An invisible man can go anywhere – except a second season…
Long before he was Ducky Mallard on NCIS, even before he achieved genre fame as the mysterious Steel, David McCallum showed his sci-fi mettle in this short-lived but fondly remembered TV series. It’s very much a product of its time: think Steve Austin, but replace bionics with invisibility, and you’ve pretty much got the basics, even down to the amount that the ‘patient’ bitches and moans in the pilot about his predicament, but pretty much knuckles down to life as an agent once the series proper begins.
The stories are run of the mill adventures, with Westin doing all the things you’d expect of an invisible man, with help from his wife Kate (who of course is on screen far more than her husband!) and his boss, played by Craig Stevens in the episodes, after a rather gruffer version from Jackie Cooper in the pilot. The effects are a mix of blue screen (which, since they haven’t benefitted from the Restoration Team’s efforts to ameliorate them like contemporary Doctor Who releases, really stick out) and the sorts of tricks that were being used for the classic horror movies from the 1930s.
The series failed to gell with audiences, although NBC reworked the idea as the very short-lived Gemini Man the following season. It’s an interesting curio, and a good reminder that sometimes things you watched as a twelve year old don’t hang together as well as you’d like!
Verdict: If you’re a fan of the bionics-type shows, there’s a lot of fun here; otherwise, the pilot is by far the strongest segment. 6/10