Netflix offers an opportunity to escape from the ongoing crisis faced by the earth into “the galaxy far, far away” with the release of “Alien World”.
Using both real science and imaginary fiction, the new four-episode British docu-series shows what extraterrestrial life might look like, based on the laws and theories of the weird and odds-defying ways life evolved on Earth.
The first episode features Didier Queloz, an astronomer who 25 years ago wrote a paper on 51 Pegasi b, the first extrasolar planet to be found by humans. As Queloz explains planets orbiting billions of stars, the episode imagines Atlas, a world with higher gravity than Earth and a thicker atmosphere leading to airborne creatures called Sky Grazers. The series compared the Sky Grazer’s possible biological condition using the behaviour and evolution of earth creatures.
In another episode, on planet Eden, where a day takes an entire year to pass, monkey-like predators migrate with the sun while the offspring of their prey wait in spherical cocoons up in the trees.
The most remarkable feature of “Alien World” is that it can make a scientific documentary far from boring with its creative cinematography. It is loads of fun to see how the show’s animators take concepts from our own earth and transform them into cultural backgrounds, not just making amazing characters, but also weather conditions and air densities that may occur only on planets that hardly resemble the earth.
The suspenseful screenplay narrated by Sophie Okonedo adds in a fantastic element almost equal to that from a Star Trek film.
The earth-bound science part is also not bad, despite the series being “docu-fiction”, meaning the show over the course of its episodes features explanations from specialists in a wide range of areas, from a falconry expert to a Nobel prize-winning astronomer. It is not every day that you can learn about science and enjoy a sci-fi film at the same time.
With each of its four episodes lasting about 45 minutes, it is an easy watch with your family in the evening after work or on the weekend.