Gone Too Soon: Invasion
by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 30th 2009 5:01PM
After the breakout success of Lost in 2004, the following year saw three big-budget attempts at science fiction series with dense continuity. Unfortunately, it also saw those three series ultimately fail to hang on to their viewers, through internal problems or network mismanagement, and fans were left with three frustrating cliffhangers.
While they were allowed to complete more episodes than many series that followed them, I suspect this trinity of cancellations is a big reason current TV viewers are nervous about jumping on board complex shows with intricate continuity and details.
I watched Surface, Threshold and Invasion that season, but always found myself much more involved with the stories and drama unfolding on the latter of the three. Despite Katrina-related sensitivity due to its hurricane-themed opening, Invasion did an amazing job of building tension during a possible alien infiltration. V could learn a thing or two from this show.
What was it?
[Spoiler Warning!] In the wake of a terrible hurricane, the citizens of Homestead, Florida discover that they've got much more than a massive clean-up to deal with. The hurricane itself was the cover for an alien infiltration, seen as lights in the sky by some locals. As the series progressed, people were going into the water and coming out changed.
There were elements of Invasion of the Body Snatchers in the sense that as the series progressed, you found yourself wondering who was a human and who was something else. Just what that something else was turned out to be a major part of the series, as one of the main characters discovered that she was no longer herself, and had gone through the transformation experience in the water.
Unfortunately, what exactly was going was never fully resolved. In the end, four pregnant hybrid women were dragged into the water to give birth, as was a mortally wounded Larkin. She was still fully human, but also pregnant, so what would that mean? With Tom, who's been a hybrid since '96, now siding with what could only be called the resistance, there were so many directions things could have gone.
Why did it have to go?
Thanks to the juggernaut that was Lost going into its second season, Invasion was able to launch with an impressive 17 million viewers. When ratings dipped to 10 million by the end of November, ABC yanked the series until January. However, ratings slipped into the nine million range for three episodes in January and the series never recovered or regained any of its lost audience.
How do I find out what happens next?
Tyler Labine revealed to TV Guide that creator Shaun Cassidy had plans for his character to go commando and join forces with Russell against Tom. Tom's first wife, who died in the plane crash that led to him becoming a hybrid, would turn out to not only still be alive, but be in charge of the military compound near Homestead.
Beyond that, nothing has really been said, and perhaps Cassidy stopped developing the concept once he knew his run was up. It's a shame that the deal to move the show to The CW didn't go through, nor did Syfy pick up the series. I wouldn't mind a comic continuation, as we're seeing with Jericho, but it seems as if Invasion missed that trend by a year or two.
Where did the cast wind up?
- Eddie Cibrian (Russell Varon) has been making the rounds through TV series like Vanished, Samantha Who? and Ugly Betty before his latest stint on CSI: Miami as Jesse Cardoza.
- Kari Matchett (Dr. Mariel Underlay) continues to have prominent guest roles on shows like 24, ER, Leverage and Crash among others.
- William Fichtner (Sheriff Tom Underlay) went onto a major role on Prison Break as Alex Mahone. More recently, he's been seen on Entourage as Phil Yagoda.
- Lisa Sheridan (Larkin Groves) went on to a recurring role as Dr. Theresa Sanchez on former "GTS" spotlight show Journeyman, and continues guesting on various series like Saving Grace, The Mentalist and NCIS.
- Tyler Labine (Dave Groves) hit a chord with die-hard fans on the gone-too-soon Reaper as Sock. He brings the same type of character to his new FOX project, Sons of Tucson in 2010.
- Alexis Dziena (Kira Underlay) went through daytime soaps and Australian TV before landing a role on Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist, and ultimately appearing as Ashley on Entourage.
- Evan Peters (Jesse Varon) has appeared in various TV series like Without a Trace, Monk, House and most recently as Jack Daniels on One Tree Hill.
- Ariel Gade (Rose Varon) continues working as a child actress in movies and television, including AVP: Requiem, NCIS and Meteor.
- Aisha Hinds (Mona Gomez) has been very busy indeed, appearing in countless series like Prison Break, Hawthorne, Dollhouse, True Blood and Desperate Housewives.
- James Frain (Szura), aside from various guest starring roles, starred as Thomas Cromwell on The Tudors.
- All actors not mentioned have great careers in television and movies -- or can super-size that for you for a small additional charge.
There aren't any fan clubs or anything like that on the web for Invasion, so it looks like its just you and me. It's kind of interesting, because I know a lot of people who really liked the show, but there just wasn't that fanatical following that you see on a lot of science fiction shows. Maybe it was because of the post-Lost science fiction boom, but sci-fi fans are usually much more enthusiastic about their genre shows than Invasion ever saw.
When can I see it?
You're on your own for scheduling time to watch Invasion. For now, your only option is to buy Invasion: The Complete Series on DVD, featuring all 22 episodes. I'd recommend diving into it during the holiday hiatuses this season, so you can see a great alien invasion series and then hold V to a higher standard when it comes back in March.
[via Wikipedia, IMDb and more!]