Houston, we have a problem. What to watch this week? Well Apple TV+ have arrived with Invasion – an astronomical hit or a waste of space? Let’s find out.
This is an alien invasion story like no other, with an eye-wateringly high budget (classic Apple TV+) and a huge plot which takes us all around the world (and even into space) and deep into multiple, fully formed characters’ lives. The whole alien part is the icing on the cake to a narrative which already has legs-eleven.
Invasion’s primary selling point is its global perspective, a notion seconded by Dan Einav in the Financial Times who says its “approach of narrating planetary disaster through the perspectives of people from various countries, and not just the US, is a welcome one.” This results in what The Telegraph’s Benji Wilson calls “awe-inspiring, death-defying, thought-provoking and horizon-widening” TV – we’re sold.
However, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns – or comet showers and UFOs. The series has its own issues, typically in its out-of-this-world expansiveness. Occasionally, a TV show can be too big for its own good, and in Invasion, the fatal flaw is that “there are so many storylines you’ll feel lost in space”, as Wilson points out. The show is chock-a-block with plot and character progression, not to mention the rather large plot point of an alien invasion. “The problem is that bigness again”, Wilson says, “Invasion takes hours, literally, to get to the invasion”.
And it’s a notion that The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan agrees with, criticising the emphasis on the characters and admitting that “it could be thrilling – if only something would happen”, warning that “Invasion is a slow burn that threatens to become simply slow”.
But, just like the earth’s rotation, the release of this show really made our day.
First shown October 2021.