A GIRL AND AN ASTRONAUT. A failure of cosmic proportions [Review]
Bartek Prokopowicz’s series A Girl and an Astronaut promised to be a real firecracker, not only with an excellent cast and an impressive budget for Polish realities, but above all with a fresh, and so far alien to domestic productions, plot concept based primarily on … space. Well, if you were like me, hoping for a tense, solid sci-fi series, then I advise you to change your plans as soon as possible. In addition to a thoroughly theatrical romance novel, a few nice shots and a refined set design, which try to make up for the deplorable state of the script throughout the entire 6 episodes, you won’t get anything else here.
30 years in a dream
Even if, after watching the first suspenseful scenes, we were getting ready for an original, groundbreaking story on the Polish small screen, the creators get us out of this error as soon as possible, putting all their efforts into the narration of the main romantic thread, because that’s what the plot of the production ultimately boils down to. Two F-16 pilots Niko (Jędrzej Hycnar) and Bogdan (Jakub Sasak/Andrzej Chyra) are only seemingly devoted and loyal friends. When feelings for the same girl are involved, all their previous male solidarity is forgotten, and all that matters is who succeeds and wins Marta (Vanessa Aleksander/Magdalena Cielecka) for themselves. The latter, in turn, does not mind deceiving both men – but she is aware that soon she will have to decide which of them will be her chosen one for longer. Fuel to the fire is added by the fact that, in addition to competing for Marta’s heart, the men fight among themselves for participation in a project in which one of them will fly into space. Already in the first minutes we learn that this lucky man turned out to be Niko, lucky with a grain of salt, because his mission ended tragically – the pilot was hibernated for 30 years, while his beloved and relatives were convinced that he was dead. So we move to 2052, when the boy unexpectedly wakes up from lethargy, and 50-year-old Marta abandons her entire life to see the cosmonaut buried in memories from years ago.
Science fiction, but only on paper
If the entire cosmic concept were taken out of the series, which summa summarum only ridicules the creators who label their work as science fiction, the main intention of the production would not undergo turbulence. Because from the very beginning we realize what we will really get – a cheap melodrama, lined with pretty pictures, pretty faces and really impressive special effects, even in exceptionally well-made scenes in the air. None of the mentioned pluses, however, overshadow the embarrassing message of the script, which provides us with plenty of opportunities for goosebumps. The love triangle of the main characters is one of the most unreal emotional representations you will see in Polish productions in recent years. The characters, written through stereotypes and predictability, do not represent anything revealing and, at the same time, anything real and worth believing – their characters do not evolve, we judge them through the prism of schematics and square, sometimes flat and derogatory objectifying dialogues. The scenario of A Girl and an Astronaut is the very tip of the iceberg of the untapped potential of history. It begins with hope and panache, and the further it gets, the more it is treated with care and without any surprises, and ends with one of the stupidest and laughable treatments we could hope for. And what hurts the most in all of this is the absurd inconsistency of the actions we get in the finale compared to Marta’s intentions and desires, which we were told throughout all six episodes. But what the hell, let the surprise triumph – it’s a pity that it’s so grotesque and completely inexplicable.
A contemporary romance?
It’s neither romance, nor fantasy, and it’s especially fun to call the A Girl and an Astronaut a science fiction series. The creators forcefully try to draw inspiration from foreign hits, but they come out worse than bad – the thought of an absolutely wasted, unnecessary plot of the character of Grzegorz Damięcki, a brute, whom the young partner takes care of as an ailing senior connected to a machine straight from Star Wars reminds me what really went wrong here. In short – everything in which the creators tried to be original was covered with what may no longer smell like new, but it will certainly wear out, because I am 100% sure about the commercial success of A Girl and an Astronaut. An encouraging promotional campaign based on the theme of the presented world, where a machine does everything for a human, and technology has taken over virtually every area of life. But is it worth spending 6 hours on a melodramatic mush of a thousand times ground clichés that we have heard, seen and laughed at so many times before? A Girl and an Astronaut is actually a cosmic failure and another title of Polish Netflix, which, due to the large number of promising announcements and the great pre-release halo, leaves us with a sense of insufficiency, but also a bit of shame for another missed opportunity to create something worthwhile.
A melodrama based on Harlequins, which is only temporarily covered with a cover of space and technological goodies, is not your dream way to spend your free time. And I definitely do not encourage you to say this thesis I check.