How do you make a desperate survival on the edges of space boring? How do you take the question of how we survive as a species past the death of our sun, and means are okay in satisfying that end and make it dull? Somehow Mission Backup Earth finds a way.
In Mission Backup Earth, mankind has decided to solve the problem of the impractical length of any major space voyage by "printing" human beings to man the spacecraft under the guidance of artificial intelligence. Attempts to "print" a fully grown human being have yet to yield results so people must be "printed" as children and raised by the aforementioned A.I. These humans will be spread throughout the galaxy, ensuring that mankind will survive.
This is a great premise for a show. Unfortunately, it isn't something that the show itself seems interested in spending much time on. As well as this plot, we have a story about one of the people behind the “printing technology" trying to escape radiation from our dying sun just as his investor comes to claim the technology. Again, this has the potential for a great story; no one is in a trusting mood but they need each other to survive.
The problem with Mission Backup Earth is how the story is delivered. Each episode isn't very long but it doesn't feel like that time is used wisely. Viewers will leave the series with a basic understanding of what is going on but it feels like too much is either ignored or glossed over. In the first five episodes, we spend only the start of episode one and episode four with the Backup Earth project and the show never manages to mesh the two sides of the story in a way that makes them feel like a single series. As such, what feels like it should be core to the narrative comes across more like a temporary diversion. None of this is helped by putting the prologue explaining how the current circumstances came to be after the third episode.
The flaws in the structure aren't helped by the acting. Aside from a few key moments, it feels like we are seeing a performance but we aren't feeling it; everyone seems kind of subdued. They can often seem bored when they should be angry.
Mission Backup Earth has some interesting ideas but never explores them in the way they deserve to be explored. Thanks to a poor structure and unenthused performances, what should be a thrilling exploration of humanity in space becomes a chore to sit through.
MISSION BACK UP EARTH/ DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: ALEXANDER PFANDER / STARRING: CAPRICE CRAWFORD, ANTHONY STRAEGER, RICHARD BRAY, MARK WINDSOR / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW