Before the creation of DVDs, cult TV shows proved to be frustrating. You’d read articles about them, see promotional photographs and receive a 3-D taste via a View-Master disc. But rarely did you see them on an actual television since most cult tv shows had one major thing in common: they were canceled before they came anywhere near the golden 100 episodes for syndication. There were a couple exceptions including Star Trek and Lost In Space, but unless you lived in a city that had an extra cool programmer running your local UHF channel, you were teased by the existence of the shows. Even during the VHS era, the cult shows didn’t get much exposure since a complete run of a show that only lasted 13 episodes would take up a hunk of shelf space. But when DVDs arrived with it’s compact space, all those shows that had been teased were ready to please viewers. Such was the case of The Invaders. For decades this science fiction series was teased in books, but never aired in my local market since it didn’t last two complete seasons. And then over a decade ago, the series arrived in two boxsets. Now they’ve brought them both together in The Invaders: The Complete Series and it’s a paranoid glory.
Architect David Vincent (Dark Shadows‘ Roy Thinnes) pulls off the road late at night to take a quick nap in his car near a deserted diner. At 4:20 a.m., he’s awoken by a weird noise and lights. What can it be? How about a UFO. Vincent reports the siting to the local authorities except when they go back, his story doesn’t match up. The name of the diner on a sign has changed. There no sign of the landing. But there is a couple nearby living in a camper who swear they heard nothing. Vincent swears he isn’t nuts. He goes back and discovers the couple aren’t what they appear to be. There are aliens and they are plotting take over the Earth in human disguises. The only thing that gives them away is they can’t make a pinky work right. Vincent makes it his life work to expose these aliens that are sneaking into powerful positions around the country.
The Invaders lived up to the hype when the DVDs finally arrived. Thinnes is perfect as the guy doing his best to appear sane while warning people of the conspiracy taking place. The show was created by Larry Cohen who would later write and direct great cult films such as God Told Me To, It’s Alive, The Stuff, Hell Up in Harlem and Black Caesar. And it reflects a perfect balance of science fiction and paranoia. It’s a shame that the show only lasted 43 episode since it denied so many people a chance to get into the action in syndication. Now with The Invaders: The Complete Series, the frustration is over as David Vincent’s mission begins.
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfer looks fine for the most part. Things get a little messy on effects shots. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The levels are right for UFO landings. The episodes are subtitled.
Introductions by Roy Thinnes are featured on all the episodes.
Beachhead (60:48) is an unaired early cut of the pilot with additional 12 minutes from the version that starts off the boxset. You’ll want to watch this cut to start off viewing the show.
Interview with Roy Thinnes is nearly an hour long and cut between the two seasons. Roy remembers plenty of elements about the show and his guest stars. This is more informative than his introductions.
Audio Commentaries include Larry Cohen on “The Innocent” and Alan Armer for “The Peacemaker.” Both discuss what went on into making this Quinn Martin Production.
Season One Promos (2:27) plugs the series as a detective tale involving aliens.
CBS presents The Invaders: The Complete Series. Starring: Roy Thinnes and Kent Smith. Boxset Contents: 43 Episodes on 12 DVDs. Released: June 5, 2018.
Tags: Larry Cohen, Roy Thinnes, The Invaders