Apple TV+'s latest entry into the vast, beautiful estuary of science-fiction is "Invasion", and its three episodes have made it to the streaming TV universe.
On Friday, October 22, the first three episodes of "Invasion," along with seven others, dropped. We had only seen the trailer. However, Space.com was granted access to five episodes, and Space.com was able speak with David Weil, the show's cocreator, before the series' debut.
The official blurb states that the series is character-driven and follows several storylines on different continents. It also takes a global look into how an alien invasion might affect us all. The trailer isn't very clear, but it does suggest that action will be taking place around the globe. We also get a glimpse of an alien ground transport that looks like it might be inspired by "The War of the Worlds."
Weil stated, "Well Simon [co-creator Simon Kinberg] really connected over HG Wells’ 'The War of the Worlds' but then even further over Orson Welles’ radio play."
"The purported experience people had of not being able to tell the difference between reality and fiction was a North Star for them. We wanted to create a story that felt real. What would you choose if you were in this situation? What would you choose?
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It is possible and quite likely that viewers will expect something else when they watch the first episodes. This story is unlike any other stories about alien invasions. It is a world far from "Falling Skies", on a different planet than "Independence Day", and on the opposite end of the universe to "The Tomorrow War." It is a slower-paced, character-driven, cerebral scifi.
The very first episode features Sam Neill. Is he able to make it beyond the first episode? We'll just have to watch and wait. Image credit: Apple TV+
"I believe that different stories require different forms. I don't adhere to any metrics or viewing patterns, patterns, or algorithms as a storyteller. Weil stated that Simon and I wanted to share a story that was deeply personal.
"That gave our story a solid foundation with characters we have grown to love. You can look at a series such as 'Breaking Bad' in a different way. Season one was in many ways slow-form storytelling. Weil stated that Walter White's character allowed him to really dig in and feel the twists and turns later on felt more real and planned.
"But I would say that I think in the alien invasion canon - whether it's ‘Independence Day’ or 'War Of The Worlds' - I think we, our expectation, is one of, They come and we're running to the Midtown Tunnel from an explosive," he said.
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Golshifteh Farahani, Anesha Malik), delivers remarkable performances despite a complicated character history. Image credit: Apple TV+
Weil is a huge fan of science fiction, and although his career is only beginning to flourish, he has made many notable contributions. He created the Amazon Original "Solos", a thought-provoking and dramatic anthology that explores deeper meanings of human connection. The limited series, which aired seven episodes in the near future, featured Morgan Freeman and Anne Hathaway as well as Anthony Mackie, Helen Mirren and Constance Wu. It had a minimalist premise, but was very focused on dialogue and character exploration. This is clearly a style Weil is creating.
He laughed. Science fiction is to me optimism. It's hope. It is a call to action about how we might live as a society and what we can do. Science fiction that feels hopeful is the best. It aims to promote connectivity, innovation, and growth. So, stories that proclaim this are my favorite. "Ex Machina" and "Under the Skin" were great, and "2001: A Space Odyssey" is my favorite.
"Invasion" details the events that surround a variety of people. These include a young communications scientist at JASA (fiulty national Japanese space agency), a wealthy Middle Eastern family who lives in the United States, and a U.S. soldier on active duty likely in South-Central Asia. A group of English school children on a fieldtrip.
Soon, Shiori Kutsuna learns that Japanese scientist Mitsuki Yamato (Shiori Kutsuna), has lost her secret gay lover Yui (Naoko Moi), when the Earth orbit space station she was on is destroyed by mysterious forces. Ahmed Malik (Firas Nasar), the husband of a wealthy family, has been having an affair with a woman who is expecting his child. Anesha Malik (Golshifteh Farazani), a Harvard-educated physician, has just discovered her husband's infidelity. Trevante (Shamier Allen) is the U.S. Navy Seal on deployment in Afghanistan. He loses his entire unit to an attack by an unknown force.
The Navy SEAL Shamier Anderson (Seal of Navy) will not be killed by an alien spacecraft that is wreaking havoc in Afghanistan's desert. Image credit: Apple TV+
This plot device is often used to show that a character has a unique skill set. Chris Pratt was an ex-Navy SEAL on "Jurassic World", and a Green Beret in the "The Tomorrow War". Ex-Navy SEAL Tom Cruise appears in "The Mummy" reboot. Vin Diesel is an ex Navy SEAL in "The Pacifier." Matthew McConaughey, an ex-Navy SEAL, is in "Sahara." Martin Riggs, a former Green Beret and now an ex-Navy Seal in the TV version of "Lethal Weapon," is transformed into a TV character. Paddington Bear was an ex US Navy SEAL. Toby Stephens, a former Special Forces member of "Lost in Space", is also a former Special Forces soldier. There are many other branches of military, including Special Forces units deployed in Central-South Asia.
The accident that nearly killed the group of secondary school students from England (grades 5-9 in the U.S.), occurred when their coach was struck by large pieces and falling debris.
Their teacher is tragically killed in the accident, and the situation quickly descends into a "Lord of the Flies-style" scenario. This was just one of many grumbles in the first half season. The geeky kid Casper Morrow (played by Billy Barratt), who embraces science but has a medical condition, is constantly picked on by the bigger, dumber school bully. This is an old chestnut.
It is a fascinating story about the discovery and analysis by Shiori Kutsuna, Mitsuki Yamato, of an alien transmission. Image credit: Apple TV+
The thing is that this show is set in the modern day. Science, sci-fi, and subjects once considered geeky are now extremely popular. This is a far cry from 30 years ago. Why is the Geeky Kid considered weaker than the bully? I bet there are some pre-teen rugby-playing, strapping kids who are super nerds and really into space exploration, skywatching, and sub-atomic Physics. They're also at least half-a-foot taller that the class thug.
Weil stated, "The first thing that I would say is, I believe over time you will see, how [Casper] loves science fiction, how His knowledge and brilliance really does win him out, ultimately." "But while we glorify STEM and science, and I admit that I was that geeky, nerdy child growing up, I don't think the reality is that simple."
"I don’t know why the weather vane swings so quickly from north to south. I think we live in gray. He said that he believes there are schools and communities where being an expert in science can be rewarded and considered cool. But I believe there are still many schools, communities, and societies where it isn't.
The performances of the entire cast of children are exceptional and each character was very well played. Image credit: Apple TV+
"And I believe Casper represents a child who is different. Because he is passionate about the things he does, he isn't considered cool in his community. In fact, you're right. He was seen as strange, nerdy, or whatever. Weil said, "But, I would really give that, some time." I think that over the season you'll witness a rapid growth and a quick reorienting on what it means being a superhero. What it means being a hero and what it means it to be cool. Acceptance is what it means. We see the sociological experiment in action in a large way."
Although "Invasion" might take some time to find its feet, it is a sci-fi show that Apple is serious about. Look at the other options: " Foundation" and "For All Mankind".
Weil seems to be developing a unique writing style; sci-fi stories which go deeper than usual into character development. It is unclear if this has an adverse effect on the show's overall flow. We believe "Invasion" can go far and hope Apple gives it the opportunity to do so.
Yes, the first few episodes contain plenty of clichs; yes the human-storytelling-to-actual-alien-invasion ratio is also off, but factor in some phenomenal performances and high quality production values, and fingers crossed, we should end up with a thrilling second half to the season.