Picks and Pans Review: The Invisible Man

updated 07/03/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/03/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

SCI Fl Channel (Fridays, 8 p.m. ET)

Show of the week

The Invisible Man traces its roots all the way back to the oft-adapted 1897 story by H.G. Wells, but this is a surprisingly fresh take on the now-you-see-him, now-you-don't tale. Vincent Ventresca stars as Darien, a career thief forced to play guinea pig in a secret government program. In the early-June premiere, scientists equipped Darien with a synthetic gland that enabled him to become invisible—the better to sneak among villains and thwart them. But there's a side effect: Darien has to be injected with a "counteragent" every several days, or his eyes turn horror-movie red and he behaves like a kill-crazed beast.

Hmm. I just read that over and it doesn't sound so promising. Still, the first two outings were a diverting mix of humor (much of it provided by Paul Ben-Victor as Darien's disgruntled partner), action and philosophy (Darien quotes Nietzsche and Santayana). Be warned, though: By the third episode, the protagonist was taking himself a tad too seriously.

Bottom Line: Keep it in sight

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