The Lost phenomena might be one of the best things to happen to television. Cookie cutter cop shows (and I really like Law & Order) have dominated the airwaves for far too long. I think people got sick of stories that wrapped up too neatly at the episode’s end.
The ABC show Lost (along with Desperate Housewives) helped to reinvigorate the season-long plot-lines that made watching television shows week after week interesting and relevant. ABC tried to use the formula again with Invasion, a show about water-based extraterrestrials infiltrating Homestead, a small Florida town, told through the eyes of the one extended family, and had mixed results.
The show starts with the touchdown of Hurricane Eve onto Homestead, with images and dialogue reminiscent of any disaster flick. But there is no climax in the pilot episode because the show needs to build the tension and the most terrifying thing to happen in a thriller is for it to climax too early. So the first few episodes of the show just wade in the water, trying to establish characters, their relationships, the setting, and the context.
Tom Underlay (William Fichtner), the town sheriff, coordinates the hurricane relief efforts. He’s married to the hospital’s chief doctor, Mariel Underlay (Kari Matchett). She used to be married to a park ranger named Russell Varon (Eddie Cibrian), and they share two children Jesse (Evan Peters) and Rose (Ariel Gade). Russell is currently married to Larkin Groves (Lisa Sheridan), a local television reporter. Her brother Dave (Tyler Labine) lives with them. Tom has a daughter from his previous marriage Kira (Alexis Dziena). Doesn’t this seem like one big happy family?
The family’s complicated nature parallels the complicated nature of the town in the aftermath of the hurricane. When strange things start to happen, it’s no wonder that no one tries to look for the answers. If problems exist in the home, the town’s state and well-being become less important. Everyone is preoccupied with the cleanup and relief work that no one sees the significance of the strange occurrences like the lights that accompanied the hurricane and remain near the water, the townsfolk who are found naked in the water seemingly unharmed by mother nature, and the slow town restoration process — including a town quarantine — spearheaded by the town sheriff.