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Night Sky Features Remarkable Performances, But Struggles With the Sci-Fi Mystery: Review

The Prime Video sci-fi mystery gives viewers a lot of pieces to play with, but the puzzle is intentionally unclear

Night Sky Review Amazon
Night Sky (Amazon Prime Video)
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    The Pitch: Not to be confused with that other recently debuted Prime Video Original about a mysterious hole on an older couple’s property which might or might not be a portal to another world, Night Sky stars Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons as Irene and Franklin York, a retired couple living alone in a big old house in Farnsworth*, Illinois who have spent the last twenty years occasionally traveling, by way of a seemingly ancient chamber hidden under their garden shed, to a cozy, glass-walled bubble overlooking an alien planet.

    Private people as a rule, the pilot establishes early that the Yorks have never felt particularly interested in sharing their discovery with the world. However, now that they’re getting old enough to both worry about each other and be worried about by their Chicago-based granddaughter, Denise (Kiah McKirnan), the question of what they should actually do about the chamber is finally on the table.

    So this is where Night Sky starts, with Denise cornering Frank at their favorite breakfast joint to suggest he and Irene consider moving out of their house, and Irene hitting a wall of just needing to know why the bubble chose them. Unfortunately, what should be a family conversation is confounded first by the terminal nosiness of the Yorks’ new neighbor, Byron (Adam Bartley), who’s taken to spying on them as they trundle back and forth from their shed in the middle of the night, and second by the arrival of a mysterious young man named Jude (Chai Hansen).

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    Meanwhile, on a remote llama farm in southern Argentina, a single mom named Stella (Julieta Zylberberg) and her fifteen-year-old daughter Toni (Rocío Hernández) are at loggerheads over an ancestral legacy whose inexplicable restrictions have turned Toni into a friendless pariah. Little does Toni know, her mom has an endless number of inexplicable moves yet to make.

    Through the Looking Glass: For all that the elevator pitch of Night Sky, created by musician,  first-time showrunner, and Dennis Miller’s son Holden Miller, orbits around a mysterious portal to the stars, the stories it cares most deeply about are one hundred percent terrestrial.

    Like, sure, the Yorks may take fortnightly trips to another planet to sip tea and “look at the stars.” But as a retired couple in their seventies whose only living relative seems to be a twentysomething granddaughter finishing up her MBA in Chicago, basic questions like 1) how they’re going to fill out their social calendar now that so many of their friends are functionally gone from the world, 2) what they’re going to do about their terminally nosy neighbor, and 3) oh, right, how much longer they can remain independent before disaster strikes, present much more pressing concerns.

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    night sky jk simmons sissy spacek 2 Night Sky Features Remarkable Performances, But Struggles With the Sci Fi Mystery: Review

    Night Sky (Amazon Prime Video)

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