David Vincent (Roy Thinnes) knows that The Invaders, alien beings from a dying planet, have arrived to take over the Earth! To make matters worse, the aliens know who he is, and most of the time where he is. Somehow he must convince a disbelieving world that the nightmare has already begun.
"If theyre really after you, youre not paranoid" is a lesson The Invaders
' David Vincent has learned all too well. Vincent (portrayed by Roy Thinnes) knows that aliens from a dying planet have come to Earth and are planning to take over; having lost his way and fallen asleep in his car in the remote woods one night, he saw their flying saucer land. Whats worse, the invaders know he knows. And worst of all, the rest of the world is willfully oblivious, and little interested in the rantings of this madman. That's the premise of this series from producer Quinn (The Fugitive
) Martin, and even if the 16 episodes from the shows first season (1967) dont always match the promise of the concept, this is still an intriguing, entertaining ride.
The aliens, crafty critters that they are, look exactly like us, save for a slight disfigurement of one finger; they also completely disintegrate when killed, a convenient little conceit that prevents anyone from figuring out who or what they really are. Their dastardly schemes for eliminating the Earthlings are many and varied, ranging from nuclear bombs, plagues of locusts (and carnivorous butterflies!), and manufactured hurricanes to brainwashing and mind control experiments. Standing against this implacable foe is just one man--an amateur (Vincent was an architect before all the craziness began) who works alone (the other true believers he encounters almost invariably end up dead) and is often stymied by his own impetuousness and lack of preparation. Admittedly, the concept doesnt hold up under close scrutiny; even if the aliens are trying to take over by stealth instead of one massive invasion, it doesnt make a lot of sense that they cant eliminate a guy who doesnt even own a gun. There is no series arc; each episode is stand-alone, so by the end of the season the invaders still have barely established a foothold. Moreover, while there are plenty of fistfights and chase sequences, the special effects are ludicrous, the alien technology looks like something out of a high school play, the stories are obvious, and the acting is melodramatic (notwithstanding guest appearances by the Jack Warden and familiar TV faces like Suzanne Pleshette, Arthur Hill, Joseph Campanella, Jack Lord, Ed Asner, and many others). Nevertheless, with the help of Dominic Frontieres music and the portentous narration that begins and ends each episode, The Invaders manages to consistently maintain its paranoid, Kafka-esque vibe, and that alone makes it compellingly watchable. Thinnes episode intros and a new interview with the actor are the main bonus features. --Sam Graham