Dark Sky Films continues its tradition of quality releases for odd and
obscure titles with their latest offering, the second, and last, season
of The Invisible Man. This British series from the late 50's
is an action/adventure show that is fairly entertaining, if a bit predictable.
If you enjoyed the first season, (reviewed here)
you'll want to pick this one up too.
Dr. Peter Brady is a scientist working in a government lab on problems
of light diffraction when he stumbles across a form of radiation that allows
him to make small animals invisible. While writing up the results
of his experiments a door to the radiation chamber accidently opens and
Dr. Brady is bathed in the mysterious rays, causing him to become invisible.
Now he works day and night to try to discover a way to turn himself visible
He doesn't get as much time to work on a solution as he'd like though.
Between government officials sending him on top secret assignments, solving
crimes, stopping spies and preventing a murder or two, Peter Brady is a
very busy man.
The second and final season of this crime drama/spy show plays a lot
like the first one. In each episode Brady has to stop a spy or solve
a crime. They add an international flavor to the series, courtesy
of whatever location shots they could find laying around the studio, by
having Peter jet around the world in order to help Her Majesty's government.
This set of shows has the transparent doctor going to the Mediterranean,
France, the Middle East and elsewhere.
The show only runs half an hour in length so the plots are pretty simplistic
and predictable. There just isn't a lot of time for intricate plots
or double crosses, and they play out pretty much as you would expect them
too. That doesn't mean they're bad, just that you can see what's
going to happen before the program actually reaches the climax.
Some of the better shows included in this set have Dr. Brady fighting
to stop a group of Nazi's who are trying to create an invisible army and
trying to locate a colleague who has created an anti-gravitation machine
and then vanishes. The best episode though occurs early in the season
when Brady is approached on a train by a woman who has escaped from a mental
hospital. She claims that she's sane but that there is a giant conspiracy
to drive her crazy. Add to the mix an innocent man on death row with
the clock ticking away and you have an interesting episode.
Like the first season, these shows have some good special effects for
the time. Though it is easy to figure out how they were done, it
is easy to suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the show. In addition
to the standard invisibility effects, doors opening by them selves and
objects on strings floating across rooms, they threw in a few new ideas.
There are a couple of times when Peter takes off his hat and allows someone
to see that not only is the top of his head invisible, but they can see
the there is nothing inside the bandages. A simple effect, but it
works very well. There are also some more grandiose effects that
took some time, such as the time a levitating mine detector makes its way
across a mine field on its own.
The thirteen episodes that make up the second season of The Invisible
Man are presented on a pair of DVDs that come in a single width keepcase.
This set comes with the original mono soundtrack, split into two channels,
a new 5.1 mix as well as mono French and Spanish tracks. I have to
admit that I like the two channel mono soundtrack a bit more than the 5.1
mix. The dialog is more crisp in the original. There is a bit
of hiss in the background but the level is low and it's not bothersome.
The 5.1 mix is just a bit more muddled than the mono track, and the major
difference is that the incidental music uses the full soundstage and is
much more forceful. The music is a bit too loud in some places, obscuring
the dialog, though this only happens rarely. Both audio tracks sound
very good for the age of this show though.
The full frame video has been restored and looks very good. There
is a good amount of detail and the lines are tight. The one area
that the image does fall down a bit is the contrast, it isn't as great
as it should be. Dark areas and night scenes are too dark, and black
areas come across as flat planes with no contours or details.
It's not a huge problem thankfully. The prints used are very good,
with very little in the way of damage. There are occasional spots,
but these are fairly rare. Overall a very nice looking set, especially
for a British show from the 50's.
There are no extras.
The Invisible Man is a solid crime show from the late 50's.
There aren't a lot of surprises or much suspense for today's viewers, but
the show has a certain charm to it that makes it fun to watch. The
audio and video quality is very good for a show of this age, especially
one that doesn't have a large following. If you enjoyed the first
season, this will give you more of the same. Recommended.