed somewhere?
posted by nubs at 9:22 AM on October 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Oof. First episode and I am unreasonably annoyed by the clouds of vapor rolling down the spaceship and the bright orange rocket plume on liftoff.

Not to mention the big Space-Shuttle/Delta IV style sparklers to burn the H2 boil-off. On the Moon. Oh, and Mission Control called "negative return" at one point late in that same launch. Like, no shit negative return!

I did enjoy it but, like Gravity, it mostly worked for me because it laid out its this-ain't-exactly-rocket-science cards early so I knew what to expect.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:16 AM on October 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Five? Ish? Episodes in and I'm sort of trying to decide whether it's just going to end up sugary-sweet Lifetime Movie Network on us, or if the Russian cosmonaut is going to die, dad's going to end up with the gal who was watching over his daughter, etc etc etc. Like, will the show take any actual risks, or is it going to be all overcoming the challenges with the power of teamwork and Being Good.

That said, it's still engaging enough halfway through the series, although I guess they finally decided they needed to pay attention to the speed of light for plot purposes.
posted by Kyol at 11:47 AM on October 19, 2020

And it's cancelled.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:46 AM on October 20, 2020

Good enough for me to make the decision to pull the plug on watching the last half; the melodrama was getting too thick.
posted by nubs at 8:54 AM on October 20, 2020

I loved, loved, loved this show and I'm super mad they cancelled it. I can't disagree with the criticisms here. It was kinda smarmy, and the science was not great. It strains credulity that one spaceship would have so many personal dramas in it. But screw all that, the turned those elements into compelling, humane TV. I'm all here for Hilary Swank. Really annoyed the aren't funding another season.
posted by Nelson at 8:23 PM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth they did end at a reasonably satisfying spot, so it's not like you'll be left hanging _too_ badly by the cancellation.

And yeah, it was compelling enough. Saccharine sweet and cheesy as hell and I'm pretty sure their science advisor quit before the final episodes were filmed, but if you can look past that, there are worse ways to spend a few hours watching TV.
posted by Kyol at 9:18 AM on October 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've just finished episode 2 and thought this was one of the worst space shows I've ever watched. Painfully unrealistic but also boring. Disappointing. I can't imagine watching any more of it.
posted by knapah at 2:28 PM on November 23, 2020

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