My favorite show of 2023 is getting a second chance at alien life on Netflix

There's good news and bad news. The bad news is that Scavengers Reign, the wildly imaginative sci-fi animated series that is basically an alien nature documentary with humans screwing it all up, has been canceled after a single season on Max. The good news is that Netflix is bringing the first season to its streaming service on May 31 – and could reportedly pick it up for a second.

And I cannot recommend highly enough that you check it out on Netflix when it does. I don't put much stock in the idea that watching a show on these services can directly influence decisions made at the top of the heap given the number of factors at play, but it also can't hurt. And I do hope it manages a second season as despite being a relatively obscure animated show previously tucked away on a streamer that consistently struggles to find purchase, Scavengers Reign is far and away my favorite show of 2023.

That might not have come across given, in classic journalism fashion, my relatively neutral tone when covering the show last year. But don't let that fool you; I had to restrain myself from telling several of the creators of the show just how much I loved it during my interview. In fact, given the current tenuous fate of the show, I somewhat wish I'd been more forthcoming to them as they genuinely deserve to know it really connected with some folks – myself included.

Second nature

Scavengers Reign poster featuring a strange alien tree and two humans

(Image credit: Max)

If not familiar at all, Scavengers Reign was co-created by Joseph Bennett and Charles Huettner following their 2016 animated short film "Scavengers." The full show, which consists of 12 episodes in its first season, follows different survivors stranded on an alien planet after their space freighter is damaged. In order to survive and escape a world that was never designed with them in mind, they must learn and adapt or die.

I think the whole show is about when you're faced with the unknown, do you let the unknown change you?

It's certainly not the first time a sci-fi show has grappled with similar material, but the way in which Scavengers Reign engages with the same themes is distinct and deliberate without ever really fully revealing its hand. It can be quiet and introspective and it can be bombastic and frenetic. It feels rare to find a show that effectively does both as well as everything between the two extremes.

"I think the whole show is about when you're faced with the unknown, do you let the unknown change you?" said Benjy Brooke, supervising director on Scavengers Reign, back when I interviewed him prior to its initial launch on Max. "Or do you fight against that? And what happens to you when you fight against change is something catastrophic, generally."

Scavengers Reign screenshot features a character staring in horror at the camera

(Image credit: Max)

In some ways, given the above, it almost makes perfect sense that Scavengers Reign would be canceled by Max after a single season. It makes sense that it would be forced from its original home to try and find some potential future elsewhere – to embrace change rather than fight against it. It makes sense that this would be an ordeal, defined by unclear variables and metrics that aren't really fully under its control.

I struggle sometimes to convey why, exactly, people should watch Scavengers Reign. In part, the show resists simple descriptions. But when you take into account what can still be explained, I hesitate to reveal those details outside the confines of the lovely piece of work they exist within. I'm not sure I believe that spoiling plots actually ruins the experience, like so many might argue, but I can say for certain that any description I offer of, say, a sunrise will largely pale in comparison to the real thing.

All this to say: watch Scavengers Reign. Let it change you. Don't take my word for it; see the sunrise for yourself.

If you can't wait for Scavengers Reign to hit its new streaming home, you can always check out some of the other best Netflix shows.

Rollin Bishop
US Managing Editor

Rollin is the US Managing Editor at GamesRadar+. With over 16 years of online journalism experience, Rollin has helped provide coverage of gaming and entertainment for brands like IGN, Inverse,, and more. While he has approximate knowledge of many things, his work often has a focus on RPGs and animation in addition to franchises like Pokemon and Dragon Age. In his spare time, Rollin likes to import Valkyria Chronicles merch and watch anime.