Normally, we’d begin every review of a new series with a plot description, breaking down the events of the episode we’re watching. However, watching the premiere episode of BBC America’s new series, Intruders, it’s hard to say what this show is really about.
Normally, this would be extremely frustrating, but when it comes to Intruders, it couldn’t be more exhilarating.
Intruders is covered with an air of mystery, chilling, creepy mystery. And should it come as any surprise — the series is written and produced by X-Files producer/writer Glen Morgan. The tone, in many ways, is similar to the famed sci-fi series, but it’s far less procedural.
In fact, Intruders unfolds like a film noir that follows three story lines that, we can assume, will all lead us to the same end. The first is anchored by John Simm, The Master from Tennant-era Doctor Who, as former LAPD officer turned author Jack Whelan, who is on the trail of his vanished-into-thin-air wife (Mira Sorvino). The second plot line revolves around the trench-coated gunman Richard Shepherd (James Frain), who seems to be in on all the weirdness going on, but also seems conflicted by it. The conflict arises in form of our third plot thread, Madison O’Donnell (Millie Bobby Brown) a young girl who avoided Shepherd’s gun and seems to be possessed by the spirit of another.
The theme of possession/invasion of the bodysnatchers/immortality is hinted at very strongly throughout the episode, but we’re really never given a full “this is what’s happening” explanation and that’s the hook that’s going to draw you back for me. The show does such an excellent job of creating an air of mystery that you just gotta know what’s going to happen next week.
From a performance standpoint, character actor James Frain, who we’ve seen in everything from Grimm to Tron to Where the Heart Is to 24, is absolutely captivating. He beautifully walks the line of cold-hearted killer and a man rife with conflict. John Simm doesn’t get a ton to do in the premiere, but the promise of what’s going to unfold with him is infinite. The only performance that could spell trouble is Millie Bobby Brown as she’s been given the unenviable role of “the possessed and precocious child.” This character can go one of two ways — brilliant or abysmal. These type of characters can really bring a series to a grinding halt, let’s hope this doesn’t happen here.
Intruders has more potential to be a great, thrilling series than most. It’s got a great pedigree from a writing and production standpoint, the cast is strong and the table they’ve set with this episode is great. In short, I can’t recommend you watching this premiere episode enough.
Rating: 8 out 10
Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party, weekly reviews on Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU and regular contributions throughout the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site and is beyond excited to be a Dad this coming December. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom