Written by Sylvia Longmire, Spin the Globe, September 20, 2020
Netflix is on a tear in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I just can’t get enough of new shows to binge watch during my downtime—especially since world travel isn’t exactly a thing right now. I’m a huge space geek, so I was intrigued when I recently saw that one of the top new shows on the streaming platform was about a mission to Mars, called Away. I’m also a fan of Hilary Swank and Josh Charles, who play the two main characters, so I started the binge. What I saw in the first few episodes totally blew my mind—but not for the reason you might think.
You see, one of the main characters becomes disabled at the beginning of the season, and has to start using a wheelchair. Even worse, his spouse is in space on a three-year mission to Mars while he has to care for his teenage daughter at home. What follows in Away is some of the most realistic and authentic representation of disability and wheelchair use I’ve seen, not just on TV, but in the media as a whole. I was lucky enough to spend some time speaking with the show’s creator, Andrew Hinderaker, about how his vision for disability representation in Away grew out of his personal experiences, and what he sees for wheelchair users in media’s future.