Not even Sam Neill can save us from another sci-fi lost opportunity from Apple TV.

Big budget Apple TV series Invasion certainly opens with a bang.

In a Yemeni desert, a camel driver sees something mysterious crash land to Earth. But before he can understand what’s happened it explodes before him…

From there Invasion is pretty much downhill.

What could have been great popcorn fun has crash-landed with a dull thud. There’s a lot of money spent on this story, which takes place across Oklahoma, Long Island, Japan and space itself.

Disparate plots are connected only by the strange doings from the sky. You know the drill, whether in War of the Worlds or Independence Day, they have come from beyond and small folk are left to face the threat.

In Invasion, by writers Simon Kinberg (X-Men, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Sherlock Holmes) and David Weil (Hunters), Sam Neill shoulders some of the crime-busting, as local Sheriff on his retirement day (always a cliché, when trouble comes a-callin’).

Even though John Bell Tyson (Neill) is a religious man, even he can’t conceive what strange crop circles mean, nor the locusts that follow in waves. Biblical stuff indeed.

Then there’s devoted mum Aneesha (Golshifteh Farahani) whose day is upturned when all the kids at school get unexplained nosebleeds, except her (gifted?) son, but whose domestic life gets a lot worse thanks to selfish hubby Ahmed (Firas Nassar).

Meanwhile over in Japan, aerospace engineer Mitsuki (Shioli Kutsuna) is parted from astronaut girlfriend (Rinko Kikuchi) who heads off to the International Space Station. Just because.

Occasionally -very- the ground shakes, the power is sucked into a vortex and we are fleetingly reminded, oh yeah, this is a sci-fi.

But the energy is equally zapped out of this chore with scenes that drag on, and pacing that resembles a deep sleep. If only the aliens would invade a little faster than director Jakob Verbruggen can muster.

Poor Sam Neill is subjected to a whispering drawl of a sheriff here, unable to rescue the material which amounts to a lost opportunity for Apple TV -and the second of two recent sci-fi series (Foundation being the other) that disappoints.

Another complaint can be levelled at the degree of darkness pervading multiple scenes. Surely we have to see what’s going on in order to be bored by it?

I was ready to be invaded, but I think I’d rather watch the 2005 Invasion created by Shaun Cassidy, with William Fichtner as a sheriff. Sure, it was no oil painting, but at least they learned how to write to commercial breaks.

Invasion is now screening on Apple TV+.

9 Responses

  1. It’s probably a bit early after only 3 episodes to offer a full appraisal of ‘Invasion’, but so far it’s taking its sweet time developing any memorable highlights. Sam Neill will for many viewers be one of those highlights and perhaps the whole series could have just featured him, instead the viewer is shifted around the Earth from one story thread to another which can be distracting. The standard of acting differs from movie standard (Neill) to formulaic US serial drama in style, each main character is linked by a slowly developing extraterrestrial presence which will (hopefully) reach a ‘War of the Worlds’ peak at some point. ‘Invasion’ does give every indication of having more than one season planned but these dystopian Apocalypse genres can be prone to failure if the story doesn’t follow common genre themes expected by sci-fi fans, CGI can only carry a sci-fi show so far the story always is the most important reason for a sci-fi movie or TV shows ultimate success.

  2. I think Foundation is amazing, it’s a slow burn but oh how it burns 🙂

    Morning Wars is still a cracker of a series and how far they are pushing its limits with its amazing writing and star performances is up for more awards this year

      1. thanks for your reply, made me go back to look, it seems I missed the first episode completely, only watched 2 and 3…have watched the first one now and it all makes more sense and yes I saw Sam Neill !!

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