TV review: Oasis (pilot), Amazon Prime Video (3 stars)

TV review: Oasis (pilot), Amazon Prime Video

Richard Madden stars in Oasis

Thoughtful sci-fi mixing science and religion starring Game of Thrones' Richard Madden

Oasis offers us a glimpse into what feels like a scarily possible near future. Deteriorating resources and a population explosion have left the world ravaged and overcrowded. The mega rich have come up with a solution: ignore the problem, abandon earth and start again on another planet, Oasis 'the most technically advanced socially conscious society ever devised.' However Chaplain Peter Lee's (Richard Madden) problems are far closer to home as he watches helplessly as his wife Bea (Flora Spencer-Longhurst) dies of cancer.

After receiving a personal invitation from founder David Morgan (Jonjo O'Neill) Lee braves the intergalactic voyage into the unknown. On arrival we learn Morgan has gone missing and Oasis is still a building site, an arid desolate planet with a small group of explorers, engineers and scientists eking out a meagre living as they develop a sustainable ecosystem.

TV review: Oasis (pilot), Amazon Prime Video

Other colonists include Haley Joel Osment as a geeky botanist (pictured above), Zawe Ashton as the base's doctor and Anil Kapoor as the colony's de facto leader. Based on Michel Faber's novel The Book of Strange New Things and directed by Kevin Macdonald (Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void), this Amazon pilot has an impressive pedigree. It's an intelligent take on sci-fi ruminating on ideas of where religion and science meet and diverge.

It gets off to a slow start with a contemplative pace, and there are echoes of Dune, Alien and Ron Howard's recent docudrama Mars as it heads into more puzzling, supernatural territory. It needs to dig deeper and expand upon the mysteries of this unusual planet and its inhabitants to truly grab you but Oasis has built a solid foundation and it would be great to see it expand to a full series (especially with that cliff-hanger ending).

The Oasis pilot is available to watch on Amazon until Sat 15 Apr.