Strange things happen in the quantum realm. And, as the American physicist Richard Feynman, said the double-slit experiment is “the central mystery of quantum physics”. Why? Because it would appear that the very act of observing a particle — or rather measuring it — has an effect on its behaviour. It’s this premise that forms the basis for Apple TV+’s new sci-fi series, Constellation.
Noomi Rapace plays Jo, a Swedish astronaut abroad the International Space Station. When the station is hit with strange debris, Jo’s reality begins to unravel and, once she’s back on Earth, she discovers that things aren’t quite the way she remembers them.
The first three acts are a compelling piece of space drama — taut, dramatic, and superbly realised — but once the show gets back to terra firma, the focus turns to psychology, the nature of reality, and relationships.
The plot bobs along, with the occasional flash of genius and genuine unease. However, the soap opera strand simply isn’t that compelling.
James D’Arcy, creates, in Jo’s husband, a truly hate-able character. Rapace, does good work as the hard-ass astronaut, determined to uncover the truth. While Davina and Rosie Coleman, as Jo’s daughter, Alice, give wonderfully nuianced performances. Yet, it’s hard to really care, when none of these characters are especially likeable. Add to that, the deliberately disorientating nature of the story, and a six episode series soon starts to feel like it’s three episodes too long.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s always great to see a show that dares to try something different — and doesn’t patronise its audience. Constellation has plenty to recommend it, but a tighter plot, and less reliance on gimmicks would have made it a definite five out of five.
Created by Peter Harness and directed by Emmy Award-winner Michelle MacLaren, Constellation, makes its global debut February 21 on Apple TV+