Scavengers Reign

Scavengers Reign

TV-MA

hbo max

A gripping animated sci-fi mystery series for adults that brims over with imagination

The Very Best

8.0

TV Show

United States of America
English
Animation, Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
2023
Alia Shawkat, Bob Stephenson, Sunita Mani

TLDR

So many freaky little guys in this.

What it's about

When interstellar freight ship the Demeter crash-lands on an alien planet, its scattered crew of five humans and a robot must find a way to survive in this strange new world and make it back home.

The take

“World-building” doesn’t quite capture what Scavengers Reign does — the sheer imagination on display in just the first three episodes of this 12-part adult animation sci-fi could fill multiple universes. From the get-go, we’re immersed in a truly strange new world, one in which panda-like creatures with telepathic abilities control humans, fungi merge with motherboards, and plant-animal hybrids crackle with electricity. All this trippiness is rendered in a 2D animation style that appropriately draws on the fantastical art of Moebius (who in turn influenced Studio Ghibli). 

Flashbacks and hallucinations gradually unravel the mystery of just how the crew of the Demeter and their robot assistant Levi (Alia Shawkat) ended up here — a grounding plot thread that keeps things from totally spinning out into mind-bendingly surreal territory. Not just an exercise in stretching creativity in bold new directions, then, but a gripping mystery laying bare the terrifying limitlessness of the cosmos.

What stands out

So much of what we see on this mysterious planet verges on horror — a la Annihilation's otherworldly terrors — but what makes Scavengers Reign that much more compelling is that it also finds a sense of reverence for its freaky flora and fauna. The full terror and wonder of nature is on display here, with the show invoking awe at the unlikely ways the creatures find harmony as often as it does disgust at their freakish designs. Quite a feat to contain such multitudes in episodes just 25 minutes long.

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