Raised by Wolves is about way more than just faith and parenthood

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HBO Max’s Raised by Wolves is on Crave. Photo by supplied

Some critics of the show seem to have a short-term memory glitch about how cold and humourless Battlestar Galactica was while still managing to place in the top 10 sci-fi TV series ever — while others more reasonably have cringed “as a parent” at the body count of children that the androids Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim) fail to protect, and how that’s no fun to watch, either.

Fair enough. The stakes are indeed brutal, and fully in line with its creative pedigree. It is, after all, a sci-fi horror show and, about to wrap its first season of 10 episodes Thursday, certainly has the touch of executive producer and co-director Ridley Scott, including: creamy-blooded androids; faceless aliens with buggy exoskeletons; unforgiving environments seen through Hollywood’s ‘Moscow’ filters; and, for sure, reliable, ‘monster in the house’ rising murder countdowns.

But turning away from this inventive show all together is a lost opportunity to enjoy one of the least preachy, most morally intriguing TV series of the last decade, which starts with the fact that — like Princess Mononoke and to a lesser extent Game of Thrones at its best — it’s not some simple battle between good and evil binaries, so much as a collection of perfectly understandable people (and androids) clashing ferociously to protect what they truly believe is the only way to save humanity: eliminate the other side.

For the first couple episodes I wondered, OK, but it’s sci-fi: metaphor country. So beyond the throwback costumes and exploding priests, what is this show really supposed to be about, philosophically? I settled on ‘motherhood’ at first, as both Mother and Sue eased awkwardly into their guardian roles — and the show title does contain the word Raised, after all. And as Marcus (Travis Fimmell) rises to yin Mother’s parental yang, I expanded it all to be about ‘raising children in a time of war.’

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