The second season of The Invaders saw a shift in the show’s focus. Vincent has started to get his message out there, and some of these people are organizing. There’s no doubt, that if left to continue, the show might have taken on a more resistance center much like Kenneth Johnson’s V mini-series. If you’re looking for a conclusion, you won’t really get it. Vincent’s still out there, and so are the Invaders. Unfortunately, The Invaders only lasted for two seasons, and David Vincent never did manage to warn the world. While he was able to defeat the many tasks The Invaders were plotting, all he was able to do was delay the inevitable. There was a revival mini-series in the 90’s that did include Roy Thinnes reprising his role of David Vincent, but he was not the central character. Instead it was Quantum Leap’s Scott Bakula that took on the job of trying to warn the world and stop the Invaders from completing their tasks. The mini-series was intended as a back door pilot for a new show, but whether it be ratings or lack of network interest, the new series never materialized, leaving the invaders and their plots to dissolve in the otherworldly existence of cancellation. There is some talk that the Sci-Fi Channel has considered at potential show, but again nothing has ever really come of those rumors.
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not really out to get you. That old axiom has never been more true than for David Vincent in the Martin Quinn series The Invaders. Quinn was best known for his police procedural shows like The FBI. At the time of the The Invaders Quinn was going into the final season of one of his most popular shows, The Fugitive. While most people over the years have compared The Invaders to that Quinn production, they were really not as similar as all that. In The Fugitive the hero, Richard Kimball, played by David Janssen, had a very specific mission. He was wrongly convicted of killing his wife and was on the trail of the real killer, whom he had witnessed. The “one armed man” became an iconic figure in television history and provided Dr. Kimball with his “Holy Grail”. David Vincent’s mission was far more complicated and seldom so cut and dried. He was honestly more akin to Dr. Bennell, played by sci-fi favorite Kevin McCarthy from Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. In both cases you had one man who knew that aliens were invading and even replacing humans. As I watched this collection of Invaders episodes, I couldn’t help but be reminded of McCarthy’s famous scene running down the street trying to convince the world of the impending invasion.
The Invaders maintained several Quinn trademark touches. The episode was broken down into four acts and an epilog, each labeled as you came out of the commercials. Quinn also used a stable of actors as guests that showed up on almost all of his shows. If you look up most of the guest stars on this set, you will find a vast majority of them also made appearances on The FBI, The Fugitive, The Streets Of San Francisco, and Manhunter. He was very much like his contemporary Irwin Allen, who was producing cheesy science fiction shows at the same time. Quinn writers were adept at quick punchy dialog that was also a common thread in his productions. None of these characters spoke like normal people. There was always a theatrical but often abbreviated cadence to what was being said. Quinn also made heavy use of narration and The Invaders is no exception. Each episode begins with a short narration often setting up the story and finally moralizing in the end. The music and narration sound very much like Outer Limits episodes.
Each episode of The Invaders is presented in its original full frame broadcast format. The color is usually at least fair, but there is an annoying fade in and out that occurs more on some episodes than others. The series most certainly shows its age, but you do need to remember the show is over 40 years old, and this was the very beginning for color television. Many of the f/x are dated, but again they were solid for their time. Black levels are a little below average, as is most of the fine detail of the presentation. There are more than a few specks and other print defects to contend with throughout.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is basically there to service the dialog, and it does. There is some distortion during the theme when the music is considerably loud. If you keep in mind the source material, you can’t expect anything more than this.
Introductions: Roy Thinnes supplies a wonderful introduction for each of the cases on this collection. He talks about guests and other important aspects of each show. These generally only run a minute or so.
Roy Thinnes Interviews: This half hour interview offers a lot of insight into the man and the series. Of most notable is the fact that Thinnes claims to have had a true saucer encounter just three days before the pilot episode premiered on television. He opted to keep it to himself because he suspected most folks would just have considered it a publicity stunt.
His is one of those shows that really deserved a better way to end. I still hold out hope that David Vincent hasn’t finished warning us about the threat to humanity posed by the Invaders. Looking at him in these features, I get the impression that Ray Thinnes is still up for another round with the aliens. For now we have these last 26 episodes to sink our teeth into. Ray’s still out there, and he’s not getting any younger. “Right now we’re at ground zero.”