'The Invisible Man: Season One'
(Vincent Ventresca, et al / 5-Disc DVD / NR / (2000) 2008 / Universal)
Overview: Jamie Sommers (Michelle Ryan, EASTENDERS) lives an average life as an average woman, but a horrific car crash upends her quiet existence. Scientists have saved her life, but she is now the less-than-proud owner of high-tech body parts that give her incredible strength and speed. Volume one contains the first part of the show's first season.
DVD Verdict: In 1897 H. G. Wells wrote his now classic novel, The Invisible Man. And over the years, there have been numerous attempts to bring this series to the big and small screens alike. The most popular, however, has been the series that premiered in the year 2000 on the Sci Fi Channel - and at long last, Universal has released it on DVD.
The series follows a thief who is a repeat offender - and is given a life sentence following his latest caper. The only way he can get out of life in jail is to participate in a government experiment, which he opts to do. Through this experiment, he gains the ability to become invisible.
This new version of the 'Invisible Man' is arguable the finest adaptation of the old Wells story to a visual medium. The modern update of the tale is a fast-paced one that beautifully combines action and comedy elements alike. With a talented cast that includes Vincent Ventresca, Paul Ben-Victor, and Eddie Jones, the series always entertains.
While this is an interesting premise, especially at a time when The X-Files was ruling the sci-fi television ratings, in (ultimate) truth 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 be 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'!
This DVD transfer does the show justice. The widescreen presentation is bright and clear, with no major visual issues to speak of. Audio is equally impressive. THIS is the way TV shows on DVD should look and sound!
The five-disc set features all 23 episodes of the show's first season. The episode list is as follows: Pilot, The Catevari, Ralph, Tiresias, Impetus, The Devil You Know, Liberty and Larceny, The Value of Secrets, Separation Anxiety, It Hurts When I Do This, The Other Invisible Man, Reunion, Cat and Mouse, Beholder, Ghost of a Chance, Flowers for Hobbes, Perchance to Dream, Frozen in Time, Diseased, The Lesser Evil, Money For Nothing (two-parter), and It's a Small World.
The special features are a bit on the limited side, but I'm grateful Universal at least included SOME of them here. The main extra feature is a sit-down with the show's creator/executive producer, Matt Greenberg. It's interesting to listen to his comments on the series, but this featurette will likely leave you wanting more. Commentary is provided for the two-part pilot episode, which features Greenberg, as well as series star Vincent Ventresca and series director Breck Eisner. Finally, if you just can't get enough Invisible Man, a bonus episode from the second season has been included.
One of the most entertaining sci-fi television series of recent years, and arguably the best port of the H. G. Wells story to a visual medium. If you're a fan of the series, or science fiction in general, go for it. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Commentary by Creator-Exectutive Producer-Writer matt Greenberg, Director Breck Eisner and Series Star Vincent Ventresca
A Sit-Down with Creator and Executive Producer matt Greeberg
Two-Hour TV-Length Pilot
Bonus Season Two Episode: 'Legends"