H.G. Wells' Invisible Man: Season 2 (1959)

The second series of this sci-fi show sees a move to action and spy stories, but a lot of repetitive episodes. Network UK R2 DVD release.

The Episodes

Complete Episode list and commentaries.

The Series

The second season of The Invisible Man followed quickly on after the sucess of the first and followed the same basic format, with the adventures of Peter Brady, a scientist who has accidentally rendered himself permanently invisible. While a lot of the first season episodes saw Brady playing private detective, the second season sees him frequently acting as a government spy; rescuing a writer from inside Russia, escorting an investigator into a Middle Eastern country to search for guns, and stopping endless attempts to sabotague or steal scientific research. Unfortunately this means that the writers have to come up with increasingly convoluted ways to write Brady into the storyline, and it often seems that it would have been simpler to dispense with the idea of having Brady as a research scientist at all, and have him join the military full time.

The beginning of the series is very disappointing, with all of the episodes seemingly identical - Brady poking his nose into a situation, charging in with no real planning, and always saving the day with a quick punchup or shootout - The Prize is the ultimate example of this, as Brady heads into Russia to free a writer who is being held at the border, despite the absurd risks involved and the potential for an international crisis, conveniently he even turns out to be an expert shot with a rifle and immune to sleeping gas. The White Rabbit is equally disappointing - starting with the very interesting premise - that someone else has achieved invisibility experiments (although with only temporary effects), but soon turning into a generic punchup; fortunately, the series picks up towards the end - Man in Disguise, Man in Power and The Rocket are nothing too original, but are well written stories. For the last two episodes in the series, writer Brain Clemens (best known for his work on The Avengers and Thriller) was brought in, who provides the most original story in the whole show - The Shadow Bomb, and the exciting final part, The Big Plot, that could really have used a two-part runtime.

The episodes have the same feel as those in season one, and the special effects still look as good, although some of the more elaborate tricks from the first series are not repeated here - more obvious than the effects shots is the use of often very grainy stock footage for the various episodes set overseas. The main cast is the same, although the more far flung settings of most of the stories means that Brady's sister Diane 
and his niece Sally make only a few brief appearances. As usual, a mix of famous, and soon-to-be famous character actors appear throughout the season, including Andrew Keir, André Morelle, Barbara Shelley and Anton Diffring [see the episode pages for a complete list].

The second season of The Invisible Man is about as enjoyable as the first, with a selection of good episodes, but many that are just predictable and generic. More focused on military and spy stories this time round, the series should appeal to fans of the various action and adventure shows of the 1960s. Partially Recommended.

In brief:

Anyone famous in it? Although none of the series regulars are well known, a selection of well known and soon-to-be well known character actors appear throughout the series. The episodes page has a full listing.
Directed by anyone interesting? Two relatively little known British directors worked on the series:
Peter Maxwell - an otherwise unknown British television director.
Quentin Lawrence - director of the British sci-fi The Trollenberg Terror (1958) and some early Hammer films.
Any violence? Several people are killed, and there are some guns and fistfights, but nothing by modern standards - although the opening of Gun Runners is surprisingly shocking.
Any sex? None
Who is it for?
Fans of 1950s sci-fi, and the early adventure and action TV series should certainly enjoy this.


Visuals Original Aspect Ratio  - 1.33:1. Black and White.
The picture quality is generally good (the series was shot on 35mm film) with minimal grain and good detail (although the stock footage shots are often noticably lower in quality). There is some lighting speckling throughout and occasional jumps in brightness in a couple of the episodes. Always watchable.
Audio Original English Dolby mono - sounds fine.
Subtitles None
ExtrasThe discs include:
  • Newly recorded audio commentary from episode writer Brian Clemens and Ray Austin (who directed various British television series) for The Shadow Bomb. Contains some interesting information, but is often just friendly banter and could have used a moderator.
  • Stills photo gallery (presented as a video file, with no soundtrack).
More bonus features are included on the Season 1 discs.
Packing Only available in a limited edition 4-disc boxset, along with Season 1.
Region Region 2 - PAL
Other regions? Also available in the USA from Dark Sky Films, includes a lower print quality and without the bonus features.
Cuts? The episodes are believed to be fully uncut and are the original UK television prints.



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All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 10th July 2007.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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