We’d Be Lying If We Told You ‘Away’ and ‘Stranger Things’ Have Nothing in Common
Netflix shows are joined by a bond that goes far beyond the shared streaming platform. People who tune in to the service’s original content will often find that actors who appear in one project appear in several others put out by the streaming giant. This stretches to off the camera, too. With Netflix’s new series, Away, it hopes to have a new success as big as Stranger Things. To invoke this, they went to the same people to help design the show’s galactic look.
What is Away?
Netflix’s newest high-budget series is not about 1980s nostalgia, the inner workings of Washington DC, or a ring of tiger enthusiasts. Instead, it is about the crew of the first human-crewed mission to Mars. The series is not the typical sci-fi fare that one might expect in 2020. Instead of being about intergalactic warfare or a galaxy far away, it is about the astronauts’ home life who embark on the three-year journey.
To lead off the ambitious project, producers cast Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank as Emma Green, the mission commander. Green has to manage motherhood from millions of miles away. However, the film is not just about the mission to Mars, but the events that led Green and the rest of the crew to drop everything and explore the realm of outer space in ways that no person had ever done before.
More The Martian than Mars Attacks, Away hopes to capture the emotional burden of those who are forced to leave their families in the name of science and the greater good. However, just because the show is of a different genre than Netflix’s hit Stranger Things, it does not mean that they can’t look toward the latter for some inspiration.
Staying in the family
People who work behind the scenes often fall into the wayside if they aren’t the director or producer. Although costume design can make or break a film’s entire aesthetic, casual viewers might not realize how important they are to the production. For Stranger Things, many have lauded the production design and how the makers nail the aesthetic. Kimberly Adams was among these people.
Adams helped to design the space costumes seen in Stranger Things. It must have worked. When Netflix began planning Away, they called upon Adams to bring her magic to a different type of science fiction. Instead of the pulpy nods to pop culture, however, this time they wanted something real. Adams spoke about the need to keep it realistic while adding their designs.
“We had to recreate the space agency logos, even NASA’s, because you aren’t allowed to use that,” Adams said in an interview (per Collect Space). “David [Sandefur, production designer] developed something that was just a little bit different, and he did the same thing with the other space agencies as well.”
Unable to secure the rights to official NASA branding, the makers decided to use the type of aesthetic they use while bringing it into a future that is just out of our current reach.
“From the very beginning, from our first walk on the moon, astronauts have been part of the design process,” Adams said. “They’re not the ones that physically sketch it out, but they come up with the elements that are important to their mission and to the work they’re doing to ensure that those components are reflected in their patches.”
Ready for lift-off
Away is already a massive hit, and the work of Adams, Sandefur, and the rest of the crew is a major reason. Adams proves that costume designers aren’t just pigeon-holed into one aesthetic or genre. They have to adjust to whatever the new project is. The series was the number one program on the streaming service for much of its first week.
Next time somebody watches a show like Away, they can thank the names they don’t know for helping make an idea reality. Adams did this, and it is paying off in dividends. Now, one can only ask what’s coming next.