As NASA continues to explore the possibility of extraterrestrial life and exoplanets beyond our universe, who knows what lies beyond our solar system? The latest Netflix miniseries, “Alien Worlds,” narrated by Sophie Okonedo (“Ratched”), is documentary-meets-science-fiction, capturing a detailed exposé of alternative life on other planets that may or may not exist.
With its use of computer-animated effects, “Alien Worlds” explores a range of fictionalized worlds and their living capabilities using the laws of Earth. Within four episodes, the miniseries manages to introduce us to alien-like creatures and plant life on exoplanets Atlas, Janus, Eden and Terra, comparing the detailed evolution of life to that here on Earth. The first episode launches us onto the dense exoplanet of Atlas containing half-fish, half-bird creatures called “grazers” that defy gravity, unable to ever touch the ground. Exoplanet Eden is rich with energy and has a year’s wait for a full day to pass, but illustrates the relationship between plant life, carnivores and herbivores, including a freakish six-armed monkey. Further, Terra is an exoplanet with a high potential for alien intelligence.
The series constructs a sense of awe while staying informative at the same time. It’s very futuristic, yet makes sure to stay within the realms of the modern-day Earth while exuding excitement about unknown worlds. Although these environments are nonexistent in real-time, it’s remarkable how the show is able to provide a basis of support from professionals as a way to assist its hypotheses. For example, astronomer Adam Frank takes viewers to Area 51 and details why aliens have yet to be discovered — simply because we haven’t searched enough in the large magnitude that is space.
It makes one think, are these exoplanets really fictional? Over the years, NASA has stumbled upon a multitude of planets outside of our universe. In January, an Earth-sized planet named TOI 700 was discovered containing half the temperature of the sun. Although it was found in the habitable zone, it is not suited for life. Yet. Since then, there has been video footage from the Navy released by the Department of Defense of aerial phenomena.
Alien life on unknown planets has been a hot topic for decades. The alien science-fiction genre only tends to focus on our interest in extraterrestrial life, other than the planets that may produce them. Either way, the potential of other lifeforms existing in parallel to humans on Earth may be scary to think about. But, it’s important that we carry this ‘what-if’ to the surface. It opens the mind to the bigger picture and the meaning of life in its entirety. Studying other life-bearing planets may be beneficial to our own understanding of the way we live and have been living since the beginning of time.
“Alien Worlds” brings us into the world of make-believe. A different world with creatures and inhabitants that may act the same, only with different features. The exhibition displays that we, of course, are not the only species to live on a planet. This idea is not far-fetched, and it’s close-minded to think otherwise. Considering the way 2020 has proven how detrimental humanity is to its own kind here on Earth, finding other planets with the possibility of life doesn’t seem too bad. Space is endless. It’s a beautiful, yet terrifying thing to consider.
Daily Arts Writer Jessica Curney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.