Apple TV+ is shooting for the stars with two new sci-fi series and a film this autumn. The trailers for Foundation, Invasion and Finch all look amazing. And dark. The descriptions for all of them include either “dystopian” or “apocalypse” or both.
Could we get some science fiction that’s a little more upbeat from Apple’s streaming service?
Apple TV+ sci-fi: Gloom enhanced
The first full trailer for the Apple TV+ series Invasion dropped Wednesday. It’s an epic about an alien attack on the Earth, with Sam Neill starring.
You might be able to tell from the trailer that this is a very ambitious program. It was filmed in New York, Manchester, Morocco and Japan. “Invasion is a sweeping, character-driven science fiction drama series that follows an alien invasion through different perspectives around the world,” says Apple’s press release. We’re talking global destruction.
And Foundation expands the apocalypse enormously. It starts with the fall a galaxy-wide civilization. Something the trailer emphasizes with explosion after explosion.
Finch is a smaller story, with a charming Tom Hanks, his dog and his robot pal. And it starts with the death of literally every other person on Earth. And Hanks’ character is dying too.
It’s entirely possible all of these will turn things around by the end. Maybe the Earth will fight off the aliens in Invasion. Foundation is supposed to be about rebuilding galactic civilization, though the trailer shows little but its fall. And perhaps Finch will end up with some kind of happy ending.
But it would be nice if Apple TV+ had a sci-fi film or series that didn’t have a death toll in the thousands, millions or billions.
Perhaps just a bit more upbeat, please
While these sci-fi shows all look amazing, I don’t know that apocalyptic or dystopian are what most people want right now. Forgive me for pointing out the obvious, but we’ve all just lived through 18+ months of a global pandemic. And it’s still going on. I’m not going to point out the full cost… it’s too depressing.
That’s a major reason why the biggest hit Apple TV+ has is Ted Lasso. It’s just about the most upbeat, positive show I’ve ever seen. I’m not suggesting Ted Lasso in Space, but Apple could certainly make a sci-fi series that’s not about the end of the world.
Let’s not forget the three sci-if series already on the streaming service. See is set in a post-apocalyptic (there’s that word again) world. Amazing Stories might have been quietly cancelled. And while For All Mankind is definitely good drama, it’s not upbeat.
There’s nothing wrong with the old “a guy, a girl and a couple aliens zoom around space fighting a dark lord while making wisecracks.” Yes, it’s a formula, but making characters wade through bleak scenes of destruction to make a movie seem more dramatic is equally formulaic. And it’s less fun to watch.
But let me be clear: I’m excited about Foundation. If there’s an Issac Asimov sci-fi story I haven’t read at least once, it’s not from lack of trying. The Apple TV+ series looks phenomenal. And Finch and Invasion have real possibilities. My request here is that Apple also make some light adventure sci-fi. Something I can relax watching at the end of long work week. A show that’ll give me hope for the future.