Invasion review: Apple’s epic sci-fi version of This Is Us with aliens

Although there are many ways you can envision what it would be like to make contact with intelligent aliens, the TV show Sci-Fi has the answer. Invasion, it’s worth remembering that there’s a non-zero chance that we would be more interested in extraterrestrial visitors than they would be in us.

Apple TV Plus’ new series on alien invasions, which debuts October 22, will be available to viewers. Since it’s on the same streaming platform as grand science fiction epics like Foundation Look!, it’s understandable to presume that InvasionA similar color would apply: Widescreen cinema spectacle, showing wild new sightings on a regular basis. Invasion doesn’t entirely lack that dynamic, but the first five episodes — the ones offered to critics for advance screening — are devoted to something else entirely. These episodes are about a collection of intimate, small dramas happening around the globe, and the moment when we realize we’re not the only ones.

An alien-invasion show that doesn’t actually feature a whole lot of aliens upfront may seem frustrating, so it’s worthwhile to go into Invasion with a little bit of insight about what it’s doing. InvasionThe story is told through the eyes of five individuals around the globe as the aliens arrive violently on Earth to unknown ends. They’re only shown in glimpses, so it’s impossible to parse what they are from any one episode; the only thing that’s certain is that humanity is in their way.

It’s a take that treats first contact as more of a natural disaster than an all-out war, and the majority of the characters followed are not in a position of power where they can learn about or engage with these beings. Instead, they’re normal people, frustrated with or worried about each other in small, mundane ways. Take away the aliens, and what’s left is essentially the sprawling network family drama series This is Us

The aliens have already made it difficult for each of the characters. Sheriff John Bell Tyson (Sam Neill) is about to retire from his small Oklahoma post, but doesn’t really feel he’s done enough to clean up his neighborhood. Trevante (Shamier Allen) is an American soldier killed in Afghanistan. He was isolated from his unit during the aftermath. Mitsuki (Shioli Kutsuna) is a control-room specialist for Japan’s space program, in a secret relationship with the female astronaut she’s about to send to space. Casper Morrow, a London schoolboy with a bully problem who ends up in an a. Lord of Flies It is a difficult situation. And Aneesha Malik (Golshifteh Farahani) has discovered her husband, Ahmed (Firas Nassar) is having an affair with another woman in the overwhelmingly white Long Island suburb they’re trying to fit into.

It is at its finest InvasionThis sci-fi story uses the crisis of science fiction to make a difference. Sheriff Tyson is making his slow walk toward retirement, while feeling like he’s never been able to make the sort of difference he thought he would. And then he discovers a disaster he can’t possibly fix. There’s a similar dramatic irony in the audience knowing Mitsuki is helping send her love to the place where she will be in greatest danger.

The pilot is a quick and effective way to get these moments, which are then carefully distributed over the subsequent episodes. Invasion squanders the potential benefit five storylines offering five different flavors of show — it paints them all with the same brush, one that’s more soap opera than science fiction. Interspersed with the chaos of an epic disaster, the litany of inner dramas becomes a blurred mess. Although both the sides have their own strengths, Invasion’s coin are individually effective on an occasional basis, the two rarely complement each other in a satisfying way.

In general, Invasion The first five episodes are spent wandering among characters. They slowly advance their individual dramas, while increasing their stress. Sometimes it can drift into painful stereotypes. With Trevante’s story in particular, the show’s writers seem most interested in humanizing the Afghans he encounters, inadvertently exoticizing them further by not treating their humanity as a given. You might like This is Us Invasion is mostly interested in an emotional connection with its characters, rather than in the trappings of science fiction — and it isn’t afraid of doing a little manipulation to get there.

InvasionThe first three episodes are now available on Apple TV Plus. New episodes will be added every Friday.