Invasion review: Sci-fi series builds momentum but lacks thrill

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Invasion on Apple TV Plus

Invasion features several enthralling performances but is slow-paced (Picture: Apple TV Plus)

Invasion, the latest sci-fi release from Apple TV Plus, has an intriguing premise and builds momentum throughout the series, but is plagued by a slow-burning plot that lacks the thrill that audiences might expect.

Co-created by Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg and Hunters writer David Weil, Invasion is about an alien invasion that appears to occur out of nowhere on Earth, with the show telling the tale from the perspectives of different people around the world.

We have Sam Neill as American Sheriff John Bell Tyson, Shamier Anderson as Afghanistan-based US soldier Trevante Ward, Golshifteh Farahani as medically-trained mother-of-two Aneesha Malik, Shioli Kutsuna as JASA communications specialist Mitsuki Yamato and Billy Barratt as shy schoolboy Casper Morrow, all of whom seem to be leading completely disparate lives.

While some of the characters have firsthand encounters with the aliens early on in the series, others are left to grapple with the aftermath of the invasion as society quickly descends into chaos, with modern technology failing and confusion running rampant across the globe.

At the start of the show, you can’t help but feel as though you’re supposed to already feel really invested in the personal lives of the main characters straight away.

However, rather than sympathise with the tribulations of a rocky marriage or a man questioning his life’s work, there’ll only be one question on your mind – when are we going to get to the nitty gritty of the alien action?

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Golshifteh Farahani in Invasion

Aneesha Malik discovers some harsh truths while keeping her family safe (Picture: Apple TV Plus)

The show does become more suspenseful as time goes on and there are some truly thrilling, horror-worthy sequences that viewers will enjoy.

Nonetheless, they are too few and far between, leaving the sense that some of the best action moments could be being saved for a second season.

One can’t help but notice parallels between Invasion and other futuristic releases, with Arrival and The Matrix being the main two that spring to mind.

Being compared to two of the greatest sci-fi films ever made (in my humble opinion) leaves an extremely tough act to follow, and Invasion – despite having its enjoyable and gripping moments – can’t quite reach the same bar.

Billy Barratt in Invasion

Casper pulls at the heartstrings as he and his classmates face disaster (Picture: Apple TV Plus)

Although several questions concerning the extraterrestrial beings at the core of the show frustratingly remain unanswered, one of the main draws of Invasion is several absolutely stellar performances, with Casper actor Billy showcasing talent far beyond his 13 years.

Casper manages to keep his head held high despite experiencing a torrent of hurt in his young life, with Billy masterfully demonstrating the schoolboy’s vulnerability and hidden strength.

Another storyline that pulls at the heartstrips is that of JASA worker Mitsuki, who’s overseeing an expedition to space of three astronauts.

Although she doesn’t give much away at first with her confident, unfazed facade, Mitsuki’s personal connection to the space mission is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking.

Shioli Kutsuna in Invasion

Mitsuki has a special connection to the space expedition (Picture: Apple TV Plus)

Verdict on Invasion

As far as sci-fi series go, Invasion is one that does move at a fairly slow pace considering the subject matter.

A healthy dose of mystery is always welcome, with some of the mysteries in the drama feeling like they’ll have great payoffs in a second season.

However, others remain unnecessarily vague when they could have been resolved within the 10-episode arc.

The strength of Invasion lies predominantly in the strong performances of its cast, several of whom are magnetic on the screen.

Despite its drawbacks, I am personally intrigued to find out where Invasion could lead in a subsequent season. Whether other viewers are as patient is the question.

Invasion is available to stream on Apple TV Plus.

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