In the words of Roman Craig, if the one-season ABC sci-fi show Invasion dropped out of the sky, fell on your face and started to wiggle, you probably wouldn’t know it. Somehow, this fantastic show never gathered the audience it should have before it reached cult status on DVD.
But apparently the actors are getting their revenge by botching everything they touch since then. The stars of Invasion, unwittingly or not, are ruining TV left and right. It’s got all the makings of the Curse of Ted McGinley, concocted by the Jon Hein and the guys at Jump the Shark. It could pass poor Ted by Thanksgiving. He can’t even be the best curse!
It’s now the curse of Invasion, and it even could be powerful enough to torpedo a television classic and one the buzziest shows of the new season. And just in case you think I’m exaggerating, I’ve included their IMDB links for you to examine yourselves.
Eddie Cibrian (played Russell Varon): BEFORE INVASION: He had a nice little career going, starring in the mildly successful Third Watch and the ESPN poker drama Tilt when he took up roots on Invasion as Russell, the patriarchal heart-and-soul of the show. AFTER INVASION: He can be forgiven because his stint in the FOX serial drama Vanished (his first gig after Invasion) was doomed from the get-go. But he was to star in the high-concept, high-expectation Footballers Wives adaptation on ABC this fall. Then all of a sudden, ABC axes the show not just to be retooled, but to be destroyed altogether. ABC paid a boatload to get the rights to make an adaptation of the BBC show, so to just abandon it entirely takes a special circumstance. Like, say, a curse.
William Fichtner (Sheriff Tom Underlay): BEFORE: My favorite character actor maybe ever may have been at his very best in Invasion as the town sheriff and resident alien teacher. Plus, he showed up in small but memorable parts of Go, Armageddon, Perfect Storm and as my favorite of Brett Butler’s boyfriends in Grace Under Fire. AFTER: Guilt by association, starring as the crazed, pill-popping FBI agent Alex Mahone chasing after Michael Scofield and the boys in Prison Break. He came in during the second season — right when it went into the toilet. It’s probably not his fault. But we can’t say it isn’t. He also starred in the case study of how-bad-a-movie-can-be (Ultraviolet) while filming Invasion. He’s got a small role in Dark Knight next summer, so let’s hope the curse ends before then.
Ivar Brogger (the priest at the local church): BEFORE: Eh, not much. AFTER: Had a small role in Dreamgirls, which shockingly was snubbed at the Oscar nominations this year.
Lisa Sheridan (Jordan Groves): BEFORE: Five of the shows she guest starred on before Invasion are or were some of the biggest hits on TV (CSI, Without a Trace, The Practice, Monk, Las Vegas). AFTER: She made a pilot called Conspiracy that never saw the light of day. In two years since Invasion left, all she has to show for it is a one-time guest starring role on The 4400.
Alexis Dziena (Kira Underlay) BEFORE: Full-frontal naked posing for Bill Murray in Broken Flowers. Hey, everyone has to start somewhere! AFTER: Nothing, so far, other than a guest spot on One Life to Live, where she’s billed as “pretty girl.” Are you kidding me?!?!?! But she’s got a couple movies coming, one with Russell Crowe, another with Macaulay Culkin and Eliza Dushku. I could care less about Crowe, and Culkin was already a goner. But if she pulls down Dushku with her, I’ll be angry. Really, really, really angry.
Tyler Labine (Comic fat guy Dave Groves, Larkin’s brother): BEFORE: Nothing much, but there is evidence to suggest he may be the one guy free from the Invasion curse. AFTER: He had a five-episode arc on Boston Legal last year, then somehow, the show preposterously was nominated for Best Drama at the Emmys ahead of Friday Night Lights, Lost and The Wire. There’s luck there somewhere. Good thing, because Labine has a major role in the fall CW show The Reaper, one I’m looking forward to.
Kari Matchett (Dr. Muriel Underlay): BEFORE: Invasion was her first real American Show. AFTER: Like Pigman said in PCU, “THIS IS MY CLOSING ARGUMENT!!!” In just six months, Matchett deep-sixed three high-profile TV shows. TNT medical drama Heartland isn’t coming back for a second season, and it only made nine of its 13-episode run. She came into Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip too late to have any impact on it, good or otherwise, but the fact that she had a recurring role on TV’s biggest failure of the 2006-07 season is saying something. Then she did the unthinkable — she nearly killed 24. In what was easily the worst season of the venerable TV show, she was the major player in the second-worst B-story of any season of the show as the vice president’s girlfriend who was inadvertently giving away government secrets to the Russians (Kim’s mountain lion still ranks #1). Her mere presence seems to bottom out any show, and it’s all been since Invasion left the air. Now comes the news that she’s suiting up for ER this year. If ER takes a nosedive, she has to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for most shows ruined in 12 months (she didn’t show up on Studio 60 until January ’07, right around the premiere date of 24).
That’s fair warning. If ER tanks and The Reaper fails, I’ll start really touting this thing.