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Invasion Iowa

4.1 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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(May 19, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

From the producers of The Joe Schmo Show comes Invasion Iowa! When William Shatner and his wacky entourage roll into Riverside, Iowa (pop. 928) to supposedly film a big-budget sci-fi flick, a prank of mass proportions unravels as the locals fall victim to their bizarre demands and hilarious schemes. And when Shatner fesses up at the "premiere," it's a reveal Riverside will never forget.
Featuring 10 episodes!
Special Feature(s): Commentary Track for Episodes 7, 8 & 9 featuring William Shatner

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: William Shatner
  • Directors: Brendon J. Carter
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 19, 2009
  • Run Time: 230 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001UIY5HA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,191 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Invasion Iowa" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Miriam Bookey on May 19, 2009
Verified Purchase
I first saw this when it aired on Spike TV several years ago and kept it on my TIVO for TWO YEARS until I had to switch to DirecTV and sorrowfully lost it.

Why do I love this reality TV sendup so much? (1) William Shatner is a sweetheart. I thought he'd be snarky but instead he (like all of us viewers) falls hard for the people of Riverside, Iowa. (2) Yes, the show manipulates situations for shock value but there's no cruelty or exploitation of the locals who are taken in by the premise (3) William Shatner is the first to laugh at himself and the comedy of his life as Kirk... which gives us license to do so, too and (4) The show is FREAKING HILARIOUS. I live in a multi-story home. My husband works in an office three stories above the TV room. While I watched this show, he had to come down and ask me why in hell I was laughing so hard.
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Riverside, Iowa is purported to be the town where in the future, James T. Kirk will be born. It seemed inevitable that William Shatner would show up there sooner or later. But only Shatner could have pulled off this stunt. Pretending to be making a sci-fi film using locals, Shatner and his eccentric entourage (improvisational actors playing his dim-witted nephew, buxom ditzy costar, and new age guru) descend on Riverside and commence the wackiest production imaginable.

Spoilers:

Most of the townsfolk seem only too happy to work on the production and indulge Shatner's eccentricities, which include eating off other people's plates, plugging his own brand of berets, and covering for another star's kleptomania. A younger local suspects very early on that this is a Reality TV gimmick, and he promptly disappears from the production.

Shatner is game throughout, bonding with the people of Riverside and displaying none of the aloofness that some of his Trek costars have accused him of. He befriends an older man named Don at the local diner (even consenting to having his forehead "blessed" by Don's good luck charm which is made from a raccoon's...anatomy). When they go to visit Don's wife's grave, Shatner, a widower himself, seems genuinely moved. During the course of his visit, the entourage gets the local townsfolk to open up and discuss their hopes and dreams. And when the hoax is revealed, most of the locals are relieved that it's a Reality TV stunt, because the "movie" they're working on is obviously horrible. Shatner nearly breaks down in tears as he presents gifts to his new friends, especially the local cue-card holder who is trying to adopt her grandchild.

There are parts midway through the series that drag a bit. On the whole, however, it's worth sticking with Invasion Iowa for the payoff. The final episode shows the finished movie, which is so incredibly bad it's hilarious.
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As with most other reviewers here, I think that INVASION IOWA is fun to watch, and is often warm and touching too. The 2 DVDs contain 10 episodes, each 30 minutes long. I first watched this with a group of people, and we agreed that the show went where none of us had gone before on TV, with me the one exception since I had seen The Joe Schmo Show - Season One Uncensored that was similar in setting up a fake film production. As you've probably read already, INVASION IOWA involves William Shatner and his cohorts from Hollywood "invading" the small town of Riverside, Iowa, supposedly to film a science fiction movie, yet the movie is actually fake and the whole purpose is to film a reality TV show ABOUT the townspeople thinking they are making a movie. It's interesting to see how the people of Riverside react to the situation, and most of them are very warm, welcoming, and excited to be the setting for a movie. Also, several people from the town are cast in the "movie." Shatner clearly drives the proceedings with his humor and his ability to bond with the townspeople.

There's a good deal of comedy in this, but as William Shatner pointed out in the commentary (which he does with 2 producers on 2 episodes) and in his book Up Till Now: The Autobiography, the original plan was to derive most of the humor from making the townspeople look foolish. But Shatner and others making the show decided that was too mean-spirited, so they decided instead to make THEMSELVES look foolish and thus make the show a spoof on Hollywood.
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I found this to be extremely funny, especially being from Iowa. It is a little on the cheesy side, but for the most part, just good fun. It was even emotionally touching at times. It really exposes the kind hearts and hospitality of Iowans.
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The show is essentially like Joe Schmo and Joe Schmo 2, but on a much larger scale, with excellent results. Putting an entire town through the practical joke of staging a movie is such a fun premise, and it was so well done.
I strongly recommend it.
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I am guessing not many are aware of this because it only aired once... appropriately on April Fool's Day weekend. This is more than a reality tv show. This is William Shatner at his most endearing, joking, and wicked sense of humor. It's amazing what was probably planned out ahead of time for this practical joke to last a full week of episodes. The gimmick is that Bill has come with made-for-tv rate production crew to film a sci-fi movie in Iowa. Nobody knows it has practical jokes. The whole thing is a stunt. What I love is that this "stunt" has wonderful fun poked at Hollywood industry cliches. There's a flaky actress, a new-age guru, and a stern executive, to name a few. I very much wish this had bonus features explaining how they put this practical joke together. I shouldn't overdo the practical joke aspect of it because you get to see what this Iowa town is like. You become familiar with the locals as fun people to meet. Warm-hearted, inside-humor.
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