Welcome to the first in what will be a "as long as my attention lasts" series, Netflix Friday, focusing on "Watch Instantly" selections from Netflix. There are a lot of shows you can stream off Netflix on your computer, or Roku, or through your Xbox 360 or Tivo HD -- but much is what we might generously call off-brand. I think it's worth the time to give you some choices for those rainy Sundays when you're in the mood for something right now.
Invasion: Earth has a very dumb title. It also has a truly creepy alien invasion narrative linked to some real world anomalies (creeping chromosomal feminization), time-lost humans, aliens who are alien, and pretty well-done SFX for a BBC production at the time. Most impressively, it has Maggie O'Neill as the lead (!) scientist (!!) using her goddam brain to piece together the alien plan. The manly RAF pilot -- who would become the lead in any other version of this mini-series -- has a good run but at no point distracts us from the fact that Rather Large Brains are required to unspool alien intentions.
And even then, it might not do us any good. These are creatures who have mastered interstellar travel. To paraphrase Warren Ellis, 1.5 million Earthling children die every year from diarrhea -- we have not yet mastered drinking water.
Tonally, I adore this thing. You know how a lot of alien invasion movies start with "Holy Shit, We Are In Way Over Our Head," but then swing into "Those Aliens Underestimated Our Plucky Resourcefulness!"?
Yeah. Not so much on the second bit.
I am obligated to admit that the 100 year alien invasion plan I used in Blue Beetle was heavily influenced by the effect this show had on me in the 90's. Bonus points for Fred Ward doing yeoman's work as the American general. Because in any British sci fi, it's only a matter of time before the Yanks show up with the heavies ...
Don't read any spoilers, and just enjoy. All six episodes of Invasion:Earth are your Netflix Streaming recommend for this weekend.