Contains mild spoilers only
It was such a long time since I had last seen The Invisible Man (2000-2002), aka I-Man. I think this was at least 15 years or something. Reason was that I only had the first season on DVD and I was waiting for the second season to be released on DVD. Well I think this is never going to happen, but I was looking through my stuff, what I recorded back in the day and I was very pleasantly surprised I had the hard drive on which I recorded the entire second season! The PQ wasn’t that good, but I decided it was worth it to watch it one more time.
In my opinion, I-man is one of Syfy’s (at the time of release it still was named SCI-FI Channel) most successful original programming in terms of quality. It is a big fat shame it only lasted two seasons. Luckily it doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger, some things are resolved but mostly the show remains open. Back in the day even Syfy created 20+ episode seasons, so also with this one, first season contains 24 episodes, including a 2-hour pilot. The second season had 22 episodes. Something you nowadays no longer see on Syfy.
The premise in short, Darian Fawkes, a thief, who has been caught for the 3rd time which means life in prison. But in exchange for becoming a guinea pig for a federal agency, where a gland is put into his brain (by his brother), which can make him invisible. For most of the series, Fawkes is trying to get this gland removed because of unwanted side effects.
Like most, with this show the cast is the reason this show was so successful. Only 5 lead characters in the first season and they have so much chemistry together but one on one there is also much chemistry, it’s so much fun to watch. Like Fawkes (Vincent Ventresca) and Hobbes (Paul Ben-Victor), well-oiled machine, constantly bickering but they become friends and they count on each other. But also the keeper, Claire (Shannon Kenny) and Fawkes or Claire with Hobbes, the chemistry is all there, it’s so authentic. Eddie Jones is the Official, the boss of the Agency, his direct assistant Eberts (Michael McCafferty) , also these two play well off each other. (Eberts? Yes Sir…Shut Up Eberts) Eddie Jones is great in this, he definitely shows he is enjoying himself with this part. There is one episode where a Chinese delegation comes to the Agency and they also have an “Official” and an “Eberts”, this was hilarious! (Episode 2.18 – The Invisible Woman). These characters really make this show better, as I said, a well-oiled machine, it’s like a family.
In season 2 another character was added, Alex Monroe (Brandy Ledford). I remember back in the day, I was kind of excited because not only is Brandy a very capable actress, but she’s also a beautiful woman who easily plays a strong woman, probably because she is. But ultimately she did not really made an impact on the show, not sure why, perhaps the stories weren’t as exciting, perhaps because she was added to a group of actors whom already made a strong connection between one another. Somehow she never really gelled in my opinion, which was a shame. On IMDb it says she was there in 17 episodes out of 22 but I really feel it was (far) less. I didn’t remember that from my last viewing which of course was a long time ago, but it did bug me a bit with this rewatch.
There were a few recurring characters which are worth mentioning, Joel Bissonnette was Arnaud De Fehrn, he was the bad guy but he always did this with a lot of humor, I thought this was very well done. As a viewer you never really get to dislike Arnaud, but still you know he is Fawkes’ adversary. Spencer Garrett is Jason Stark, he is the head (at least what we see) of Chrysalis, an organization the Agency fights against. This is the main story-arc over both seasons, right up to the series finale. Of course I also have to mention Armin Shimerman who plays Augustin Gaither in 3 episodes. Of course we know Armin Shimerman as Quark from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
As I just said, the main story-arc was the fight against Chrysalis but of course there was another story-arc which was very important to the main character of the show. Darian Fawkes was desperately trying to get the gland removed from his brain but because it did have a lot of side effects. I think this was the red line throughout the series. If he didn’t get his counteragent shot in time, he could go quicksilver madness. Although I think most fun is the relationship between Fawkes and Hobbes, I think the relationship between Fawkes and the Clair the Keeper, is the best thing of this show on an emotional level. He really is dependable on her for giving the shot and she genuinely wants to help Darian remove the gland and they genuinely care for each other.
Especially with this rewatch I appreciated the character Claire Keeply much more than in earlier (re)watches. I think she is one of the best characters. I also adore Hobbes, he is so much fun, mostly unintentional, which makes is so fun to watch. His character sometimes is on the brink of a caricature but Paul Ben-Victor plays it so well, I think he is a great actor.
The best episodes: Well this is hard, but I’ll try to name a few, because there aren’t many bad ones. Season 1: Episode 17 – Flowers for Hobbes – where Hobbes actually gets very smart. Episode 20 – Diseased - Where Darian gets a cold (with Mark Shepherd). Episode 20 – The Lesser Evil – Allianora returns and tries to convince Darian to join Chrysalis. Episode 24 – Money for Nothing P2 – Where Fawkes gets a bit naughty when he is at stage 5 of quicksilver madness.
Best Episodes Season 2: Episode 2 – The Camp - Where new team member Alex Monroe is introduced. Episode 3 – Where Eberts joins Hobbes and Fawkes on a mission. Episode 16 – The Three Phases of Claire – This very well could be my favorite I-Man episode. Thought Shannon Kenny did a terrific job here, she is the main focus of this episode. Episode 21 – Enemy of my Enemy – where Arnaud is captured by Chrysalis. Also strong performance of Shannon Kenny.
There only are two episodes which I thought where mediocre at best, both season 2 episodes. Episode 5 – Going Postal – Where Fawkes, Hobbes and Alex Monroe go undercover at the Post office and episode 11 – Germ Theory – Darian cuts himself and develops an infection. Both where unremarkable to me.
Physical Media and or streaming services:
Well only the first season has been released on DVD in the period 2003-2008 or something. For some reason the second season did not get a release, probably has to do with rights, I believe the second season is produced by a different company than season one. I don’t think we will ever see a second season on physical media. I don’t think it is streaming anywhere but I am not sure, I checked Amazon Prime and Netflix but where I live at least, but it’s invisible! 😊 I do see it on NBC.com, not sure if you are actually able to watch it there.
Final Word: I remember I was surprised when The Invisible Man got cancelled because I seem to remember it was quite popular but that is only a feeling I still have after 20 years. It was kind of an expensive show with these special effects. It is a shame it is so hard to actually get to see this show because it deserves to be remembered, it’s a fun show. But only the first season is available on DVD, also only in some countries so you would only be able to see first season. If you do get the chance, watch it (again), I guarantee you, it’s a whole lot of fun!