When I was a kid, this show truly terrified me and DID give me nightmares - but I loved it anyway! Now, at long last, the original, iconic Sci-Fi TV Classic "The Invaders" is being released on DVD in boxed season sets. The first 17 episodes have been gathered in the initial DVD release.
The Invaders, which premiered on ABC in 1967, starred Roy Thinnes. It was a mid-season replacement show that was an hour-long, full-color science fiction thriller that sadly lasted only 43 episodes. Families across the country truly gathered around their TV sets when the series aired on Tuesday's at 8:30 p.m. to see what happened next.
The show opened with an unforgettable and chilling narration: "The Invaders, a Quinn Martin Production starring Roy Thinnes as architect David Vincent. The Invaders - alien beings from a dying planet. Their destination - the Earth. Their purpose: to make it `their' world. David Vincent has seen them. For him, it began one lost night on a lonely country road, looking for a shortcut that he never found. It began with a closed, deserted diner, and a man too long without sleep to continue his journey. It began with the landing of a craft from another galaxy. Now, David Vincent knows that the Invaders are here; that they have taken human form. Somehow, he must convince a disbelieving world, that the nightmare has already begun..."
Voice talents were Hank Simms, who was the introductory narrator, and William Woodson who was episode narrator for the entire series.
In the first episode, Vincent is driving home at night after working a long, tiring day. He turns onto what he believes is a shortcut, then down the dark, isolated road. Unexpectedly, he ends up at Bud's Cafe, situated in a ghost town. Exhausted, he decides to park to rest for a while before continuing home. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, something wakes him: a strange glowing object is "landing" in front of his eyes.
Leaving his car and edging forward, he sees the advance army of what he learns is an alien invasion. From that moment forward, he tries to warn a skeptical world that there are aliens in their midst masquerading as humans. At the same time, he struggles to stay alive - because not only had he seen the aliens, but they had seen him!
While the premise seems simple in this day and age, the series had such great production values, flawless acting by Thinnes, fantastically creepy music by Dominic Frontiere, use of creative and intentionally distorted camera work, and even weird title credits by Wayne Fitzgerald, that it really did scare the wits out of legions of fans. In addition, the true form of the Invaders was never shown, so viewers' imaginations were encouraged to run wild, an effective creative device that has been sadly abandoned in this "show everything no matter what" Internet age.
As the series progressed, Vincent was able to identify some Invaders through certain characteristics, and he also learned that their human forms were unstable and had to be "regenerated" occasionally, or they would perish.
In 1995, there was a feeble attempt to resurrect the show in a mini-series starring Scott Bakula as Nolan Wood, with an appearance by Thinnes.
"The Invaders" remains so popular that in 2004 the character of David Vincent was ranked No. 6 in TV Guide's list of the Twenty-Five Greatest Sci-Fi Legends.
It may not be coincidental that The Invaders seems an intriguing mix of the Sci-Fi film masterpiece "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and the TV Classic drama "The Fugitive," which was also produced by the brilliant Quinn Martin, who also produced The Untouchables, and The Streets of San Francisco, to name a few.
Episodes included in this boxed set are: Beachhead; The Experiment; The Mutation; The Leeches; Genesis; Vikor; Nightmare; Doomsday Minus One; Quantity: Unknown; The Innocent; The Ivy Curtain; The Betrayed; Storm; Panic; Moonshot; Wall of Crystal; The Condemned.
Let's hope the remainder of this fantastic series will be quickly released on DVD.