Created by Shaun Cassidy

Written by Shaun Cassidy, Juan Carlos Coto, Michael Alaimo, Becky Hartman-Edwards and others

Starring Eddie Cibrian, William Fichtner, Kari Matchett, Lisa Sheridan, Tyler Labine, Alexis Dziena, Evan Peters, James Frain, Elisabeth Moss, Aisha Hinds and Ariel Gade

This 2005 science fiction show lasted for one season of 22 episodes on the ABC network before it was cancelled. It was broadcast immediately after the ratings hit ‘Lost’, but failed to hold onto the audience for that show. It was put on hiatus twice, eventually being broadcast over a period of 34 weeks between 21 September 2005 and 17 May 2006. The average audience numbers per episode was in the region of nine or ten million.

A hurricane leaves a small Florida town called Homestead cut off afterwards. Many people in the town went missing during the storm and when they turn up again they start to behave strangely. Dave Groves (played by Tyler Labine), a beer-drinking conspiracy theorist, believes it is the work of aliens. He involves his sister’s partner, Russell Varon (Eddie Cibrian), the park ranger, in his theories. Varon’s former wife, Mariel Underlay (Kari Matchett), a doctor at the local hospital, is married to the local sheriff, Tom Underlay (William Fichtner, in a fantastic performance). These people, and their children, have an uneasy relationship, which becomes increasingly strained when Varon begins to investigate further and becomes concerned about the sheriff’s suspicious behaviour.

It’s a variation of ‘Invasion Of The Body Snatchers’. The story unfolds quite slowly, although not unduly so, and allows plenty of time to explore the lives of the main characters, who are all interconnected by family ties, but equally are in conflict because of these ties. It’s nicely written, with very good production values and excellent acting.

On first viewing I found Larkin Groves (the character played by Lisa Sheridan) rather irritating. That dissipated when I watched the episodes again. Whilst I was baffled first time around by her insistence that Eddie put the safety of their unborn baby above that of his two children from his first marriage, her seemingly selfish and sometimes unreasonable behaviour made more sense second time around. It is also interesting to contrast the reasoning of various characters for investigating the strange happenings taking place around them.

Dave is driven by the fact he is convinced he has found proof of the existence of extraterrestrials - and this obsesses him. Eddie is concerned about the town. Tom (the sheriff) also claims the safety of the people is his first priority, but the motivation for his actions often suggests a hidden agenda, and he and Eddie are constantly at loggerheads. Larkin is an ambitious news journalist working for the local television network. She begins to independently investigate the strange occurrences, hoping for a journalistic scoop. Although she talks about being concerned for the safety of her family, it is not, initially at least, the real reason for what she does. It can also be said that Eddie’s suspicions about Tom, the husband of his former wife and, therefore, the stepfather of his two children, is as strong a reason for his actions as any concerns about the town itself.

The premature cancellation of the show was a shame. It would have been interesting to find out where creator Shaun Cassidy intended to take the story. However, it still works very well as it is and the ending is actually rather satisfying.

One last thing of note, unimportant as it may be, Rose Varon (played by Ariel Gade, who is also featured in the film ‘Dark Water’), the youngest child of Eddie Varon and Mariel Underlay, is surely the cutest child ever seen in a television show.

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