INVASION (2021) – Constipated sci-fi series that is more interested in human drama than aliens


Rating: ⭐ 1/2

Invasion is an ambitious 10 episodes science fiction epic series from Apple +. At least that was what it appears to be promoted as. Set in a not too distant future, the premise is an unexpected invasion of earth by a hostile alien species. Told through the experiences of four sets of people spread across the world through a continuous jumping back and forth between the four plots. We have the family in America fighting to survive the invasion while struggling with an internal family crisis, a group of students in London, stranded during a school excursion, a lone surviving Army operator in Afaghanistan desperately trying to get back home to reconcile with his wife, and finally a Japanese space expert trying to unravel the source of the destruction of a Japanese space station.

Of the four stories, only the one that takes place in Japan held some level of interest for me. The acting is consistently good and believable for these segments. Shoili Kutsana who plays the space engineer desperate to find out what happened to her lover astranaut who perished in a space station purportedly destroyed by the aliens, has a star quality presence that truly engages the viewer whenever she appears. The use of Japanese dialouge throughout this section also lends an air of authenticity. I cannot say the same for the rest of the stories which are often laced with unrealistic human behaviour like finding time to fall in love with a stranger in the midst of surviving an alien invasion, or a school bully who stays in bully character even in a life or death situation.

The series generally suffers from an inferior script that is often unimaginative and cliched. Many of the key characters also come across as being unlikeable. For a series that proports itself as being a science fiction about an alien invasion of earth, there is very little science discussed or space aliens to be seen until the last few episodes. Instead, each tale is heavily focused on human issues that haunts the characters. We have the familiar unfaithful husband in plot involving the family, the sensitive school kid who is a subject of bullies for the London segment, the Army soldier who needs to reconcile with his wife, and the lesbian lover struggling to accept the loss of of her lover. These human subplots are all too familiar and do serve to provide anything unique or important to the fundamental plot on an alien invasion. They could fit in any series involving family or failed romance, and frankly only served to slow down the narrative flow of the series to an excruciatingly painful pace here. As I watch each episode hoping to get enlightened about the aliens, I will always end up being disappointed as nothing much ever happens to the people with no further information provided about the invasion. It is like watching a plane trying to take off on an endless runway!

The whole story actually ended in its penultimate episode but the film makers seem to see it fit to have the final episode just drag on and on with the aftermath of the conclusion only to provide the usual teaser at the end paving the way for a sequel! Sadly I understand that a follow-up Season Two has been green lit!! You can count me out for this as I am sure there are many far better science fiction TV series to watch than this constipated series. This is definitely one of the worst sci-fi series in the crowded sci-fi / end of the world genre.

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