Idris Elba as Sam Nelson in Hijack | Agents of Fandom

‘Hijack’ Review: Idris Elba Shines in a Gripping Ride Fueled by Escalating Tension

Apple TV+ has a show that can dominate the summer TV conversation.

This review is made possible by advanced screeners of episodes 1-7 of Hijack, provided to Agents of Fandom by Apple for review purposes.

If you’re excited to watch the latest Apple TV+ series simply for Idris Elba, you’re in for a far more scintillating ride than you can possibly imagine. Hijack tells the story of a plane on a seven-hour journey to London that has forfeited control to a group with unknown intentions.

Stakes and tension rise while the passengers on the flight and corresponding help on the ground search for solutions. The exceptional aspect of this series lies in its distinctive structure. It avoids significant time jumps and the use of flashbacks, opting instead for a straightforward progression with seven episodes dedicated to seven hours of storytelling.

This is not an easy feat to pull off—shackling the vast majority of your show to take place in the seats and aisles of an airplane. Hijack embraces this challenge and delivers one of the best TV shows of the year so far, with a stellar performance from Idris Elba to tag along.

A masterfully crafted story that has you dying for more

Archie Panjabi as Zahra Gahfoor in Hijack | Agents of Fandom
Zahra Gahfoor, played by Archie Panjabi, helps relieve unease at every turn. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

What’s so fascinating about this show is that there are minor nits to pick—it is by no means perfect—but it doesn’t subtract from what it’s able to accomplish. The highest form of praise you can give to any TV show is when you feel like you just can’t stop watching, and that’s Hijack to a T. There were several times in my initial watch of this show that I decided, “alright, last episode for the night,” but then saw the ending and realized that was no longer possible.

Hijack succeeds incredibly at outgrowing its problems as the series inches along. The show’s biggest problem isn’t even a true flaw; it’s that everything happening on the plane is so incredibly compelling that when you switch back to the ground, the story struggles to keep up.

It’s interesting to watch everyone on the ground try to sort out the mystery as to why this is happening, but it’s impossible to not feel the drop-off from flight KA-29. As episodes pass and the stakes become clear to those on the ground as well as those on the plane, these concerns dissipate quickly.

However, even in the early parts of the season, if you feel a bit of a drag when watching characters you haven’t seen talk about things that seem irrelevant, don’t worry. Hijack knows where its bread is butter resides and doesn’t make viewers spend much time away from the tension-loaded thrill ride awaiting them in the sky.

Idris Elba shines while everyone else struggles to keep up

Max Beesley as Daniel Farrell and Christine Adams as Marsha Nelson-Smith in Hijack | Agents of Fandom
Daniel Farrell (Max Beesly) and Marsha Nelson-Smith (Christine Adams) are a complicated couple, their love is not without consequences. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

As expected, Idris Elba is an absolute superstar as Sam Nelson in Hijack. Elba has a notifiable charisma that he brings to every role, and this is no different. He remains calm in the most uneasy situations, but you can tell he’s fighting back fear on the inside.

It’s impossible to get a read on Sam throughout the series. Is his goal to take the plane back by force, or calm negotiation? The way he reads people and adapts to whatever the situation requires is otherworldly. Elba portrays this mystery and magnetism on unparalleled levels.

Unfortunately, the rest of the cast struggles to keep up—but it doesn’t detract from the story. They’re not asked to do much, so the loss isn’t as tangible, though a few people get their moment to shine and make the most of it.

It’s not uncommon now to see a series headlined with one A-list star, and then filled out with talent you may not recognize. Often times this proves to be a hindrance, but creators George Kay and Jim Field Smith knew this story needed to revolve around Elba for it to work, and they utilize what they have to perfection.

‘Hijack’ deserves a shine in the spotlight

Eve Myles as Alice Sinclair in Hijack | Agents of Fandom
Alice Sinclair (Eve Myles) remains confident throughout Hijack that things will resolve themselves.
Image Credit: Apple TV+.

If you’re looking for a show to keep you entertained and on edge this summer, you’ll find it with Hijack. I went in expecting to watch Idris Elba kick ass on a plane, and what I got was more entertaining than I ever could have imagined.

Similar to Silo, Hijack is designed in a way that if word gets out and theories start flying, this show will take off quickly. We’re in the midst of a delightful summer of movies, but Hijack has all the tools necessary to step up and be the series that dominates the conversation.

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'Hijack' Review

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

The Good

  • Idris Elba is phenomenal
  • Beautifully executed cliffhangers
  • Tension-filled story with good payoff

The Bad

  • Some cast members struggle to pull their weight
  • Things on the ground at times move a bit slowly
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