“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 (New International Version)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers seems to be remade every generation. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Body Snatchers (1993) and now Invasion (which might as well be Invasion of the Body Snatchers: The Series). Considering that the original was a thinly-veiled political commentary on the fear of communism, I wonder what anxiety this current iteration will tap into. Perhaps the fear of a government out of control.

Created by Shaun Cassidy (The Agency, the cult classic American Gothic), Invasion unfolds the story of a small town, Homestead, at the edge of the Florida Everglades besieged by a hurricane and strange goings-on. The hurricane opener that sets all subsequent events into motion has a special resonance in light of recent events and tragedies, and apparently covers the landing of aliens. A U.S. Park Ranger, Russell Varon, played by Eddie Cibrian (Third Watch) tries to keep his family together while investigating what is happening within his town. Cibrian plays essentially the same character he did in Third Watch (I keep expecting someone to call out “Jimmy”), without the character flaws that made him a more interesting character. Standing along side his conspiracy loving brother-in-law (Tyler Labine), they are threatened by a gathering of sinister forces both military and alien.

At the heart of the series is a tangled web of relationships. Russell is married to Larkin (Lisa Sheridan), a TV reporter. His ex-wife, Dr. Mariel Underlay (Kari Matchett), is now married to Sheriff Tom. The two kids bop back and forth between the two couples. The community begins to clean up and put their lives back together, cut off and under siege by quarantine and martial law, led by William Fichtner (Go, Crash) as Sheriff Tom Underlay, continuing Cassidy’s usage of sinister sheriffs (like the anti-Andy Griffith from American Gothic. In fact, Fichtner seems to channel Gary Cole’s character, oozing menace every time he’s on the screen).

In a lot of ways, Invasion plays out like the movie Signs: an alien invasion story set against the backdrop of how it impacts a family. Like any family, they don’t quite fit together well and are trying to figure out the balance of tolerating and relating to one another; and this is before the aliens come a-visiting. Invasion follows the hit show Lost, guaranteeing a potentially large audience pre-primed for this type of show. Invasion, however, doesn’t have the show device of flashbacks to flesh out and deepen the story, so it doesn’t have the luxury of the week-to-week leisurely hinting that Lost does and it’s plot will have to move with greater speed to sustain its audience (or it may go the way of HBO’s Carnival).

“How can you explain the unexplainable?” Mayor Littles (Holmes Osborne)

One of the things that horror as a genre does so well is examine the fears that we all live with. The fear of evil, of death, of monsters, be they inhuman or entirely too human. That is the basis of the spiritual implications of the show. We have this sense that things aren’t as they should be, that people aren’t who we think them to be. The people we k now and love being … different. Looking the same on the surface but being strangers underneath. “Are there monsters?” Varon’s daughter asks, and the answer is a resounding “yes.” With Invasion, those monsters are both without and within. The monsters, the extra-terrestrial biological entities, represent the unseen power that we suspect lurk around us, are a part of our everyday lives even if we don’t realize it. I think part of our suspicions have fueled the rise in the belief in both angels and aliens in our pop cultural consciousness. We have a sense, and we work it out in our art, that we do indeed struggle against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.

“It’s like part of me is here. Another part, a different part, is pulling me away.” Dr. Mariel Underlay (Kari Matchett)

Yet, we look around us, seeing the evil that people are capable of completely on their own and realize that part of this same battle is fought inside us. Turning out gaze within, we know that there is an evil that lurks within us, that is a part of us with which we also struggle against. Invasion captures the reality of us struggling against our own flesh (our inherent weakness as human beings) as well as powers beyond us. We forget who we really are, what we were created to be, and are left as lost, bewildered, and stumbling through this life as those infected by the alien presence.

“God’s in charge. I just handle the paperwork.” Sheriff Tom Underlay

A mix of horror and science fiction, Invasion is a great companion for Lost. It’s a very good s how with a strong cast and a great storyteller behind it. It’s subtle, not in your face, with the groundwork laid for an intriguing series. Especially if you remember, like Lost, it’s less about the mystery and more about the people.