Updated: Aug 9
Fasten your seatbelts and buckle in for our Hijack Series 2023 review because this series is about to take you through a whole lot of turbulence. A plane travelling from Dubai to London has been hijacked and it's left to the passengers, led by business negotiator Sam Nelson (played by the always brilliant Idris Elba) to desperately try to stop it before the worst happens. The thriller, created by Jim Field Smith and George Kay, is filled with twists and turns throughout and will have you on the edge of your seat, holding your breath as you watch to see what’s going to happen next. Hijack is an Apple TV original and carries on their success of top quality, must-see shows.
The heart-stopping events of Hijack are played out over the course of 7 episodes, representing the 7 hours of the flight. Almost like a shortened series of 24, albeit without the ticking clock and not shown in exact real-time. It does also have the same sense of urgency and impending disaster as 24 as the plane carrying 200 passengers heads towards the city of London without its pilot. The mystery around who these hijackers are and why they are doing this is sustained well throughout the series and the pacing feels perfect throughout. Particularly at the start as it masterfully creates a selection of potential suspects who could be the ones to carry out the promise in the name of the series.
The concept of a hijacked flight is nothing new in TV or Movies but this show still manages to stand out from the crowd thanks to a few key factors. The first being the lead character Sam Nelson. Rather than going the typical route of an Air Marshall or the likes, Sam makes a living helping businesses close out their deals with his wits and gift of the gab. A skillset that he must use to try to open up discussions with those on the plane to try to put an end to whatever their plan is. His methods or far from typical and will keep you guessing his motives and what his ultimate goal is at times, but you always know that he is driven simply by his desire to make it off the plane and get back to his son waiting on the ground.
The supporting cast, particularly those back in London and Dubai who are trying to help from ground control add a good level of depth to the show, and the writers do an impressive job of giving each character a strong sense of personality and role with minimal screen time, getting you very quickly invested in each persons role and involvement. The same goes for the other key passengers on the flight, some there as potential suspects as you play the guessing game of who are the bad guys, and others there as potential victims who you will fear for their safety.
It sticks relatively close to the main plot line with a very tightly-knit story told at a quick pace. Each episode showing the varied attempts to stop the hijack and revealing just enough new information about their motives to raise more questions and keep the stakes and tension rising higher. This tension is the real strong point of the show, the feeling of suspense and unease it creates that there is a real threat to these innocent people and anything can happen.
It does stray towards some social and political commentary. The reaction of a couple of the characters to an Arabic-speaking passenger of the plane addressing the commonly held stereotypes around terrorism in the world today, as well as a few scenes of members of the British government that just fall short of being a critical look at the way the British government in real life operate. It never fully dives into these topics completely, keeping them fairly surface level which I would have liked to have seen play a bigger role, but ultimately the showrunners decide to keep a direct focus on the ups and downs of the attempts at talking down and fighting a mental battle with the hijackers.
Hijack SERIES 2023 Review: Does it stick the landing?
Hijack is a thrilling ride that will have you gripped throughout and never overstays its welcome, offering reveals and twists at the right moments to keep you hanging on to every moment. The strong acting performances and high tension throughout make it a great watch and a great thriller, perfect for binging through in one sitting. Maybe best not to watch it just before flying though if you want to make sure you enjoy a peaceful flight.