Binge and Repeat: Hilary Swank rockets off to Mars in Netflix's space drama 'Away'

In a daring attempt to become the first people to live on Mars, a team of five astronauts bid their families farewell as they begin their three-year journey to the red planet in Netflix’s new space drama “Away.”

Audiences first meet Commander Emma Green, played by two-time Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank, as she informs Houston about an issue aboard the ship. From there the series jumps back to focus on the Atlas team’s preparation, the international efforts involved in creating this mission and their initial launch.

The crew experiences some initial tension with Misha, a Russian cosmonaut, and Lu, a Chinese astronaut, doubting their commander’s ability to get them safely to Mars. Throughout the series the astronauts face numerous difficulties on the ship ranging from equipment failures, disease and space walks to personal issues about abandoning their families for three years, trying to parent from the stars and the difficulties that come with placing country before themselves.

While the plot revolves around Emma, who struggles with being away while her family suffers from a medical emergency back on Earth, each episode provides the audience with insight into each of the astronaut’s personal lives.

Lu, played by Vivian Wu, is also a mother like Emma who worries after her child, but she also has to handle personal issues involving her relationships with her father and China. Kwesi, played by Ato Essandoh, reflects on his family and his faith as a novice astronaut dedicated to creating life on Mars. Misha, played by Mark Ivanir, grapples with his tricky relationship with his daughter and feels overlooked by the crew. Ram, played by Ray Panthaki, comes off as a bit of a playboy in an effort to maintain a safe, emotional distance.

The series itself revolves around the journey to Mars, which proves more and more deadly as more different issues put the astronauts in peril. Viewers will find themselves gripped by the brilliant performances the cast offers as the crew works together, hoping to survive long enough to make it to Mars.

Back on the ground Emma’s husband and teenage daughter find themselves facing issues of their own as they adapt to life without Emma and their new reality. Emma’s husband Matt, played by Josh Charles, is also a NASA-trained astronaut and scientist who tries to help save the crew with repair ideas from Earth.

From the stunning cinematography to the bright performances offered by each and every member of the cast, “Away” is a compelling and not to be missed drama that explores science and hope and the intrepid nature of humanity. Hopefully critics won’t forget about this brilliant series come awards season.


Seasons: One

Episodes: 10

Episode length: 50 minutes

TV rating: TV-14

Language: English/ Russian/ Chinese

Similar series: Lost in Space

“Away” has one season available on Netflix and is rated TV-14. Viewers might also enjoy watching Netflix’s remake of “Lost in Space” about a family traveling through space who get separated from the rest of their crew when they’re stranded on a planet. While there the family’s son forms an unlikely friendship with a robotic alien.