10-episode series premiers Friday on Netflix.
and loyal Ram (Ray Panthaki), an Air Force fighter pilot from India.
Gee, I wonder if this diverse group from different corners of the planet will butt heads from time to time but eventually realize they have to trust each other if they’re going to survive this extremely dangerous and controversial mission while the whole world is watching?
“Away” slingshots back and forth from the impressively rendered scenes aboard the Atlas, with the astronauts floating about, literally and figuratively, to life on Earth (which seems to be in present day). The always steady Josh Charles plays Emma’s husband, Matt, a scientist who’s overseeing the day-to-day mechanics of the mission until he suffers a near-fatal stroke, and Talitha Bateman does a fine job carrying an emotionally heavy load as teenage daughter Alexis, who’s about the greatest kid ever as she copes with having a paralyzed dad and a mom who is on her way to Mars and won’t be home from three years, if ever.
Hilary Swank delivers a solid, grim-faced performance as Emma, who sometimes looks like she’s clenching her teeth just to keep from crying about the situation back home or exploding at one of the crew members who has just messed up. We believe in Emma, just as the initially skeptical crew comes to believe in her. The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, with the standouts being Ivanir as Misha, whose back story is surprisingly touching, and Essandoh’s Kwesi, who has a lot going on behind that sunny exterior. Like the Atlas itself, “Away” is a beautiful machine that stalls and sputters from time to time but builds momentum as it reaches for the heavens.
Cmdr. Emma Green (Hilary Swank) is overseeing Earth’s first trip to Mars in “Away.” NETFLIX