I think the fact that Invasion only ran for one season is more of a result of circumstance than anything else. The series starts with a very large hurricane hitting Florida, and the rest of the season dramatizes the aftermath of such a tragic event. Unfortunately, the series made its debut right after the real life hurricane Katrina wiped out much of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. With the 24-hour coverage of the real-life disaster plastered all over the airwaves, audiences just didn’t feel much like unwinding with a dramatization of the very same experience.
It’s a shame, too, because the hurricane aspect of the story was really just a catalyst to bring on the true story of the series. This was not a show about hurricanes, this was a show about extra-terrestrials. I am always a fan of sci-fi shows that masquerade as traditional dramas, and this one really pulls it off. One of the best things about shows like Alias and Lost is that they spawned other well thought out shows such as this one. It was not long ago that a show would start with a basic idea of characters and place, and the series would evolve over time. Now we are starting to see shows that have an entire couple of seasons planned out before the first episode is even shot (such as 24 and HBO’s fantastic Carnivale). The result is a television program that plays more like a detailed mini-series. This is a winning proposition for both networks and fans, as the story builds slowly over time, a personal investment is made in the program.
The only drawback to this kind of format is that it is very difficult for viewers that missed the first few episodes to catch up. This is precisely why I have never watched Lost with any regularity. I can tune in and sort-of figure out what is going on, but without seeing every episode it is hard for me to really get involved. In the case of Invasion, the vast majority of the television watching public missed the first few episodes. That’s a deficit that no show would be able to overcome, no matter how good it is.
I was surprised to find that the audio track here is only in 2.0 instead of full 5.1. I was fully expecting a movie-like audio track to match the widescreen video. This is a show that was tailor made for surround sound as well, what with all the winds swirling around and the eerie happenings and all. The producers missed a golden opportunity by placing the audio in stereo only. The dialog on the track is occasionally hard to hear, with so much sound coming out of just two speakers. This is a completely adequate audio track, but it is most certainly nothing spectacular.
I was basically pleased with the quality of the video here. The images were crystal clear, with no problems with grain. Black levels were also nice, which is a big deal with a show that spends as much time in the dark as this one does. However, the colors are heavily skewed toward red, which really causes some odd flesh tones. I understand that this was probably an artistic decision to convey the heat of south Florida, but it just makes the show look a little too artificial for my tastes. There is also an occasional issue with the digital video being a little jumpy with fast moving objects. However, this is more of an annoyance than a major problem.
The best extra here is something that is usually a throw away on most releases. The missing scenes are extensive and interesting here, with 17 of the shoe’s 22 episodes having some sort of additional scenes. That’s a great track record for any release.
Invading the Mind of Shaun Cassidy is an interview segment with the show’s creator, as well as some members of the cast and crew. He discusses the major themes of the show, as well as his involvement in the creative process. The extras wrap up with the token gag reel. As is almost always the case, this segment is occasionally funny, but usually just filled with flubbed lines and missed cues. It may be funny on the set, but it’s actually pretty bland here.
I can’t imagine investing years of my life in a project, being pleased with how it came out, and then having it fail solely as a result of dumb luck. The risks are a little more apparent with a film such as World Trade Center, but I’m sure this show seemed like a pretty safe bet when it was in production. Nobody could ever have foreseen something like Katrina. Even, apparently, the federal government.
For those few of you that actually did see the show during its original broadcast, you will be pleased to find that this title looks great, and there are a surprising number of deleted scenes here to provide viewers with a little something new.