Invasion Review – A Languid Extraterrestrial Arrival on Apple TV+

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Amid the current frenzy caused by shows like Squid Game that skillfully exploit our collective anxieties, Invasion (Apple TV+) arrives as a refreshing counterpoint. This 10-part series, centered on an alien incursion on Earth, takes a notably subdued approach to its global takeover narrative, leaving much to be desired in terms of actual events.

The story initiates conventionally enough, with an enigmatic object plummeting from the sky and crashing dramatically in a remote region (the Arabian desert in this case). A lone traveler witnesses the unusual phenomenon, and his curiosity leads him to a fatal encounter. The series boasts sporadically engaging special effects, although they are sparingly distributed, typically limited to one per episode.

However, this is where the momentum stalls, and the narrative languishes for a considerable duration. The show spans the globe (presumably accounting for a significant chunk of its rumored $200 million budget) to introduce various characters. These include an Oklahoma sheriff (Sam Neill) on the cusp of retirement, tasked with locating two men who vanished concurrently with the appearance of a crop circle-like depression in a local cornfield. There’s also a Long Island couple with two children, whose home stands untouched amid the wreckage of their obliterated neighborhood, a young schoolboy contending with a bully in London, and a group of schoolchildren who face adversity during a meteor shower-induced accident.

Additional storylines unfold, such as that of an aerospace engineer in Tokyo determined to unravel the mystery behind the unexplained destruction of her partner’s Japanese shuttle, and an American soldier in Afghanistan, grappling with the disappearance of his squadron and a peculiar encounter that constitutes the second major visual effect of the season.

Throughout the series, power disruptions and collective nosebleeds plague humanity. Tremors and disturbances unsettle the surroundings, while communication networks falter. The pervasive but mild sense of peril might provide an oddly comforting contrast to viewers transitioning from the intensity of shows like Squid Game or the real-world challenges of 2021. The impending invasion, although initially ambiguous, eventually takes a back seat to the personal stories of the characters. Sheriff Tyson seeks to give purpose to his ordinary career, engineer Mitsuki (Shioli Kutsana) contends with prejudice in both her professional and personal life, and the group of stranded children evolves into a microcosm of society’s complexities. The seemingly content married couple harbors hidden struggles, and the American soldier battles not only confusion but a crumbling grip on reality.

The series, viewed through a discerning lens, endeavors to infuse a familiar trope with innovative elements. Creators Simon Kinberg and David Weil appear eager to draw parallels with contemporary issues, such as the disintegration of families mirroring the plight of refugees, and an invader experiencing the other side of conquest. Yet, Invasion’s deliberate pacing, while attempting to be refreshing, verges on tedium.

In conclusion, Invasion presents a deliberate departure from the norm, although it risks becoming ensnared in its own leisurely narrative. While Squid Game captures global attention with its pulse-pounding intensity, Invasion opts for a more contemplative approach, testing the patience of its audience.