• Lukas Kendall

Raised by Wolves Secret Decoder Ring


Raised by Wolves is back for a second season on HBOMax.


There is so much TV now—and good TV—that it’s an interesting experience to watch a season premiere and “reload” the narrative from the recap: “Oh yeah, all that stuff happened last year.” Like, do I really want to get invested in this again?


Something I learned way back in the Sopranos era was that often the first episode of the season is the dullest to watch—because it’s the exposition for the season arc.


In fact, I remember the season premiere of the Sopranos’ second year (2000). That was back when I used to hang out at Shane Black’s house in Hancock Park. (Sometimes I was even invited!) We would have a “movie night” Sunday after a softball game in the afternoon.


The Sopranos was a big deal at the time. The first season had been a massive, game-changing hit, but a lot of folks still didn’t watch it. Some of us “in the know” suggested we watch the premiere of the second premiere for “movie night”—and boy was that a bomb!


The gang consisted a lot of young people, and their guests, looking for laughs and thrills, and they weren’t in the mood for “laying pipe” as the season premiere has to do narratively.


There were a lot of weirdos showing up at that house. Here’s a typical interaction:


Party Dude (on his way out): “Hey, Shane, great house, great party, thanks so much for inviting us.”


Shane: “Aw, certainly, you’re welcome.”


Party Dude: “Yeah, bro, this was awesome, we really appreciate it. You’re so nice and it’s so great to spend some time with you and your friends.”


Party Dude’s Girlfriend (standing beside him): “Yeah, Shane, we—”


Party Dude: “I SAID WAIT IN THE CAR YOU STUPID BITCH!!”


Anyway—Raised by Wolves.


This is a cool show. The design is really imaginative. It’s probably the only modern-day sci-fi series I’ve ever seen that uses a throwback look to the clean lines and smooth, fantastic technology of 1950s sci-fi.


Ridley Scott produces, and directed the first two episodes. It seems to continue his interest in sci-fi/space world-building from Prometheus.


Danish actress Amanda Collin gives a supremely weird, mesmerizing performance as “Mother,” the android parent (and super weapon) following her program to raise human children on a far-off planet. If you thought Brent Spiner played a good android, Collin kicks up the weirdness to an insane degree. And Abubakar Salim is great as “Father.”


And yet...


Is it too much to ask that a show make sense without having to read an interview with the creator/showrunner explaining it?


Asking for a friend.


The music is pretty gloomy and synthy, by Marc Streitenfeld and Ben Frost.


But the title song, by Frost and Swedish artist Mariam Wallentin, is mesmerizing:


I spent all of the first season thinking the opening lyrics were in Swedish, not English. I’ve always been bad at hearing lyrics!

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