A good piece of fiction is alive. It has a personality, a sense of being, and like any living creature, it surprises you. Those living fictions are the ones that reach us and make an impression, often one that surprises us.
This is why I’m reviewing Dogs in Space. Not the 1980’s slice-of-life band move. I’m reviewing the Y7 Netflix series literally about dogs traveling in space to find a new planet for humans. Truth in advertising indeed.
In Dogs in Space, humanity sends genetically uplifted dogs into space to find a replacement for our used-up Earth. The story focuses on excitable be-thumbed Corgi named Garbage, captain to an equally eccentric crew of explorers. Many episodes parody or refer to classic SF tropes, ranging from mildly amusing to laugh-out-loud funny and clever. The pinnacle of these call-outs sees most of the cast turned into puppies and the adorable chaos that genetically enhanced puppies can get into.
Entertaining enough, but these shenanigans take place in a continuing plot and established world. Our canine heroes are just a few of the crew of the giant mothership M-BARK, which boasts an entire city of evolved dogs. Discoveries reveal a larger universe, from powerful aliens aware of Earth to Garbage and company finding another uplifted dog sent on an earlier mission. There’s a living world inside the colorful and cute cartoon tale – one that could easily spawn a game or spinoffs.
Such a detailed world raises troubling questions, and the show is happy to follow these troublesome threads. Each uplifted dog has an owner they pine to return to – but are humans manipulating them? Are humans really worth saving, considering what we did to Earth? Like any good fiction, Dogs in Space will surprise you and make you think – and throws in some surprises.
Dogs in Space holds a funhouse mirror up to SF, but sometimes it holds a mirror up to you and me – while keeping it’s Y7 rating.
This is why it deserved a review because it’s a fun little show that is well done. I’m sure that many of us would enjoy a Y7 show (if only with our kids or young siblings) that had dogs making fun of SF tropes. Instead, the show goes all the way to creating something alive, something good that makes an impression.
I can’t say it’s as good as the Netflix CGI He-Man. The former is a masterclass in redoing a property and good, concise writing and pacing. Dogs in Space is more a good example of bringing an idea to life, even with a few clunky or breezed-over bits.
Plus Dogs in Space has adorable dogs doing everything from piloting robots to pulling heists on alien space stations. It’s just much more than that, its a piece of fiction that comes alive, and that warrants a review.