Noomi Rapace as Jo wearing a space helmet in Constellation | Agents of Fandom

‘Constellation’ Is an Intensely Mysterious Psychological Sci-Fi Thriller

Elements of cognitive distress far outweigh elements of space adventure in Apple TV+’s latest series.

This review was made possible by advanced screeners of Episodes 1-8 of Constellation, provided to Agents of Fandom by Apple for review purposes.

Following a strong opening in 2024 with a hit in Masters of the Air, a period war drama starring Austin Butler and Barry Keoghan, Apple TV+ continues a hot run with the epic space thriller, Constellation. An original story from creators Peter Harness and Ragna Wei, the series follows Jo (Noomi Rapace), an astronaut who returns home after barely surviving a terrible accident, only to find life isn’t as she remembers. Constellation dares to challenge all the basic constructs of the human psyche in a gripping and sometimes terrifying journey through the lives of space explorers who now see Earth differently than everyone else.

Imagine a candle, thin enough to be almost inconceivable at the top, but several inches in diameter at the bottom. This is the storytelling model that Constellation follows; a slow burn, tough to enjoy in the beginning, but progressively more fragrant and pleasing as it works its way down to the bottom. The early episode woes and complex confusions burn away as the series moves along, and the end product is something so intensely satisfying and bold that it feels foolish to ever doubt the direction in the first place.

‘Constellation’ Review: A Crafty, Well-Executed Story That Weaves Together Like Elegant Fabric

Jonathan Banks as Henry/Bud Caldera staring into a mirror in Constellation | Agents of Fandom
Henry Caldera (Jonathan Banks) finds himself in a mind-twisting turmoil to which there is seemingly no solution. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Apple brings another remarkably unique premise to the table with Constellation. Although it fights against something of a slow start for the first few episodes, as the narrative unravels, everything starts to make sense. But, as the series sees fit to share more details, it backhands these revelations with more question marks that challenge the viewer to abandon their meager path of discovery. It’s in this vein that Harness and Wei’s story is immensely investing, and impossible to ever fully figure out.

The majority of the series takes place on Earth, but production designer Andy Nicholson does a phenomenal job bringing the void of space and the I.S.S. (International Space Station) to life. The dangers of living in zero gravity feel acutely palpable — the smallest slip-up can lead to death, and the show wastes no time establishing what can happen when things go wrong. However, there’s more to fear in Constellation than the inky blackness of space and technological errors astronauts are mostly familiar with.

There is a subtle, but prominent supernatural element to this series that is nearly impossible to quantify. There’s nothing obvious to point to like a giant alien spaceship, merely an ominous breadcrumb trail of mysterious happenings that lack any logical explanation. Constellation accomplishes the extraordinary when it forces the viewer to question what’s real and what isn’t by simultaneously feeling like something out of a ridiculous sci-fi novel, but also unexplainably conceivable.

Davina and Rosie Coleman Stand Out As Unexpected Stars in The ‘Constellation’ Cast

James D'Arcy and Rosie/Davina Coleman hugging each other in the desert in Constellation | Agents of Fandom
Magnus (James D’Arcy) and Alice (Rosie/Davina Coleman) have trouble adjusting to life once Jo returns from space. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Although Constellation may lack an A+ star name that pops off the call sheet, there are a few brilliant performances worth highlighting. Star Noomi Rapace is exquisite throughout in her portrayal of a woman who cannot come to terms with everything happening around her. She elicits a genuine fear that contrasts well with both the other characters who are facing similar circumstances, and those who can’t reconcile what’s going on at all.

But the true stars of the show are Rosie and Davina Coleman, twins who portray Jo’s daughter, Alice. Alice is not in the typical child role, standing around in different scenes and occasionally pitching a fit or getting into trouble that their parents have to solve. She has her own equally, if not more, compelling journey, accompanied by a few moments of joy and more than enough sorrow for one lifetime. The Coleman twins outperform their adult counterparts in nearly every shared scene; they are young stars in the making who are going to leave their mark on the Hollywood landscape.

There are plenty of other performers in Constellation who do well in limited screen time, including but not limited to Jonathan Banks, James D’Arcy, and William Catlett. Banks in particular, who is most recognizable for his role as Mike in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, is a layered and intriguing character. Christopher Nolan-regular James D’Arcy plays Jo’s husband and Alice’s father Magnus, another complex character with much more than simple ambitions.

Apple TV+ Has the Television Formula Figured Out

Noomi Rapace as Jo standing beside her daughter Alice, Rosie/Davina Coleman, who is pointing through bars at the camera in Constellation | Agents of Fandom
Jo returns home after her dangerous mission, but she isn’t the mother that her daughter remembers. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Netflix may be the most popular streaming service by the numbers, but the quality of Apple’s shows is impossible to refute. With hits like Ted Lasso, Silo, and Lessons in Chemistry, Apple has established itself as a formidable player in the television arena. With proper marketing, Constellation has every chance to be just as much of a success as its predecessors.

The first three episodes of Constellation premiere on Apple TV+ on February 21. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for all the latest entertainment news and reviews.

'Constellation' Review

'Constellation' Review
4.5 5 0 1
4.5 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • There's a mysterious, supernatural element that adds to the intrigue and investment.
  • Beautiful writing and performances bring the story to life.
  • The show challenges the viewer by not carving a clear path to resolution.

The Bad

  • A slow start weighs the series down a touch.
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