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Apple TV Plus's next big sci-fi show has arrived - and the reviews are in

It's a multiverse mystery starring Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Connelly

Apple TV Plus's next big sci-fi show has arrived - and the reviews are in

Dark Matter has landed on Apple TV Plus, and is the streamer's biggest sci-fi series since at least Constellation.

Isn’t it funny how similar ideas can emerge at the same time? Constellation was a show about an astronaut who returns home only to find the world not quite the same as the one she left.

In Dark Matter, Joel Edgerton’s scientist character Jason Dessen is kidnapped and drugged. And when he wakes up, he appears to find himself in a parallel universe different to the one he left.

It’s based on a sci-fi thriller novel by Blake Crouch, one published in 2016, giving it a firmer storytelling grounding than Constellation.

But do the critics think it is better than that last Apple TV sci-fi smash? The jury’s out.

At the time of writing, both shows sit at a solidly respectable 71% on Rotten Tomatoes. There’s plenty of criticism to go along with the praise.

Dark Matter reviews

Common gripes are that Dark Matter is a bit too long at nine episodes, each of which lasts upwards of 45 minutes, and that the tone is too consistently bleak. But some reviewers absolutely love the show.

Here are some of the choice snippets from a few of the key voices in TV criticism, starting with the more positive outlooks:

Inverse called Dark Matter the “most daring series of the moment” and went all-in on adulation. “One truth generally emerges from all quality sci-fi: we have to care. And it’s here where Dark Matter emerges as a great sci-fi series; we care about this conceit because it feels like it could happen to any of us,” the review reads

Genre specialist JoBlo gave Dark Matter a brilliant 9/10 score, calling it Apple TV Plus’s “best project since Severance.” Their big buy-in of the show hinges on the strength of the performances. “Because of how strong the acting is in this series, you are easily able to commit to the mind-altering complexity of this story,” JoBlo says.

Screen Rant also gave Dark Matter a stellar 9/10 review, and compared it to the brilliant German sci-fi show Dark. “The scope of its story is intellectually grand but dramatically quite personal. It comes closest to the feeling of watching Dark as anything I've seen since,” it says. That’s high praise.

The Guardian calls Dark Matter a “fun multiverse thriller” in its 3/5 review, but suggests this one was simply dragged out over too many episodes. “There is a lot of wheelspinning and longueurs that make you wish it was either a six-parter or perhaps a really good, tight four. Nine is a universe away from what it can bear,” it says.

Rolling Strong wasn’t too keen either, suggesting it dragged over the runtime. “There are a few inspired moments towards the end of the nine-episode season, but not enough to justify such a lengthy journey,” it says.

How patient are you? That seems to be the question here. Some of the keener sci-fi fans have been truly sucked into Dark Matter, likening it to some legit sci-fi classics. But others have found it wearing on their patience that bit too much.

The first two episodes of Dark Matter are available to stream now, while the other seven will be broadcast one a week into later June.