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1975's The Invisible Man boasted some top TV talent - producers Harve Bennett (The Six Million Dollar Man, Rich Man Poor Man, Star Trek II), Leslie Stevens (The Outer Limits) and Steve Bochco (Hill Street Blues, McMillan and Wife, L.A. Law) and the other Man From U.N.C.L.E, David McCallum, with music by Henry Mancini - but still only lasted 13 episodes before being cancelled. It's certainly an enjoyable show but, like The Six Million Dollar Man, one that shows clear signs that the studio hadn't really made up their mind how to approach it when they went into production: while it doesn't have the three feature-length pilots with wildly differing tone and approaches that the bionic man did, there's a very noticeable move from the anti-authoritarian cynicism of the pilot episode to the subsequent series that sees our transparent hero part of a corporate family subcontracting to a benign government on impossible missions.

The pilot is easily the best episode, with a much darker tone tying in with the political paranoia of the day as McCallum accidentally discovers invisibility as a by-product of different commercial research and finds that boss and backer Jackie Cooper can't wait to break his word and sell it to the military. Add to that his phone being bugged and shadowy figures keeping watch on him and its no surprise that he wigs out and sabotages his invention, but not before temporarily rendering himself invisible. Only this time it turns out not to be temporary...

It's quite a bleak approach with much more emphasis on the characters. McCallum's scientist may not be dangerously mad but he's an unfocused character, mind rushing off in different directions, never thinking his actions through because he's already mentally racing ahead and subsequently driven by despair. By the end of the pilot the basic premise is established - in return for access to the resources he needs to find a cure he'll hire out to perform special assignments suited to his particular unique abilities - as is his fractious, mistrusting relationship with Cooper that's driven purely by necessity. Yet by the second episode the tone has lightened considerably as Universal tried to turn the show into an invisible Six Million Dollar Man. The backstory has been changed in the credit sequence - this time it was an accident rather than deliberate sabotage that destroyed the machine - and Jackie Cooper has been replaced by the more Oscar Goldman-like Craig Stevens, with McCallum and screen spouse Melinda Fee more of an undercover espionage version of McMillan and Wife, dispensing banter between dangerous assignments involving reluctant traitors, crooked truckers, penitent defectors, phoney psychics, corporate kidnappers, escaped madmen, card sharks and drug-dealing prison wardens. Yet if you can accept the sudden u-turn, it's a fun show, playing its fight sequences largely for laughs as heavies are winded or sent flying by invisible sucker punches or Ross Martin's randy but unconscious diplomat-cum-art thief is moved around like a puppet by our translucent hero.

Guest stars include Henry Darrow, Robert Alda, John Veron, Bobby Van, Nehemiah Persoff, Paul Shenar, Nancy Kovack, Farley Granger, Monte Markham and Oscar Homolka all but reprising his loveable Russian premier from an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E, this time evading assassination attempts from hard liners while in an American hospital for secret plastic surgery.

Perhaps it was all too similar to The Six Million Dollar Man and the producers' other shows to thrive in the ratings at the same time, with its small episode count keeping it out of circulation for years even in syndication. And sadly that indifference has carried over to VEI's disappointing US NTSC DVD release, which has extremely problematic picture quality with a lot of motion issues - that look as if every 18th frame or so has frozen that isn't so noticeable when someone is walking towards the camera but looks horrible staggered in panning or tracking shots giving it a kind of stop/start juddering every few frames on any horizontal movement in most episodes. Even if you can live with that, the picture quality isn't that good either - no remastering here. There's even a bad mid-shot layer change in the pilot that skips over a couple of words of dialogue. The only plus that can be said for the DVD is that, unlike the atrocious Blu-ray release from the same company that puts every episode onto a single disc and presents them in shoddy widescreen versions, at least it's in the original fullframe ratio. No extras either. By all accounts all the other edtions of this title released by other labels in Germany, Australia and the UK are apparently much better picture quality. Certainly the English language German Blu-ray, splitting the show over two discs and including both a shorter synicated version of the pilot and the uncut version as an extra, is much better quality with none of the motion issues despite a bit of visible noise reduction.
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*This review is for the Acorn Media (2013) DVD release*
After getting by with a sub-standard unofficial release of the series for the last few years, I was delighted to discover that this release has good picture & sound quality, along with English subtitles. The extras are filmographies of David McCallum, Melinda Fee, Jackie Cooper and Craig Stevens, along with a 1-minute picture gallery.

Broadcast from 1975/76, THE INVISIBLE MAN was a short-lived sci-fi/crime TV series made up of only twelve, 47 minute episodes (plus the pilot TV movie) which introduces Dr. Daniel Westin (David McCallum) who works for the Klae corporation which is run by Walter Carlin (Jackie Cooper - to be replaced by Craig Stevens in the series) which is involved in scientific research. While experimenting on inanimate objects and animals, Westin manages to make himself invisible, after which the doctor is portrayed as a victim. The subsequent series moves away from the dark tone of the pilot to a more light-hearted and humorous feel, with the invisibility angle sometimes humorously punctuating the more serious aspects of the show.

While often assisted by his lovely wife, Kate (Melinda Fee) Westin faces a variety of crimes, including the likes of political intrigue, kidnap, and a corrupt little town where even a minor violation can land you in big trouble. The series features a respectable line-up of guest stars, including Nehemiah Persoff, Scott Brady, Farley Granger, Loni Anderson, John Vernon and Henry Darrow. All the performances are good, with the regular cast embracing the change of tone from the pilot movie very well. After all these years the special effects still look good. This is solid albeit unspectacular 70s entertainment - good fun. Each episode is a stand-alone story which means the series lacks continuity, and a pity the series was cancelled before we could discover if the afflicted doctor managed to find a cure for his condition. For fans of 70s retro TV I would say this series is well worth a look. The Invisible Man [DVD]

Here is a list of the episodes (an episode synopsis is available on the IMDb)

*Pilot: The Invisible Man (70 minutes).
*The Klae Resource.
*The Fine Art of Diplomacy.
*Man of Influence.
*Eyes Only.
*Barnard Wants Out.
*Go Directly To Jail.
*Stop When Red Light Flashes.
*Pin Money.
*The Klae Dynasty.
*Sight Unseen.
*Power Play.
*An Attempt To Save Face.
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on 14 May 2012
I've always been a great fan of David McCallum, so I'm really glad that this series has finally been released. It's just a pity that it was so short-lived, with only 13 episodes having been made. It was entertaining enough, but perhaps it just wasn't getting the ratings.
In this version of 'The Invisible Man', David plays Dr. Daniel Westin, a scientist working for the KLAE Corporation, who stumbles upon a formula which can make him invisible. What he doesn't realise is that his research has, to date, been funded by the government and that the military would like to get their hands on the formula.
Veteran actor Jackie Cooper plays Westin's boss in the pilot episode which is much more serious than the rest of the series. Craig Stevens takes over the role for the other 12 episodes and his character is more good-natured. Melinda Fee plays Westin's attractive wife and fellow scientist Dr. Kate Westin.
The music was composed by the great Henry Mancini.
There is one minor problem with these discs. As mentioned by reviewer 'FRED' on Amazon.com, there is a very slight jerkiness to the actors' movements in some episodes, particularly episode 2. This really is unforgivable.
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on 19 May 2013
VEI made a bit of a hash of releasing this series on home video. The dvd's are faulty with a glitch at 50 minutes on the pilot and there are strange jerky movements on several episodes . Then they bodged the Blu-ray by cropping it to widescreen when most people wanted it in its original format. What made it worse was that some parts of the pilot were actually stretched and not cropped although I think the only stretched shot on the episodes is the opening shot of the Klae Corporation building . Despite the entire series being on one disc these are all genuine 1080p/24 and are not upscaled tosh ( like you'll get with the upcoming release of The Time Tunnel).
Finally VEI listened and remastered the Blu-ray in its correct ratio so now you can get it as good as its likely to ever be but you'll need to order on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca where VEI are marketplace sellers and buy direct as you can specify whether you want 16:9 or 4:3 . Even Amazons own stock was supposed to be 4:3 but I got 16:9 twice . The Bluray is great quality ( bar the video based effects scenes but thats impossible to change)and its got to be a better bet than either the Australian or UK dvd releases
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on 20 August 2016
This update of "The Invisible Man" has potential and benefits greatly from having David McCallum in the lead.
However, the final results are a right mixture. The pilot episode is very good and is the best of the bunch in my opinion. Jackie Cooper is better as the other male leading character than Craig Stevens. There is intrigue and imagination in the pilot episode: my favourite scene is where David McCallum has his disguise created.
The subsequent series is a bit of a disappointment with poor dialogue, lethargic plotting and rather mundane stories. Such a shame.
The special effects are good though and I thought it made a change from seeing a man in bandages all the time whilst invisible.
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on 25 December 2014
Brilliant series when it first came out. But typical USA TV they cancelled the series part way though its run. Such a shame it was a dam good programme. Anyway thanks for the DVD's. Watching them as and when I get a free moment.
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on 12 August 2014
I bought this for my son. I remember watching this series on television and we had been looking for it on DVD for a long time and so I was thrilled when it finally became available. My son was delighted to receive it!
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on 26 November 2012
If you remember David Macallum taking on HG Wells' titular transparent hero in the 70s then you're in for a treat.

All episodes of the original series are here. The first episode is frankly not brilliant picture wise, grainy and almost VHS like in places. But from ep 2 the pictures recover, and off we go.

Fairly nondescript packaging, which hides a tv gem inside.

I was surprised to learn from the credits that one of the writers was Stephen Bochco, of Hill Street blues and other dramas fame.
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on 21 February 2014
I was a big fan of the Claude Rains and Peter Brady versions of The Invisible Man and this 70s package doesn't disappoint.

The pilot episode is done well and the rest of the series doesn't disappoint.

A good buy.
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on 15 August 2014
This is the edition to have as each episode has the before the credits preview of each episode, these were not present on the u.s.a region 1 edition , also has some minor extras i.e. BIOS and filmographies.
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