Top secret. In 1944 an alien craft crashlanded, 97 of those on board held in close captivity ever since. In many respects they resemble humans, but never seem to age. How many escaped from the crash scene, have now infiltrated every major aspect of America's life? Are they preparing for full-scale invasion? Top brass become increasingly paranoid.
Caught up in it all is former computer hacker Sean Walker, whose fiancee Leila has suddenly gone missing....
An intriguing central theme leads to 22 episodes full of excitement, great special effects, genuine surprises, traitors unmasked, unexpected alliances, divisions at every level.
A triumph then? Sadly no. In several respects things could have been better done. This is admitted in a frank bonus feature, the series brought to a pause after Episode 10 to allow a major rethink. Amongst other matters, it was conceded the flashbacks that clutter early episodes seldom added anything of worth, they instead generally confusing and an irritant.
Acting has also been criticized. It certainly varies. Be assured though there ARE strong performances, especially from Laura Innes ("ER") as alien leader Sophia, and veteran Hal Holbrook as enigmatic James Dempsey (whose final act somewhat mystifies).
Admittedly Jason Ritter as Sean is not in conventional heroic mode (tall, rugged, lantern jawed, etc.), but he is not meant to be - his character deliberately out of his depth as events spiral out of control, he yet rising to formidable challenges. Many would surely argue his role is all the better for this.
No second season, fans left on tenterhooks - studio heads having proved a greater threat than the aliens.
Here is a series with faults, but it does not deserve to be dismissed out of hand. DVD is the best way to see it - over fourteen hours of drama, complete with commentaries and other bonuses. Certainly worth a look, especially if offered at a bargain price.