Unlike series creator Matt Greenberg, who admits on the special features of The Invisible Man: Season One to not liking movies about the invisible man, I have always loved the concept. I’ve read H.G. Welles’ original novel, which I consider to be one of his best, and I loved the original movie with Claude Raines.
Part of what makes Welles’ classic so great is not the kitchiness of a guy running aroudn who cannot be seen. Rather, it’s the psychological impact the invisibility has on a person that makes the original book so powerful.
Greenberg uses this concept a little bit in his series The Invisible Man, but he really never has the insight to get to the deep level of human psychology in the show. Instead, The Invisible Man turns into a buddy cop series that has the sci-fi spin of a guy who can turn invisible.
The series begins with a cat burglar named Darian Fawkes (Vincent Ventresca) who is facing life in prison. His brother comes to him one day with an offer – be a guinea pig for some experiement and receive a full partdon. The experiments endow Fawkes with an artificial gland that secretes a substance called quicksilver which envelops his body and bends light around him.
While this is an interesting premise, especially at a time when The X-Files was ruling the sci-fi television ratings, it never quite gels. I’ll admit that they use the invisibility throughout the shows to be more than just a cheap super power. Much of the mediocrity of this series can b attributed to Ventresca, who can’t break out of the Fun Bobby image he made in Friends.
The series was made before the TV-on-DVD phenomenon really took hold, so it still follows that week-to-week one-shot format. Were it made several years later, it could have given us a nice ongoing series. Instead, the show remains too episodic and nothing more than a quirky buddy cop show with some special effects that were cool circa 2001. But still, it’s better than Hollow Man.
The DVD comes with commentary from Matt Greenberg on select episodes and a bonus episode from Season Two. There’s also a new sit-down discussion with Greenberg about how he developed the show.
THE UPSIDE: Good for fans of late-90s sci-fi TV.
THE DOWNSIDE: Fun Bobby just doesn’t cut it as the Invisible Man.
ON THE SIDE: The quicksilver effects were cool back in the early 2000s.