A funny thing has been happening on BBC America, the network has gotten a lot more interesting with the move to original programming. Sure it’s great to import successful UK shows (Doctor Who, The Graham Norton Show which I love), but it’s also great to see them flex their own creative muscles so we get shows like Orphan Black.
Intruders, their newest show, is a science fiction thriller like Orphan Black, but is quite a different animal. Based on a series of books by Michael Marshall Smith, the show is produced by Glen Morgan.
Like many shows these days, we meet a variety of characters who slowly cross paths to weave a greater story. Our main character is ex-cop Jack (John Simm) whose wife, Amy (Mira Sorvino), suddenly develops a taste for jazz and then mysteriously disappears. Madison (Millie Brown), a young girl, sees a strange man (James Frain) on the beach and then starts acting weird. That strange man later claims to be an FBI agent, but seems to be more of an assassin with ties to another mysterious man (Robert Forster).
Eventually the reasons for these flashes of odd behavior becomes clear – there’s another life in there! Body snatching!! Intruders can live forever by taking over someone’s body.
But this isn’t a gory body snatchers movie with gelatinous pods or anything like that – at least so far. It’s much more reminiscent of X-Files in tone – puzzling, faintly ominous and suspenseful.
Not a surprise since showrunner Glen Morgan was one of the core X-Files writers and his X-Files writing partner, James Wong, is also involved with Intruders. Indeed, there are lots of X-Files ingredients in the stew if you look a little closer: filmed in the Pacific Northwest, big conspiracy, a lead guy with a background in law enforcement, scary little girl with a personality and knowledge beyond her years, a loner conspiracy theorist, someone named Fox and even a mysterious cigarette-smoking man.
Overall, Intruders has an interesting premise, but it is a slow burn so you need to hang in for several episodes before they reveal the plot. That’s tough if you’re not drawn into the paced story and because the characters are very suspicious. It’s hard to figure out who to root for since none of the characters are easy to relate to; John Simm’s Jack is solid, but I don’t love his character. Everyone else’s motives are questionable since they’re either an Intruder or one of the mysterious shepherds so it’s hard to relate to anyone.
X-Files fans will probably enjoy the show. Me? I’ll probably stick around for a few more episodes and we’ll see if it perks up any from there.
The Intruders debuts on BBC America on Saturday night.
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