A Sci-Fi epic & a detecting charmer

Two prestige productions are now available for streaming; one has Ridley Scott’s name attached to it, while the other gives us a new legend with the surname Holmes.

Raised By Wolves (HBO Max) - If HBO Max had been looking for a project especially made for the streaming service that they could rightfully call their ‘prestige calling card’, this Ridley Scott-produced Sci-Fi series is it. A futuristic dystopian drama, the series has fast become a favorite of Sci-Fi geeks and purists who have often bewailed the manner in which Sci-Fi classics have been adapted for the screen. Created by long time Denis Villeneuve collaborator Aaron Guzikowski, it’s original material that had some followers commenting that they wished there was a book they could immerse themselves in. And with Ridley Scott himself directing the first two of ten episodes, there’s been strong word of mouth for this series that you’ll have to catch with a VPN.

Rather than go into the details of the plot - basic premise of rebooting humanity and civilization on a far flung planet, with androids as surrogate parents, and Earth having been ‘doomed’ by religion differences - I’ll leave it to you to enjoy the heady blend of ‘gravitas‘ and more philosophical issues on one hand, and the drama and action that together make this a thoughtful, yet compelling narrative. With a cast of relative unknowns, it actually helps that the show isn’t burdened by star power and the requisite screen time that follows, and we’re treated to a delicate, organic flow to the storytelling. In terms of universe-building, Scott is a given, as he was behind such iconic Sci-Fi films as Blade Runner & Alien. Watch this one, and enjoy an Old Master still at the top of his game.

Enola Holmes (Netflix) - This one drops on the service on September 23, Wednesday; and it’s based on the series of novels from Nancy Springer, where she created a much younger sister, Enola, to Mycroft & Sherlock Holmes. As can be expected, she’s also great in deductive powers, and thanks to the upbringing she enjoyed with her mother (Helena Bonham-Carter), she’s also adept with weaponry and in the martial arts. Stranger Things breakout star, Millie Bobby Brown, plays Enola (she’s the show’s producer as well), and by constantly breaking the 4th wall, this becomes her own ‘sanitized’ version of Deadpool and Fleabag, making her such an instant audience darling.

It’s a case of the disappearing Mother, and when you have Henry Cavill portraying Sherlock, and Sam Claflin taking on the role of Mycroft, you’ve got crafty packaging of a ‘product’ that will have females of practically all ages glued to the screen. To add spice, beyond the mystery of the missing Mum, there’s also a young Viscount Tewksbury (Louis Partridge) to provide light romantic interest. Cavill and the rest of the cast aren’t actually given all that much to do, as this vehicle is firmly ‘driven’ by the title character. There’s a strong charm to how Brown essays this role; and I wouldnt be surprised if her fans will now be of two minds as to whether her Eleven (Stranger Things) or this Enola is their favorite Millie role. I just hope that if they do have a second Enola installment, it’ll be stronger on the detecting and mystery.