Hijack Apple

An ode to Hijack: The unabashedly ridiculous, most bingeable show of 2023

Apple TV’s seven hour hijacked flight from Dubai to London is my new silly obsession

Look, I know I’m late to the party. In Hijack terms,  the Idris Elba fronted menace at 42,000 feet, I’d have missed my flight. I first caught whiff of Hijack via Celebrity Gogglebox – the best way for one to sum up the week’s telly when you let it pass you by. It looked silly but good – I enjoyed living vicariously through the likes of Nick Grimshaw and Jane McDonald who reacted to Idris Elba’s latest nonsense with vigour. If circumstances hadn’t aligned, I’d probably have never watched Hijack. The circumstances are as follows: I got a new MacBook, and with that comes three months of Apple TV. I took a break from social media this week, and with that comes free time. The plan? Race through Apple TV shows on my watchlist, namely: Silo, Ted Lasso, Severance and Hijack. I got through all seven episodes of Hijack in a day. Here’s why Apple TV’s Hijack is the silly godsend of 2023 television we never knew we needed.

Praise be the Elba

For those unaware, the plot of Apple TV’s Hijack is as follows: A commercial flight from Dubai to London gets hijacked, and all seven episodes unfold in real time as the hijackers, crew and passengers struggle to survive the journey, with cuts to the people on the ground trying to negotiate and get a grip of the danger of what’s happening. You’ve seen it all before – it’s not dissimilar to Liam Neeson’s Non-Stop. But the 24-reminiscent real time format is ridiculously engaging – and the ensemble cast are all storing enough secrets in their overhead lockers to keep you gasping throughout all seven hours.

You might wonder how on earth a show maintains enough jet fuel to survive for seven episodes without collapsing in on itself or becoming tedious. For this, we have to thank Idris Elba. The eternally young and gorgeous king of gritty thrillers has taken a bit of a nosedive in recent years when it comes to his output, and his very involvement in Hijack had me eyerolling. But seven hours later, he’s the perfect man for the job. This is Idris Elba doing his shlocky action at its best. He unapologetically plays characters who just know everything. Sam could honestly just be John Luther. Or Idris Elba. I’m not really sure where Idris Elba ends and his characters begin. It’s all getting a bit Jason Statham, to be honest – and I am loving it.

The inimitable Elba

The thing with Hijack, actually, is it’s not one of those genuinely shit shows you’re loling along at. Despite the ridiculous chaos, it genuinely takes itself pretty seriously. In an interview for Apple TV, Hijack director and executive producer Jim Field Smith said the show was made as realisitically close to a hijack situation as possible. A real plane was brought in to film the show on, and the shell of a real cockpit was connected to a flight simulator.

All of the computer displays were made as real as possible, and a “cutting edge screen” was used create lights which move past the windows on the plane, at the exact speed and angle as the Sun really would have on that flight path. “We’ve paid attention to every last detail,” Jim said. This attention to detail makes Hijack feel thrilling to watch, not cheaply thrown together – it sort of earns its ridiculousness through the sincerity the team have taken making the flight and action feel so realistic.

Another reason why it’s genuinely been the most fun I’ve had bingeing a show in a millennia is that the cast is stacked with a million and one faces that make you point at the screen and furiously consult IMDb. Personal favourites for me include Eve Myles, obviously – the queen of Torchwood doing her best Welsh equivalent of Happy Valley’s Catherine Cawood – albeit a Catherine of the skies and not the Yorkshire streets. The ever sexy Max Beesley was a welcome delight, and I spotted Neil from The Inbetweeners dad, Michelle Connor from Corrie’s son and the ageless Cathica from Doctor Who season one’s The Long Game.

If you’ve not spent a night getting hooked on Hijack yet, I can’t recommend it enough. Put your silly goose head on and get swept up in the chaos. The cliffhanger at the end of the penultimate episode is honestly one of the most jaw agape telly moments I’ve had in recent memory. Everyone should witness it. I’m in my Hijack era.

Hijack is available on Apple TV now. For all the latest reality TV and entertainment news and gossip, like Pop Culture Shrine on Facebook.

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