Why HBO Max’s Sci-Fi Drama ‘Raised by Wolves’ Is Just Like ‘Little House on the Prairie’

“You see explicitly the kinds of struggles that parents go through,” says executive producer David Zucker

You would never think that HBO Max’s upcoming sci-fi drama “Raised by Wolves” would draw its inspiration from an old NBC series about life on a prairie, but that’s exactly how it was conceived.

Executive producer David Zucker, during Wednesday’s virtual CTAM press tour panel promoting the upcoming Ridley Scott-produced drama, described the series as “‘Little House on the Prairie’ on another planet.”

“Little House on the Prairie,” based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiographical book of the same name, centers on a family living on a very rural Minnesota farm. That remote setting is very similar to the ones that the Androids and their human children find themselves considering they’re on an uninhabited planet.

The 10-episode show is centered on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious, virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task. The challenges that the two Androids deal with as “Mother” and “Father” of a new human race are not that different than what Charles and Caroline Ingalls faced during the 10-year run of “Little House.”

“You see explicitly the kinds of struggles that parents go through, in terms of how to negotiate, how to collaborate, how to align, where trust — where fissures of trust may come — where children identify with one parent more than the other, may work one parent against the other,” Zucker explains. “All of those dynamics are so recognizable and immediate and very dynamic to the conflicts in this story.”

Creator and showrunner Aaron Guzikowski also draws a straight line from the premise of the show — kids raised by literal Androids — to current parents using technology like iPads and other devices to keep their kids distracted during the pandemic era.

“You can give a kid an electronic device, and it will serve as sort of a babysitter for a time and there is something that’s easy and comforting about that. And then, you know, slightly disturbing, if off-putting, about that as well,” Guzikowski says. “I think this just kind of takes that to the next level.”

Guzikowski adds: “They don’t even know what a real adult human looks like, you know, their only thing to look up to is this Android, which can be confusing. But, um, but it certainly raises a lot of, uh, you know, fascinating questions just for me as a parent that I find myself asking all the time.”