The second season of The Invisible Man
followed quickly on after the sucess of the first and followed the same
basic format, with the adventures of Peter Brady, a scientist who has
accidentally rendered himself permanently invisible. While a lot of the
first season episodes saw Brady playing private detective, the second
season sees him frequently acting as a government spy; rescuing a
writer from inside Russia, escorting an investigator into a Middle
Eastern country to search for guns, and stopping endless attempts to
sabotague or steal scientific research. Unfortunately this means that
the writers have to come up with increasingly convoluted ways to write
Brady into the storyline, and it often seems that it would have been
simpler to dispense with the idea of having Brady as a research
scientist at all, and have him join the military full time.
beginning of the series is very disappointing, with all of the episodes
seemingly identical - Brady poking his nose into a situation, charging
in with no real planning, and always saving the day with a quick
punchup or shootout - The Prize
is the ultimate example of this, as Brady heads into Russia to free a
writer who is being held at the border, despite the absurd risks
involved and the potential for an international crisis, conveniently he
even turns out to be an expert shot with a rifle and immune to sleeping
gas. The White Rabbit is
equally disappointing - starting with the very interesting premise -
that someone else has achieved invisibility experiments (although with
only temporary effects), but soon turning into a generic punchup;
fortunately, the series picks up towards the end - Man in Disguise, Man in Power and The Rocket
are nothing too original, but are well written stories. For the last
two episodes in the series, writer Brain Clemens (best known for his
work on The Avengers and Thriller) was brought in, who provides the most original story in the whole show - The Shadow Bomb, and the exciting final part, The Big Plot, that could really have used a two-part runtime.
episodes have the same feel as
those in season one, and the special effects still look as good,
although some of the more elaborate tricks from the first series are
not repeated here - more obvious than the effects shots is the use of
often very grainy stock footage for the various episodes set overseas.
The main cast is the same, although the more far flung settings of most
of the stories means that Brady's sister Diane and his niece Sally make
only a few brief appearances. As usual, a mix of famous, and
soon-to-be famous character actors appear throughout the season,
including Andrew Keir, André Morelle, Barbara Shelley and Anton
Diffring [see the episode pages for a complete list].
The second season of The Invisible Man
is about as enjoyable as the first, with a selection of good episodes,
but many that are just predictable and generic. More focused on
military and spy stories this time round, the series should appeal to
fans of the various action and adventure shows of the 1960s. Partially Recommended.
Anyone famous in it?
none of the series regulars are well known, a selection of
well known and soon-to-be well known character actors appear throughout
the series. The episodes page has a full listing.
Directed by anyone interesting?
Two relatively little known British directors worked on the series: Peter Maxwell - an otherwise unknown British television director. Quentin Lawrence - director of the British sci-fi The Trollenberg Terror (1958) and some early Hammer films.
Several people are killed, and there are some guns and fistfights, but nothing by modern standards - although the opening of Gun Runners is surprisingly shocking.
Who is it for?
Fans of 1950s sci-fi, and the early adventure and action TV series should certainly enjoy this.
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33:1. Black and White. The
picture quality is generally good (the series was shot on 35mm film)
with minimal grain and good detail (although the stock footage shots
are often noticably lower in quality). There is some lighting
speckling throughout and occasional jumps in brightness in a couple of
the episodes. Always watchable.
Original English Dolby mono - sounds fine.
The discs include:
Newly recorded audio commentary from episode writer Brian Clemens and Ray Austin (who directed various British television series) for The Shadow Bomb. Contains some interesting information, but is often just friendly banter and could have used a moderator.
Stills photo gallery (presented as a video file, with no soundtrack).
More bonus features are included on the Season 1 discs.
Only available in a limited edition 4-disc boxset, along with Season 1.
Region 2 - PAL
Also available in the USA from Dark Sky Films, includes a lower print quality and without the bonus features.
The episodes are believed to be fully uncut and are the original UK television prints.
The second season is as enjoyable, but equally as flawed as the first. Partially recommended.
Generally good looking and
sounding prints with an interesting audio commentary exclusive to
this edition. The commentary alone is not worth the upgrade from
previous DVD releases, but the newly restored print quality might well