Review by Dan Skip Allen
Sci-fi shows have been popping up on a lot of streaming services and cable outlets. Prime Video has just dropped a sci-fi western Outer Range. Netflix has released too many to mention here. Prime is up again with Night Sky. It's better than Outer Range, but not by much. These sci-fi shows' creators have great ideas, but they have difficulty executing their master plan.
J.K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek play an elderly couple who, at first glance, seem happy and content with their lives in rural Illinois... until they decide to take a look at the stars. They have a secret they haven't told anyone about. A secret bunker in their shed takes them to a room where they can look out at the stars and a planet from what looks like another planet. It's a portal to a far-off world in the stars.
This show has some other things going on with it that are hard to describe involving Argentina and a secret society of people sworn to protect and hide various other portals around the globe. The story has some fascinating plot points. The characters throughout the series are interesting to follow along with, but some of their storylines are wasted. A lost drifter with amnesia in the show had some potential.
The writer, Holden Miller, weaved in some interesting ideas into this series, but none of them took off. The series looks very good as well. The series is frequently shot at night, but the lighting and cinematography still make the show look good. The show also has a nice score to listen to. Dramatic beats and melancholy notes follow each other very swiftly. The technical aspects of the series are very good indeed.
Any good series or show is only as good as its leading actors. This one has two of the best in Academy Award Winners, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) and Sissy Spacek (Coal Miner's Daughter). They are very good opposite each other. They play off each other nicely like a couple married for decades. They have quoibles and idiosyncratic behavior that only they can stand and know about, making them an ideal duo. I enjoyed them in these roles.
Night Sky has a solid premise with some fascinating ideas that don't land fully on its feet. It has characters with story beats that go nowhere and other characters that are inexplicably useless in the overall context of the series. The series looks and sounds very good from a technical standpoint. The showrunner and writer do an admirable job trying to make this show engaging and exciting, but it falls short of greatness.
Night Sky streams on Prime Video beginning May 20.