Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"Invasion" Reviews Praise Tommy Schlamme

Reviews of "Invasion", directed by Tommy Schlamme

NY Daily News:
" Right now, writer Cassidy and director Thomas Schlamme - the brilliant "West Wing" veteran freed up after last year's "Jack & Bobby" - aren't saying. But they're hinting about extraterrestrials and conspiracy theories and offering enough "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" overtones to make "Invasion" a potentially compelling sister series for "Lost."

Gannet News
"A savage storm batters little Homestead, Fla. Stick around, though. "Invasion," filmed long before Hurricane Katrina, has rich depth. Writer-producer Shaun Cassidy (whose wife is from Homestead) offers layers of destruction. There is the storm and divorce and maybe some aliens. All swirl together in the year's best new show. Cassidy — yes, the former pop star — is a wonderful writer and has the brilliant Thomas Schlamme ("West Wing") directing. Eddie Cibrian stars as a park ranger divorced from a doctor and married to a TV reporter. He has two kids and a goofy brother-in-law who imagines an alien invasion. Or is he imagining? This is the kind of show that mixes fantasy and intelligence in all the best ways."


"Invasion” plays its cards pretty close to the vest in tonight's pilot, cannily directed by Thomas Schlamme (“The West Wing”) — no creepy creatures (just the now-standard alien “goo”), no fancy high-tech hints.

Unlike this season's other new network spookfests, Cassidy bases his premise's deepest disturbances in human (or non-human) behavior, by characters who actually resemble flesh-and-blood (or other corporeal elements) people. Take away the apparent “War-of-the-Worlds” overtones, and you'd still have a pretty interesting saga. Layering such unnatural proceedings into the family-drama format only intensifies both story angles when you do it right. And Cassidy has, with strong casting, solid structure and a fine feel for what's most frightening. If Mommy suddenly doesn't seem right, all's wrong with the universe."

News Leader:
"Writer-producer Shaun Cassidy (whose wife is from Homestead) offers layers of destruction. There is the storm and divorce and maybe some aliens.

All swirl together in the year's best new show. Cassidy — yes, the former pop star — is a wonderful writer and has the brilliant Thomas Schlamme ("West Wing") directing."

Knight Ridder:
"The special effects are cool, director Thomas Schlamme (who created the visual template for "The West Wing") gives the show a rich atmosphere, and the "gotchas" are genuine jolts. But it all takes a back seat to making us care about Groves, park ranger Russell Varon (Eddie Cibrian from "Third Watch"), Varon's kids (Ariel Gade from "Dark Water" is particularly good as Rose Varon) and Grove's sister, Larkin (Lisa Sheridan), who is a TV reporter."

Boston Globe:
"Tonight's episode, smoothly directed by Thomas Schlamme (''The West Wing"), arrives with extra baggage, of course, now that Hurricane Katrina has left permanent scars on the Gulf Coast. The bulk of the hour is set amid gale-force winds, flipping cars, and broken trees in a southern Florida town, and viewers who've watched Katrina coverage may find these images hard to enjoy. It's not exploitative TV -- the pilot was filmed long before Katrina -- but, at moments, the similarities to recent tragedy make it hard to get lost in the fictional adventure. Next week, presumably, the distraction of real-life parallels will fade."

"Veteran Writer/Producer Shaun Cassidy, and celebrated Director Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing) bring you the suspenseful tale of a blended family that finds itself at the center of a conspiracy designed to mask an alien takeover that is happening one neighbor at a time."

Hollywood Reporter:
"The very title suggests sci-fi, and there's no denying the connection to that genre. Even so, what gives this serious heft and its own unique feel is the family drama woven throughout the premiere. That, and a group of particularly talented and skilled cast members who, under director Thomas Schlamme, take their performances to the highest levels. Each and every time, they find the right nuance and the right facial expression. In the end, it's the little things that make the whole fantastic notion of an alien invasion compelling and credible."

Chicago Sun Times:
"What is remarkable about tonight's first episode, compared to most of the rest of TV, is that it's strengthened by the qualities of film. The script was written by creator Shaun Cassidy and directed by Thomas Schlamme, who directed "So I Married an Axe Murderer" and both of Garry Shandling's great TV shows.
Cassidy and Schlamme's work adeptly and swiftly introduces us to an entire ensemble cast very clearly, one at a time, and shows us how each is linked. The same can't be said of NBC's confusing new alien show "Surface," or quite a few other ensemble shows that throw characters at us and challenge us to take notes."

Article from Miami Herald:
"Writers, directors and designers working on Invasion have been buried under a blitz of books and newspaper clippings pouring out of Cassidy's office. ''Thomas Schlamme, who directed the pilot -- it looked as if he had Miami Herald wallpaper in his office, there were so many clippings pasted to the wall,'' Cassidy says. Even the actors have taken a crash course in Floridiana; Lisa Sheridan, who plays a TV reporter, has been studying tapes of WPLG-ABC 10 newscasts to sharpen her chops."

Philadelphia Inquirer
"Invasion (ABC, Wednesdays at 10, starting Sept. 21.)
Lights fall from the sky. A harsh wind blows. Aliens possess the rural townspeople. Or do they? From the dark mind of Shaun Cassidy (American Gothic, The Agency) and directed by Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing), this enigmatic entry is by far the best of this season's sci-fi glut, perfect companion to Lost, which will air just before it."

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