Reviews | Written by John Townsend 22/10/2021

INVASION EPISODE 1: LAST DAY

There is something about aliens, about UFOs and outer space that seems to resonate with us as human beings. Whether it’s through our anxiety, the fear there is something out there that could be harmful to us or, worse still, be a better version of ourselves. Or whether it’s through conspiracy theories, ideas gestated and encouraged by shows such as The X-Files, capitalising on our fears that the government knows more than they’re letting on. As a result, authors, writers and filmmakers have returned time and again to these themes to create some of the most memorable and significant works of the 20th and 21st centuries. And now, hot on the heels of two recent War of the Worlds television versions of H. G. Wells’ classic story, comes another alien invasion story. And it might be the best one yet.

This opening episode is as mysteriously cryptic as it is instantly engaging. It is a leisurely beginning to a story where – despite the obvious clue in the title – you don’t know quite where the show is going to take you. From around the world, we are introduced to different characters. In Oklahoma, a small-town sheriff played by Sam Neill on his final day before retirement investigates the disappearance of two locals. In New York, Golshifteh Farahani is a middle-class mother taking her children to school, unaware of the personal drama about to engulf her. In Tokyo, we meet a mission control scientist in Japan’s space program as a rocket carrying three astronauts is about to blast off.

All unrelated, just real people going about their lives. Until things begin to happen, unexplained events such as nose bleeds and a meteor crashing into the Earth.

From creator Simon Kinberg (with credits including X-Men: Days of Future Past among many others) Invasion is, from the outset, beautiful in its production, stylish in its design and thoroughly engaging in its story. With just one episode it becomes essential viewing, and we have nine more to go.

Invasion is available on AppleTV+