There’s Nothing Thrilling About This Thriller: Our Review of ‘Hijack’

Posted in Apple TV +, Movies, What's Streaming? by - June 28, 2023
There’s Nothing Thrilling About This Thriller: Our Review of ‘Hijack’

On paper, Hijack should be a good show: it has a lead who oozes sexual appeal and talent in equal measure, Idris Elba. It also features Archie Panjabi, the most criminally underrated TV actress of our generation. She’s an actress so magnetic that no one even knows what to do with her, including this show! And of course, Hijack‘s premise, that it is the real-time chronicle of a plane flying from Dubai to London, has potential. However, it isn’t, because everything – from Hijack‘s dialogue to each episode’s individual pace – seems maximized for banality. Simply put, it shouldn’t be hard to make a story about hundreds of people’s lives on the line at a cruising altitude of three thousand feet compelling, but Hijack achieves that nearly impossible task.

When we first meet our protagonist Sam (Idris Elba), he is leaving Dubai. So charming is Sam that he persuades a harried flight attendant to admit a passenger who arrives after the plane’s gate has closed. Get it? He’s a good negotiator! That could come in handy later, because his plane is about to be hijacked, and when that happens, Sam will appoint himself Passenger In Charge!

Meanwhile, on the ground, an assortment of thinly drawn characters, including a bored-looking Ms. Panjabi, are living their earth-bond lives. Some are even getting wind of the fact that terrorists may be hijacking the plane. How will the authorities respond? Can they do anything to help? Short of shooting down the plane and killing everyone aboard, it seems unlikely. Obviously, Idris will have to keep acting as a one-man army so he can reunite with his estranged wife and son in London.

Honestly, high-budget, high-concept and yet mediocre shows like Hijack are what make Peak TV so tiring. There is so much excellent content to watch, but poorly written, highly advertised shows with iconic leads turn our heads, get us to click, and distract us from consuming things of substance. It’s exhausting!

While Hijack‘s premise is nothing like HBO’s The Idol, it is equally disheartening to watch. Both series promise prestige, innovation and your favourite stars, but each feels hollow. Hijack doesn’t even qualify as the sort of show that’s so bad it’s good (or at least watchable). I took no pleasure in being bored by Hijack, a series that self-identifies as a thriller. But is not worthy of that genre. If “watching paint dry” where a TV genre, however, this series would certainly qualify.

Dear Reader, do not watch this show! Instead, let’s all hold out for the TV we deserve….

This post was written by
Sarah Sahagian is a feminist writer based in Toronto. Her byline has appeared in such publications as The Washington Post, Refinery29, Elle Canada, Flare, The Toronto Star, and The National Post. She is also the co-founder of The ProfessionElle Society. Sarah holds a master’s degree in Gender Studies from The London School of Economics. You can find her on Twitter, where she posts about parenting, politics, and The Bachelor.
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