TL;DR – This is a fascinating romantic science fiction romp. I wish had spent a little less time on the love triangle and a bit more on worldbuilding.
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.
A Girl and an Astronaut Review –
One thing about the Science Fiction genre that I love is just how flexible it can be. It has the facility for anyone to tell a story, which is why I love seeing how different countries and film traditions tackle sci-fi concepts. It can also be a gateway for me to cinematic worlds I have never visited before. With that in mind, today we take our first look into Polish television and a story about a long-lost love.
So to set the scene, in 2052, a space capsule appears in Earth orbit, with the astronaut Captain Nikodem Borowski (Jędrzej Hycnar) waking up from hibernation. What is odd is that the space orbiter Niko-One vanished mysteriously 30 years ago, and the company running it SkyCom, said it was lost. The whole world is waiting to see what comes of the orbiter, now it is reentering the Earth’s atmosphere, but for Marta (Magdalena Cielecka), it is more than that. It is the return of a love lost to time and space. Now we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
What first caught my interest in A Girl and an Astronaut was exploring how they would investigate the two different timelines, 2022 and 2052. Would they be static, would the flow and merge, and how would they transition between the two? While we get a little bit of merging, there is often a very hard cut as an event or item is mentioned, and we flash back or forward to it. The two timelines do progress ahead in the same direction, so there is no time jumping other than back and forth. This was easier to follow, but it also meant there were no surprises coming.
A Girl and an Astronaut fits nicely in the romantic science fiction genre, which we don’t tend to see much of because it is hard to get that balance right. Here they lean hard into the romance side of things, and you will probably see all of the cast with their kit off at some point throughout the series. This leans heavily into the love-triangle story hook, and it is interesting to see how it plays out with Young Marta (Vanessa Aleksander), Young Bogdan (Jakub Sasak), and Niko v Old Marta, Old Bogdan (Andrzej Chyra) and Niko. Add in some Top Gun oomph of duelling fighter pilots, and there is much to go on. While it is potentially interesting, it is just a standard love triangle with a bit of a time twist. However, the show focuses on this almost to the exclusion of everything else, and you can feel it hold the show back in places. This is equally frustrating when we get to the ending, which, while interesting, did not have enough build-up to feel like it actually nailed that landing.
Within this romance is the science fiction world they are using to forward the story, and here we have some strengths and weaknesses. First, I liked the way tech was integrated into people’s lives. It felt like a very grounded progression from where we are today. A combination of drones and at-home AIs is a very believable world. I liked the little touch while Bogdan was using the heavy drone, and a giant flashing ‘do not disturb’ came out of his back. However, while everyone always says that ‘the world has changed’, the series does not explore this enough. There are hints about autonomy in a constantly observed world but not an honest exploration. Also, it is not the show’s fault, but you can immediately tell that they were written/made before the Illegal Invasion of Ukraine because there is no way specific plot points would have played out like they have here had it been written after. It is just something that, unfortunately, dates the show, even if that was never the intent.
In the end, do we recommend A Girl and an Astronaut? Generally, I thought it was fine, and the cast all did a commendable job. However, I am not sure it got the Romance/Sci-fi balance right, which kept it from reaching its potential.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of A Girl and an Astronaut
Directed by – Bartek Prokopowicz
Written by – Agata Malesińska
Created by – Bartek Prokopowicz & Jakub Korolczuk
Production/Distribution Companies – Lulu Productions & Netflix
Starring – Vanessa Aleksander, Jędrzej Hycnar, Jakub Sasak, Magdalena Cielecka & Andrzej Chyra with Zofia Jastrzębska, Anna Cieślak, Daria Polunina, Andriej Źurawski, Grzegorz Damięcki, Svyatoslav Suprunov, Anton Solovey, Euguniusz Malinowski, Artem Manuilov, Vasyl Vasylyk, Svetlana Anikey, Helena Rząsa, Magdalena Boczarska, Michał Bugalski, Marianna Bashkina, Kamil Szeptycki, Agnieszka Wagner, Dominika Sakowicz & Wojciech Błach
Episodes Covered – Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5 & Episode 6