Invasion’s setting is one tiny Florida town in the aftermath of a hurricane. The town’s creepy Sheriff Underlay (a wonderful William Fichtner) knows more than he’s saying about the freaky lights that arrived with the hurricane and are now swimming mischievously around the Everglades. Underlay is married to Mariel (Kari Matchett), ex-wife of Park Ranger Russell (Eddie Cibrian), who’s grown suspicious of Underlay’s grip on the town. Rightly so, because the hurricane has changed a lot of townsfolk. It has, in fact, turned at least two of them amphibious: In one uncanny scene, a bathing Mariel submerges herself in the water, smiling up as an air bubble floats to the surface.
The series could move more quickly — after nearly two months on air, we’re not far along storywise, and, um, does Mariel find it alarming that she can now breathe underwater? Still, creator Shaun Cassidy (the former heartthrob who also created 1995’s eerie American Gothic) has plenty of enticing layers at work. Invasion applies the imagery of transformation and infection to the modern family: Mariel and Russell, both remarried, are shuttling their kids between houses. Mariel’s infection makes for an unsettling parable about alienation between former spouses (you could say she’s really changed since remarrying) and blended families (my stepdad isn’t just a jerk, he may be an extraterrestrial). Anyone who likes a good government conspiracy theory can’t fail to notice it’s the town’s sheriff leading the pack of new infectees — with the help of the local priest. Church, government, community, and family are all suspect in Invasion’s tiny town, where even apple pie seems ominous.