Has "Invasion" captured the zeitgeist of modern-day America?
A day after its Sept. 21 premiere on ABC, the mystery/horror series seems incredibly invasive - and pervasive - penetrating the national consciousness of what it means to fear strangers from a strange land.
Set in hurricane-whipped Homestead, Fla. - the reel natural disaster rains down on sensibilities of a nation still recovering from Katrina - "Invasion" plants the seed of sowing the enemy from within even as real-life headlines scream of terrorist plots hatched inside our country's own borders.
Bordering on the prophetic, the monsters of "Invasion" are other-worldly. But then, isn't America part of a different world than it had been pre-9/11?
"Darkness and light, it's all about the balance," says Shaun Cassidy, creator/ executive producer of the tantalizing series, of what it takes to create a science-fiction show that is feeling more science-factual these days.
"We're living in an aftermath world," he explains. "When I was a kid, the big scary monster was the [nuclear] bomb - and the bomb didn't come. [But] terrible tragedies have come, and there hasn't been a rule book for the aftermath. Trying to figure out what to do next, trying to find our way, trying to put the pieces back together in a more productive way … those are the themes of the show."
It is a threatening theme park of rides in the dark. It is also no surprise then that "the scariest movies for me are the movies that play on our real core primal fears."
Certainly, many Americans are more attentive to Mideast tensions, of how far-away sheiks can shake our own world, infiltrating - invading - the American sense of security with invidious plots and plans.
Is former recording artist Cassidy going on record that "Invasion" has its roots in the here and now? "That may have been something that was in my subconscious when I was working on it."
What was not in Cassidy's subconscious was an unintential homage to "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" - the ultimate Podcast movie. The producer didn't snare any ideas from that classic film because "I've never seen" it.
What he has seen is a change in the world, a sense of social insecurities that has made the former TV "Hardy Boy" hard put to outdo real-life anxieties attendant to every unexplained squeak or squall. The producer of the short-lived but long-admired "American Gothic" has America on his mind these days - understanding that things that go bump in the night may shove aside our standard of living by daybreak.
"The terrorism within … the series does reflect that," he says.
What could be more frightening than seemingly minor news that metamorphizes into murderous truths: Who knew, he asks, that the simple fact and seemingly innocuous act of "people taking flying lessons" could transform into a gang of thugs and murderers hijacking our lives on 9/11?