The Invaders was an American science fiction television series created by Larry Cohen and produced by Quinn Martin Productions that ran on ABC for two seasons from January 10, 1967 through March 26, 1968. In the creation of this show, Martin was looking for a series to replace the very popular The Fugitive which was ending its run in 1967.
The Invaders' concept had similarities to other shows that Cohen had created previously, one being the show Branded, which had Chuck Connor wandering the country trying to prove that he was not a coward. It also contained some influences from movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers where extraterrestrials posed as humans.
The premise of the show is that David Vincent, played by Roy Thinnes, accidentally learns of an alien invasion that is already underway, and he tries to warn others of the situation, but not many people are willing to believe him. Sometimes this is because of skepticism, and sometimes because the aliens have infiltrated towns and the civic infrastructure and are exerting their influence. Throughout the series, Vincent travels around trying to stop the aliens and warn a skeptical public.
The Invaders: Season One is classic science fiction TV at its best. It is one of the earliest shows that were filmed in color, so much so that the words "in color" almost seem to be part of the title credits. The dramatic performances were top rate enough to bring in a wide assortment of guest stars, and really set a standard for other series like Star Trek and even The X-Files.
It was a mid-season replacement show where in the opener David Vincent accidentally comes across the aliens at a dilapidated old café as he's returning from a business trip. He dozes off only to awake to a strange glowing object landing in front of him. When he goes to investigate, he finds out what they really are — aliens masquerading as humans, and they now know that he knows what is going on. Now, he has to convince the rest of the population that these aliens are trying to take over the earth, while they are trying to stop him.
The 17 episodes are contained on five dual-layered, single-sided disks with four episodes on the first two disks and three on the remainder. As with most of the Quinn Martin productions, each show is divided into four acts and an epilogue.
Even though the video is 40 years old it still comes across generally clear with some slight faults now and, then but overall pretty clean and very sharp. Sometimes the color comes across as a bit bright and I think that may have more to do with the new color technology of the time, but really, in an overall sense, it is still very good. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 and comes across very clean as well.
Some of the stars recruited for season one include Roddy McDowall, Suzanne Pleshette, Jack Lord, William Windom, James Whitmore, Susan Strasberg, Dabney Colman, Peggy Lipton, and Burgess Meredith.
Extras include Roy Thinnes optionally introducing each episode. There is a Larry Cohen commentary on "The Innocent." There is a "Beachead: Extended Pilot Episode" which is an hour long. There is a 28 minute interview with Roy Thinnes, and a trio of commercials for season one.
It is nice that The Invaders is finally getting to DVD. While the premise may be simplistic, the show, as with most of the Quinn Martin productions, is very well done. It has that cold war pretense and hence is quite a bit like a sci-fi thriller, and generally pretty exciting even today.
Some of my favorites of this season include "Beachhead," "The Experiment," "The Leaches," "Nightmare," and "The Condemned." To me these have the best story lines, best acting, and overall are the most satisfying. All in all, I think that The Invaders: Season One is well worth the investment. It provides good entertainment and a look back at classic TV of the '60s. And so I recommend this series.
Season One Episode Listing (1967)
2. The Experiment
3. The Mutation
4. The Leeches
8. Doomsday Minus One
9. Quantity: Unknown
10. The Innocent
11. The Ivy Curtain
12. The Betrayed
16. Wall of Crystal
17. The Condemned