I started watching a new limited-run series on Amazon with my wife called Night Sky, and the premise is intriguing: an elderly couple (played by JK Simmons and Sissy Spacek) faces the challenges of their declining years while at the same time harboring a mysterious secret: they have discovered a bunker under their property that contains a possibly-alien (or at least technologically super-advanced) device that transports them to a capsule/view-deck on the surface of an alien world. [None of that is a spoiler, since you get that from the blurb on the video site and the little bit of preview they show you.]
It’s a fascinating premise because I don’t really know what to anticipate. There are so many directions this type of set-up can go, and I’m delighted to be along for the ride.
I’ve only watched the first episode, so no spoilers in the comments, please, and use your own judgment/discernment if you want to check it out. The IMDB Parents Guide indicates there’s no sexual content in the show, which is usually my deal-breaker, though it does have strong/profane language throughout.
There are a couple of particular elements about this first episode that have me hooked:
- The story begins with the big sci-fi element already established. Rather than walking you through the “protagonist discovers mysterious object” motions, the story starts with this as a given. The couple is already aware of and familiar with the device and take it in stride. That was a refreshing change to the typical way this story would be told.
- The sci-fi plot, at least in the first episode, is almost incidental–not that it’s not important, but the real drama is about the two leads who are grappling with the reality of physical deterioration and mental decline. It’s like a character drama cosplaying as a science fiction story.
- It’s not about young people. Look, I’m only in my early 40’s (no matter how curmudgeonly my writing may seem), but I’m more interested these days in stories about men and women who have lived life and faced challenges–especially stories about marriages that go the distance. The whole world of media revolves around the young and fresh-faced, but it’s all become so boring to me. Give me stories about husbands and wives who stand up to all manner of obstacles and stand together (or struggle to survive). Give me stories about men and women who grapple with the big questions of life and the weight of time passing rather than the fleeting distractions of youth.
The best thing I can say about this first episode of Night Sky is that it makes me want to write fiction again, in a way I haven’t felt in a while. In a personal season where my creativity is very low, feeling that strong drive to tell stories is quite surprising and very welcome.