Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Robb Stark Is a Space Priest in Amazon's Promising Pilot Oasis

All Images: Amazon
All Images: Amazon

It’s pilot season, and Amazon is again asking viewers to suggest which of their shows should move forward this year. One of them is Oasis, a scifi drama about a chaplain who helps bring religion to a dying space colony. Also, God might be there. Or aliens. Or both. It’s kind of hard to tell at this point.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Robb Stark Is a Space Priest in Amazons Promising Pilot iOasis/i

Oasis stars Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden as Peter, a priest with a past who’s asked to travel to Oasis, a distant space colony that’s supposed to be humanity’s last hope (in 25 years, our entire planet’s gonna go to shit... so we all have that to look forward to). The corporate-sponsored colony is presented as a sustainable utopia for the 1%, an Elysium-type paradise that’s also proudly free of religion. Only problem is, Oasis is far from perfect. The crops are dying, the station’s leader has vanished, and oh... people keep oddly killing themselves like they forgot The Happening sucked.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Robb Stark Is a Space Priest in Amazons Promising Pilot iOasis/i

As Peter grows accustomed to his new life on Oasis, along with his dyslexic botanist buddy played by Haley Joel Osment, he grows more worried that something truly strange is going on. Colonists keep having visions of people and animals close to them, leading them to hurt or even kill themselves. This episode’s victim is Mark Addy, who previously shared screen time with Madden as Robert Baratheon on Game of Thrones. His death came after an emotional confessional scene between Addy and Madden, easily the best in the episode because those two can act circles around everything else. Then, he walked into a drill, and I was pissed. Dammit, another Baratheon gone too soon.

The pilot ends with more questions than answers. The interim station manager has seized command, Peter’s having visions of his dead wife, and no one’s explained what’s actually in the “Turkey Surprise.” It’s obvious something metaphysical is going on, but right now there’s no way of knowing who or what it actually is. At this point, it’s unclear how much Oasis will even follow the plot of The Book of Strange New Things, the 2014 novel it’s based on, which was about a preacher teaching aliens about Christianity.

Illustration for article titled Robb Stark Is a Space Priest in Amazons Promising Pilot iOasis/i
Advertisement

The Oasis pilot has its flaws, as most pilots do, but it shows a lot of potential. It’s directed by Kevin MacDonald, who previously did The Last King of Scotland and 11.22.63, and it’s fantastically put together. The whole planet looks dangerous and foreboding, and MacDonald really makes you feel lost in space, but the limited sets of the inner colony do get repetitive. Madden sells every scene he’s in, giving Peter a lot of depth and sincerity, but most of the other colonists need more character development. They’re kind of two-dimensional stick figures at this point. Plus, and this is a minor nitpick, the score sounds like it was ripped straight out of Mass Effect... and even that soundtrack was inspired by other futuristic works.

Illustration for article titled Robb Stark Is a Space Priest in Amazons Promising Pilot iOasis/i
Advertisement

Still, I definitely recommend checking Oasis out and sharing your thoughts with Amazon. Given the positive reception so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets picked up for a season, and I’d be excited to see what they do with the show. I love seeing scifi stories that examine the relationship between faith and science, from Shepherd Book on Firefly to Netflix’s show The OA. On Sunday, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on one of Amazon’s other intriguing pilots, the vigilante comedy The Legend of Master Legend.

Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

I gave this one 3/5, not sure if I’d bother to see the series. They might have flubbed casting Madden as the lead. The “space priest” is a very interior character and needs someone with a very strong presence to overcome the fact that he isn’t going to be an action hero type lead.

He reminds me of Holden on The Expanse - even looks the same - but Holden has the advantage of an action-packed role, so the blandness of the actor isn’t as big an issue there.

Some of the other actors are okay. Haley Joel Osment seems like he’ll make a good comic-relief sort of character. Michael James Shaw (the black guy haunted by his father) had a very strong screen presence. Maybe he should have been cast as the lead. The woman cop was rather stiff. Anil Kapoor’s acting style might be too “Bollywood”(mannered and overt) to fit in with this naturalistic story.

Moral of the story (same for Iron Fist): just because some actor lucks out and gets a role on Game of Thrones does not mean they can headline a series. GoT characters are written to be so compelling that a lot of actors could make those characters work. Put those actors in a trickier part that’s maybe not so interesting, but is more crucial to the series, then the cracks start to show.