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October 13, 2015

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.

InvasionThere 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.

InvasionHow 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.

InvasionWho cares?
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!]

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Threshold was a big favorite of mine, as I had just gotten my HDTV tuner and for whatever reason it looked so much better than the other two. Surface just felt a bit to "Seaquest DSV"-like for me. I really enjoyed Invasion as well.

I just wish one network would not take the "me too" bait and wait 2-3 years before launching a copycat of the "new hotness" on TV. Looks like this year was the search for the ER audience, as if if you like one medical show, you will search our anything remotely like it.

December 02 2009 at 10:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I too watched all 3... Surface and Invasion I watched with the wife and Threshold by myself...but Surface and Invasion were better.

I think surface sucked you in faster then invasion but i think invasion could have had a longer run. Where were they going to go once flooded (was it the whole coast or just a small area).

December 02 2009 at 5:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really liked "Invasion" and thought it deserved better than it received from both the audience and ABC. I also thought the lead actress, Kari Matchett, was absolutely wonderful and deserved an Emmy nom for her outstanding turn as Dr. Underlay. She's also the one I thought would have been ideal as the new Jamie Somers in the remake of "The Bionic Woman" instead of casting someone who looked like a teenager.

December 01 2009 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Of Invasion,Threshold,& Surface I found Surface the most intriguing.Invasion simply took forever to develop for me,Threshold was pedestrian & it was the series I most looked forward to seeing when I read about its premise.The irony here was that Surface was the show that had only mild interest for me & became the one I liked the best.

December 01 2009 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

Invasion should not have been Cancelled. It was a very good and well written Sci-Fi show with loyal viewers. But loyal viewers mean nothing to Network programmers.

December 01 2009 at 3:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jeff N.'s comment

I've been watching repeats on the Sci-Fi Channel and I love it! I wish it had a chance to gain an audience. I can only imagine where the story would have gone had it been given a chance to actually tell it's story. It really is too bad that it does not have a proper ending. This is another reason why I'm weary of investing in new shows on network tv. The suits there have no foresight.

December 01 2009 at 4:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sir Yuck-Yuck

out of those 3, I was more of a Threshold watcher

November 30 2009 at 11:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really liked all three of those shows ('Surface','Threshold', & 'Invasion',) and I miss them all. The biggest reason they failed, though, was that these three shows were too similar: Small group of easily identifiable characters battle an otherworldly conspiracy. They probably ended up dividing the audience share too much for any of them to survive.

Of all of the three, 'Surface' was my favorite.

November 30 2009 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sigh. I loved all three of those shows. I was furious when they didn't make it. What happened on Surface? I wanted to know more about the ice forest and spiders on Threshold. And Invasion just was creepy. But awesome.

November 30 2009 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this was a great show... i watched all three too, and agree this was the most compelling of them. too bad none are left, cause i'd still be watching whichever ones were.

November 30 2009 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cress d

Yeah, I watched Invasion. I liked it and thought it had some really good, tension-filled episodes. Fichtner was awesome in this show.

November 30 2009 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cress d's comment

Anything with Fichtner gets a view by me.

November 30 2009 at 8:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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