The Invisible Man (2000 TV series)

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For the 1958 series starring ??, see The Invisible Man (1958 TV series).
For the 1975 series starring David McCallum, see The Invisible Man (1975 TV series).
The Invisible Man
Alt=Series titles over city vista at night
Pilot episode titlecard
Created by Matt Greenberg
Developed by Carlton Prickett
Breck Eisner
Starring

Vincent Ventresca
Paul Ben-Victor
Eddie Jones
Shannon Kenny
Mike McCafferty

Brandy Ledford
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 46 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 60 mins
Broadcast
Original channel Sci-Fi Channel
Original run June 9, 2000 – February 1, 2002

The Invisible Man (also shortened to "The I-Man") is a Sci-Fi American television series starring Vincent Ventresca, Paul Ben-Victor, Eddie Jones, Shannon Kenny and Michael McCafferty. Somewhat more successful than previous television series involving invisible secret agents, it aired from June 9, 2000 to February 1, 2002, lasting two seasons.

The plot revolves around Darien Fawkes (Ventresca), a thief facing life imprisonment who was recruited by a low-rent spy organization and given the power of invisibility via implantation of a special "Quicksilver gland" in his head. The gland allows Fawkes to secrete a light-bending substance called "Quicksilver" from his pores and follicles. The substance quickly coats his skin, hair, nails and clothes and renders him invisible. He can consciously release the Quicksilver, which then flakes off and disintegrates. However, the Quicksilver gland was sabotaged at its creation by scientist Arnaud DeFehrn to release a neurotoxin that accumulates in the bloodstream and causes intense pain, followed by antisocial behavior and psychosis. The host requires regular doses of "counteragent" to keep him sane and healthy, which is controlled by said government agency. This series lasted for two seasons, before being cancelled due to cost issues and internal bickering between the Sci Fi Channel and its then-parent company, USA Networks. The show's first season ran concurrently in first-run syndication as well as on Sci Fi.

Plot[edit]

The Invisible Man is both an action show and a comedy with plenty of buddy-cop elements.

Episodes were generally of two types. Many dealt with cases given to Fawkes and Hobbes by The Agency. These usually dealt with assassinations or government experiments that had run amok. During the first season, The Agency was given a nemesis agency called Chrysalis which was usually behind that week's conspiracy.

Alternatively, episodes dealt with Fawkes' quest to remove the gland from his head and reduce his dependency on the counteragent. His unorthodox methods included reviving the mind of his dead brother and periodically contacting Arnaud DeFehrn, one of the gland's creators, though these encounters usually ended with one of the two in pain. The agency considered the gland too great an asset to remove so Fawkes' personal quest usually brought him head to head with those in power.

Episodes usually begin with a voice-over with Fawkes who would open with a quote, usually from a famous person, and commentary about what he was currently thinking. The voice over would reemerge at the end of the episode to sum up Fawkes' opinion on the mission or allow him to voice lingering questions.

Episodes[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Episode Original airdate Title
1.01/1.02 June 9, 2000 "Pilot, Parts 1 & 2"
1.03 June 16, 2000 "The Catevari"
1.04 June 23, 2000 "Ralph"
1.05 July 7, 2000 "Tiresias"
1.06 July 14, 2000 "Impetus"
1.07 July 21, 2000 "The Devil You Don't Know"
1.08 July 21, 2000 "Liberty and Justice"
1.09 August 4, 2000 "The Value of Secrets"
1.10 August 11, 2000 "Separation Anxiety"
1.11 August 18, 2000 "It Hurts When I Do This"
1.12 August 25, 2000 "The Other Invisible Man"
1.13 September 8, 2000 "Reunion"
1.14 September 15, 2000 "Cat & Mouse"
1.15 September 22, 2000 "Beholder"
1.16 January 8, 2001 "Ghost of a Chance"
1.17 January 15, 2001 "Flowers for Hobbes"
1.18 January 22, 2001 "Perchance to Dream"
1.19 January 29, 2001 "Frozen in Time"
1.20 February 5, 2001 "Diseased"
1.21 February 12, 2001 "The Lesser Evil"
1.22 March 23, 2001 "Money For Nothing, Part One"
1.23 March 30, 2001 "Money For Nothing, Part Two"
1.24 April 6, 2001 "It's a Small World"

Season 2[edit]

Episode Original airdate Title
2.01 April 13, 2001 "Legends"
2.02 April 20, 2001 "The Camp"
2.03 April 27, 2001 "The Importance of Being Eberts"
2.04 June 15, 2001 "Johnny Apocalipse"
2.05 June 22, 2001 "Going Postal"
2.06 June 29, 2001 "Brother's Keeper"
2.07 July 6, 2001 "Insensate"
2.08 July 13, 2001 "Den of Thieves"
2.09 July 20, 2001 "Bad Chi"
2.10 July 27, 2001 "Flash to Bang"
2.11 August 3, 2001 "Germ Theory"
2.12 August 10, 2001 "The Choice"
2.13 August 17, 2001 "Immaterial Girl"
2.14 August 24, 2001 "Father Figure"
2.15 September 7, 2001 "A Sense of Community"
2.16 September 14, 2001 "The Three Phases of Claire"
2.17 September 28, 2001 "Exposed"
2.18 January 4, 2002 "The Invisible Woman"
2.19 January 11, 2002 "Mere Mortals"
2.20 January 18, 2002 "Possessed"
2.21 January 25, 2002 "Enemy of My Enemy"
2.22 February 1, 2002 "The New Stuff"

Characters[edit]

The following is a list of characters featured in the American science fiction series The Invisible Man. This list may not list characters that have only made guest appearances.

Main characters[edit]

Darien Fawkes (Vincent Ventresca)
Darien Fawkes is a former career criminal and catburglar, who gained multiple misdemeanor convictions and two felony convictions before he was thirty. Darien is described as having an "above-average intellect", and capable of being very deceptive. After their father left them, (it is later learned that their father was a sniper for the government and after his cover was blown, he left his family in order to protect them,) and their mother died, brothers Kevin and Darien were taken in by their aunt and uncle on a farm. While Kevin followed in their uncle's footsteps and played with test-tubes, Darien followed in what he thought to be his father's footsteps and played with locks and was stealing since at least his teens. After being caught because he stopped to give CPR to a heart-attack victim, under California's three strikes law he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. This was where his older brother, Kevin, stepped in.
Kevin was a research scientist who had been working on a top-secret project, and cut a deal with his bosses to get Darien out of prison in exchange for using him as a test subject. When Darien agreed, he was then implanted with the Quicksilver gland, but Kevin's rush to remove Darien from prison meant that he implanted the gland before devising a way to remove it without killing Darien. One of the other scientists, Arnaud DeFehrn, was actually a terrorist that had infiltrated the project, and led an attack on the research facility that caused Kevin's death and the loss of most of the project research. Darien escaped but was unwillingly drafted into The Agency, who had funded the project.
In exchange for the counteragent he needed to stay sane, Darien agreed, albeit reluctantly, to being an agent under their employment. Upon working with The Agency, Darien develops an affinity for his co-workers and opts to continue working there even after his dependency on counteragent was reversed by Claire.
He has high morals for a career criminal – he could have easily escaped after his final break-in except he surprised the elderly owner into a heart attack, and stayed behind to perform CPR (unfortunately, the officers who caught him and the elderly man himself thought he was molesting the latter). He is a highly talented thief with expert-level breaking and entering skills, learned from his many incarcerations, and finds these skills quite useful in his new career as an espionage agent. His trademark expression is "Oh, crap.", usually said when he realizes he just got himself in trouble, although he also has a habit of quoting various other sources at least once in each episode (Albeit in the form of a voiceover).
On one occasion, Darien was briefly possessed by the personality of Simon Cole, the previous owner of the gland, after Cole's residual RNA took over his body thanks to the imprint of his personality left in the gland, causing Darien to see Cole when he turned his eyes invisible and briefly act as him. Darien later attempted to use this 'quirk' of the gland to transplant his brother's RNA into his mind so that Kevin could work out a way to remove the gland or fix the quicksilver deficiency, but Kevin was unable to cure the madness and chose not to arrange for the gland to be removed as he felt it made Darien a better person.
Due to the gland, Darien has various powers beyond being able to simply turn invisible; he can turn his eyes invisible and see in infrared, his body temperature lowers to a point where he can cool drinks while invisible and escape heat-seeking weapons, he can turn others invisible so long as he remains in contact with them, and he can even turn parts of his body invisible while leaving the rest of him fully visible (Allowing him to, for example, pretend to be a double-amputee to infiltrate a hospital, or turn his head invisible to give the impression that he has killed himself to catch enemies off-guard).
Robert Albert Hobbes (Paul Ben-Victor)
Robert "Bobby" Hobbes is one of the agents working for the Agency, easily the most experienced and thus their most highly capable asset in the field, right next to Darien's invisibility powers. He is given Darien as a partner when Darien joins the Agency. At the start of the series, Hobbes has been at the Agency for several years, as The Official hired him when his quirks and mild manic depression had gotten him tossed out of every other government intelligence agency. Despite the Agency being his last chance at government work, Hobbes feels underappreciated there, receiving very little pay and being sent on mostly unfavorable missions. Despite his mistreatment at The Agency, he displays a strong loyalty towards it as displayed by his unwillingness to accept a position at the FBI for a higher salary.
His relationship with Darien begins somewhat badly, with Darien being new to undercover missions and frequently blowing their cover while nevertheless earning far more than Hobbes, but they eventually become close friends, shown willing to sacrifice their lives for each other on several occasions. They often banter with each other, much to the annoyance of those around them. Hobbes seems to enjoy using guns, constantly carrying at least one on his person at all times. He frequently pulls it out and threatens people with it, often referring to it as his "insurance policy". He frequently refers to himself in the third person, which is often mistaken for abject arrogance. He is a former Marine who served in Operation: Desert Storm, and in addition to his Marine Corps hand-to-hand combat training, is also an expert in the Korean martial art Hapkido, although in one episode he describes his skill as a "Grand Master of Wu Shu", trained by the CIA. In more than one episode, Hobbes has disarmed and knocked out as many as three armed combatants. Hobbes displays signs of extreme, sometimes comical paranoia in most cases, acting as if the world is out to get him. He frequently runs background checks on people he's suspicious of, and is not above stalking people to see if they are up to anything. Being trained by the FBI and the CIA, he is excellent at spying and information gathering, both of which only serve to make his paranoia worse.
Charles Borden a.k.a. The Official (Eddie Jones)
Charles "Charlie" Borden is the long-time head of The Agency. Most of his background is unknown, due to Borden's flat refusal to divulge information about himself to his agents (for instance, Darien first learns Borden's name upon hearing two U.S. Marshals place Borden under arrest). He has been the head of the Agency for an indeterminate time, but it is insinuated from photographic evidence that he has served in this capacity since at least the Kennedy administration. He typically expects his orders to be carried out with no argument to the contrary from Darien, Hobbes, or Claire, usually dismissing any of their questions or concerns out of hand or after only brief consideration. The Official is concerned with two things above all else: carrying out the missions he is entrusted with- despite his frustration at the constantly shifting nature of the Agency's funding due to their low budget- and keeping an eye on the Agency's bottom line.
Albert Eberts (Michael McCafferty)
Albert Eberts came to the Agency from the IRS, and serves as both assistant to The Official and the Agency's bookkeeper. He usually conducts Darien and Hobbes' briefings, frequently going into more detail than The Official deems necessary and being told: "Shut up, Eberts." He is highly skilled in the use of computers and also displays a proficiency in martial arts.
Claire a.k.a. the Keeper (Shannon Kenny)
Claire is The Agency's resident medical doctor and researcher, and was a minor researcher on the team that did preliminary work for developing the Quicksilver gland. She is responsible for monitoring Darien's health and compiling data on long-term usage of the gland. She is also the one who mixes and administers the counteragent serum. She does not particularly care for Darien at first, possibly because he reminds her of Kevin (who she had been romantically involved with before his death) although eventually she and Darien become friends; Claire even risks her career to cure Darien permanently of Quicksilver Madness. There are hints of romantic tension between her and Hobbes. Although the character is consistently played with an Australian accent throughout the series, her accent is described by Hobbes as being "British" on multiple occasions.
Alex Monroe (Brandy Ledford, season two)
Alex Monroe is an addition to the cast in the show's second season. She is a federal agent working for the Agency, and is regarded as one of the finest agents overall. In addition to her skills as a deep cover operative, she is an avid martial artist and amateur profiler, skills that she has used to build a strong network of friends and spared enemies who frequently supplement her resources at the Agency with top-of-the-line equipment. She has top security clearance and is the sole agent that has her own office in the Agency. In doing so, she initially earns the ire of Bobby Hobbes, who covets the comparatively lavish budget and equipment that she enjoys. This eventually expands into a full blown rivalry between the two, though it later becomes more friendly as their respect grows. Before the end of the series, she fully trusts Hobbes as a reliable back up in any mission, particularly after Hobbes demonstrates his proficiency in next generation surveillance equipment and shows superior marksmanship. She has a personal vendetta against a group called "Chrysalis", who used her as a surrogate mother to produce a genetically engineered son. After birth, they took her son, and she has been looking for the group ever since. She eventually finds the baby but then decides to let his biological mother (Jarod Stark's wife Eleanor, the former being also the baby's biological father) keep it, sensing her feelings about him to be genuine and her wishing to defect from Chrysalis (though, unbeknown to the Agency, the latter is untrue). Even after this, Alex decides to stay with the Agency.

Minor characters[edit]

Arnaud DeFehrn (Joel Bissonnette)
Terrorist and primary antagonist of Darien Fawkes, being responsible for implanting him with the Quicksilver madness – a defect he included in the gland to give him control over all invisible men – and killing his brother. Later on he developed his own version of the gland without the defect of quicksilver madness, but this version was improperly implanted and rendered him permanently invisible, forcing him to wear a life-like mask cloned from his own tissue to pass for normal. He is approached by Stark who agrees to have the gland removed in exchange for him helping them use the gland for Chrysalis's own purpose, but eventually escapes. He appears in 9 episodes.
Jarod Stark (Spencer Garrett)
The charismatic leader of a branch of the mysterious Chrysalis organization.
Allianora (Idalis DeLeón, season one)
One of Chrysalis' top agents. Through bio-modification she has gained the ability to breathe water and regurgitate it under pressure, making her capable of drowning people with a kiss. She is killed by Stark in the season one finale after she saves Darien from drowning and in the process betrays Chrysalis. It is implied she received the modifications to save her life and there is much romantic tension between her and Darien, culminating in her betraying Chrysalis to help him.
Kevin Fawkes (David Burke)
Darien's brother and the developer of the Quicksilver gland, he personally implanted the gland into his brother's brain. He is murdered by Arnaud DeFehrn, but appeared in a later episode as part of a plot by Arnaud to trick Darien into thinking he'd survived. Later on, Kevin's memory RNA was injected into the gland– essentially resurrecting him in Darien's body– in the hope that he would be able to figure out a way to remove it, but he declined, believing that the gland made Darien a better person. Despite their different lifestyles, the two appeared to be fairly close, with Kevin stating that he selected Darien as the test subject for the gland because he didn't trust anyone else with it.
Thomas Walker/Augustin Gaither (Armin Shimerman)
Formerly a (rather amoral) scientist working for the fictional Secret Weapons Research Bureau, the same government facility that helped Kevin Fawkes develop the Quicksilver gland. He volunteered as a test subject for one of his own projects, only to see it fail. The failure rendered him "insensate", meaning he was robbed of his senses – save for his sense of touch on the tips of two fingers. It also induced a psychotic break; he forgot his previous life as a practitioner of human experimentation and instead constructed an identity as "Tommy Walker" (after the protagonist of The Who's album Tommy, a blind deaf mute) a relatively harmless technician who was used as a test subject as punishment for arguing with Gaither. With his remaining sense he was able to construct what he refers as a sensor array strapped onto his chest that enables two of his dysfunctional senses – hearing and vision – to function in a crude but useful manner, allowing him to perceive the world as "lights and shadows", and hear sounds as "loud and soft".

David Burke (Kevin Fawkes) and Armin Shimerman (Thomas Walker) also starred together in the short-lived The Tick live action series.

The Agency[edit]

The Agency is a U.S. government espionage and special operations agency, but one that is extremely secretive – so much that it doesn't have a proper name. Charlie Borden (known as "The Official"), the director of The Agency, explained that the organization takes on cases that the other agencies "can't, won't, or don't". References in the show point to the Agency as being a "Cold War relic", which makes it likely that The Agency was founded during that time.

The most curious characteristic of The Agency is how it keeps being "absorbed" by Federal Departments that are completely unrelated to intelligence. During the first season, The Agency was a division of the fictional federal "Department of Fish and Game." In the pilot episode, it was explained this was due to the fact that at the time the Department of Defense was having budget cuts while the DFG had a surplus of money.

During the second season, The Agency changed departments several times, having been absorbed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services, and (very briefly) the United States Postal Service before settling in the fictional Bureau of Weights and Measures. All of this led to a running gag in which Hobbes and Fawkes are never taken seriously as federal agents, since their identifications always include their department name.

Invisibility concept[edit]

The series' concept of invisibility is explained through the existence of "Quicksilver", a silver-colored synthetic hormone presumably created by Kevin Fawkes and his team of scientists and put inside an artificial gland through the "Project Quicksilver" under the codename of Project QS-9000. When secreted, the substance is initially liquid, but slowly solidifies over the surface of objects "like Saran wrap" (as explained by Kevin), at which point it "bends" light that would normally reflect in the covered surface before refocusing it behind the object. As a result, the object becomes gradually invisible to the naked eye in a matter of seconds.

After the gland's implantation on Darien's brain, its secretion can be jumpstarted by the acceleration of his heart rate and the excretion of adrenaline, triggered by the sensation of fear or tension, although he eventually learns how to control its flow and to consciously secrete it through intense body training. As Quicksilver does not reflect light, it does not absorb it either; this drops the covered surface's temperature "below freezing;" however, it serves to insulate Darien against the extreme cold or heat. It is also stated that Darien can suffer from "premature visibility" if he gets distracted or loses focus on remaining invisible, and extreme adrenaline surges can affect his control over the gland (in one instance, for example, Darien had to abstain from engaging in sexual activity as his body would automatically secrete Quicksilver during the adrenaline surge). When in control of the process, Darien has demonstrated the ability to turn only parts of his body invisible, such as quicksilvering his eyes so that he can see in the infrared spectrum, turning his head invisible to lure his enemies into close range by making it appear as though he has shot himself, or concealing his arms or legs so that he could pass as a handicapped person for investigative purposes.

In addition, Darien acquires other invisibility properties such as "quicksilvering" other objects and even persons (like he does to Hobbes in "Cat & Mouse"). He is also able to "see" objects or persons rendered invisible (as shown in "Money For Nothing, Part 2", when he can see Arnaud covered with Quicksilver). This property is explained by the fact that Quicksilver can absorb other types of radiation, such as infrared and ultraviolet, despite not reflecting pure light itself (which explains why quicksilvered persons can be detected on thermal imaging sensors or lenses). When he was temporarily blinded by an assassin's blindness-inducing weapon, Darien was not only able to limit the damage by automatically turning invisible when the weapon hit his eyes- thus giving his vision a chance to heal where others exposed to the weapon were permanently blinded-, but, while his natural eyes were recovering, he was able to coat his eyes in Quicksilver and use that as a substitute visual cortex.

Quicksilver Madness[edit]

The main drawback of the Quicksilver gland is the periodic "Quicksilver Madness": a flaw engineered by scientist Arnaud DeFehrn causes the gland to leak Quicksilver into the brain of the host, leading to a breakdown of higher cortical function, initially leading to a lack of inhibition. The eyes become bloodshot and short bursts of pain result, but the host maintains most control over his behaviour. However, as the situation progresses, the pain becomes more severe until the host enters the "Madness", at which point it seems to cease, but the host begins to exhibit violent behaviour accompanied by apparently vastly increased physical strength, pain tolerance, and possibly even resistance to injury, as his "darker impulses" are released. The whites of the eyes become completely red at this stage.

In the two-part episode "Money for Nothing", Darien has his counteragent confiscated by The Official as a way to force him into handing over the cash stolen from Arnaud's casino. This results in Darien entering a higher stage of Madness called "Stage 5" (implying that the Quicksilver Madness had at least four phases so far). In this stage, the whites regain their normal color, but the irises become silver due to leak of Quicksilver through the host's lacrimal ducts. This stage leads to a complete loss of inhibitions, as well as psychotic behaviour, constant euphoria and megalomania, although the host seems to regain ability to plan and focus, which is lost at the lower stages. This stage is significantly more difficult to reverse, requiring specialized counteragent. It is stated that if Stage 5 Quicksilver Madness is not reversed within approximately 12 hours, its effects will probably become irreversible.

To prevent Darien from going into Quicksilver Madness, his Quicksilver levels are "monitored" by a tattoo of a snake devouring its own tail divided into segments, placed in his arm by Claire. When Darien has a fresh supply of counteragent, the snake is completely green, but it becomes progressively red as the Quicksilver saturates Darien's body (spreading faster when Darien turns invisible), allowing the Agency to keep track of his Quicksilver levels. Over time, Darien's body became increasingly resistant to the counteragent, but Claire was eventually able to discover a formula that Arnaud had developed which permanently cured Darien of the Madness by the end of the series.

On one occasion, Claire was able to turn the gland off with a special injection, thus preventing quicksilver seeping through Darien's body, but this procedure was of limited effectiveness as prolonged suppression of the quicksilver could have triggered a cerebral haemmorage and killed Darien.

Sources[edit]

Although initially assumed to be a completely artificial creation, the source of Quicksilver was revealed in the second season as originating from the corpse of a sasquatch- AKA Bigfoot-, with the creature having escaped detection due to its ability to turn invisible. An attempt to capture a Bigfoot for analysis subsequently proved fruitless, although it was revealed that the Quicksilver gland gives off pheromones that allow it to attract other Sasquatches (Although this is particularly dangerous since the gland is genetically female, with the result that Darien faced being sexually assaulted by a male Bigfoot before he escaped).

Broadcasters[edit]

Country Alternate title/Translation TV network(s) Series premiere Weekly schedule
Austria Austria ORF
Australia Australia Network Ten
Brazil Brazil O Homem Invisível Globo March 9, 2001 Fridays, at 11:00 a.m.
Canada Canada Space, syndication
Croatia Croatia Nevidljivi čovjek Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT)
Czech Republic Czech Republic Neviditelný Muž Prima
Egypt Egypt الرجل الخفي Channel 2 Daily 9.00 p.m.
Finland Finland Näkymätön mies MTV3 2002 Sundays, at 10:00 p.m.
France France TF1
Germany Germany RTL 2
Greece Greece O Αόρατος Άνθρωπος Star Channel
Hungary Hungary A láthatatlan ember RTL
Italy Italy Italia1;Rai 4 July 13, 2004; July 29, 2011 Monday to Fridays 02.00 a.m. ; Monday to Friday 18.50
Lithuania Lithuania Nematomas Žmogus Tango TV Monday to Fridays 7.00 p.m.
Malaysia Malaysia TV3
Netherlands Netherlands SBS
New Zealand New Zealand TV3
Russia Russia Человек-невидимка CTC, TV3 Russia, AXN Sci-Fi
South Africa South Africa SABC 3
Slovakia Slovakia Neviditeľný Muž STV 1
Turkey Turkey MyMax Monday to Fridays 08.30 p.m.
Ukraine Ukraine Людина-невидимка ICTV
United States United States Sci Fi Channel June 9, 2000 Fridays 10:00 p.m.
United Kingdom United Kingdom Sci Fi Channel Weekdays 19:00 p.m.

DVD releases[edit]

The Invisible Man was released for Region 2 as a two-part collection in March and April 2003. The Invisible Man – Season One was released as a complete Region 1 DVD set on March 25, 2008.[1]

The Region 1 release, however, contains the alternate version of "Money for Nothing, Part II," (where Hobbes attempts to take Darien into custody) instead of the episode that the fans had chosen (where Hobbes joins forces with Darien). No explanation has been issued for this, and may simply be included on the second Invisible Man DVD release, as it was in the release for the UK.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Invisible Man DVD News

External links[edit]