Constellation Season 1 Review – Lackluster writing leads Apple TV+ series to a crash landing

By Ricky Valero
Published: February 20, 2024 (Last updated: last month)
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Constellation Season 1 Review
Constellation | Image via Apple TV+
2.5

Summary

Noomi Rapace and Rosie and Davina Coleman’s performances are failed by inconsistent writing, making Constellation a tough watch.

British screenwriter Peter Harness enters the world of space for the Apple TV+ original series Constellation. Season 1, comprising eight episodes, stars Noomi Rapace as Jo, an astronaut who returns to Earth after a failed space mission to find parts of her life with many missing layers. Alongside Rapace are Jonathan Banks, James D’Arcy, and twins Rosie and Davina Coleman.

Constellation Season 1 review and plot summary

Constellation sees Jo returning to Earth after a failed space mission only to discover that her life isn’t what it was before she left. As she attempts to adjust to this new reality, her past continues to affect everything in front of her, including her relationship with her daughter. 

The series begins intertwined within two stories, with Jo at the focal point of both of them. First, we see her dealing with the unraveling of a spaceship that had something explode on board, leading to her and her team facing life-and-death situations. Because of what went down, Jo is struggling with adapting to everyday life in the present.

Once back from space, Jo struggles mightily to balance what is real and what is fake, which causes rifts in her relationships with her husband and daughter. Her attempt to capture the past directly affects her future by seeing things that aren’t real and battling demons directly caused by her accident.

At times, the writers of Constellation try to get too cute with some of the narrative. We are witnessing a woman go mad over the unraveling of the spaceship and her time up in it. But when things seem very normal, they attempt to blend a supernatural aspect of the show that doesn’t seem to add up or work. 

The early stages are easily the best part of Constellation. First, I credit the writers for breaking down the entire space dynamic in a way that allows audiences to not only learn about space but put them in the astronaut’s shoes. As a result, you find yourself clinging to these thrilling space sequences, putting you on the edge of your seat. Sadly, they fail to recreate that tension for the remainder of the series. 

A character that the writers completely misfired on was Commander Henry Caldera (Banks). Even with the ISS facing trouble in space, all Caldera cares about is his Data Core returning, which is more important than even the astronauts on board. The alternative motive of Caldera is where the series loses so much steam with the character. Past Caldera delivers this menacing, commanding presence, while the present version comes off as a grumpy old man living in the past. Somewhere in between, we are expected to care, but I never did. 

Is Constellation Season 1 worth watching? 

The series wastes some incredible performances by Noomi Rapace and twins Rosie and Davina Coleman. As I mentioned, the early parts of Constellation set in space deliver some incredible moments, and Rapace leads the charge. But even when she is delivering lights-out dialogue, you are so wrapped up in unwarranted confusion that you don’t care. The same can be said about twins Rosie and Davina Coleman, who combined to play Alice. These little girls are special and are a highlight in this underwhelming series.

Ultimately, Constellation is a rare misfire from Apple because of overwriting. Peter Harness showed promise early on, but once we leave the space element of the show, it falls to the wayside.

What did you think of Constellation Season 1? Comment below.


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