Series: The Invaders

"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."
—The Opening Narration

The Invaders is an American Science Fiction TV show.

(Not to be confused with Marvel Comics' World War II superhero comic book The Invaders, or any other series involving alien invaders.)

The show was produced by Quinn Martin Productions (who made several other famous TV series of the time) for the ABC television network in January 1967. The series follows the life of an architect named David Vincent (Roy Thinnes) who, by sheer chance, happened to witness the landing of an UFO after getting lost while driving one night. Discovering that aliens disguised as humans have infiltrated Earth and are planning to take over the world, Vincent sets out to thwart their plans and to find evidence of the invasion so he can warn the rest of humanity.

Apparently, the aliens -whose true form was never revealed- were an emotionless race from a dying world that had decided to take over the Earth to survive. Having physically altered themselves, they could easily pass for humans (though there were small signs that could be used to spot them, for example some of them could not bend their little fingers.) They also arranged it so that their bodies disintegrated if they died, leaving no evidence behind; in fact they were fanatically willing to kill anybody, including themselves, in order to hide their presence on Earth.

Every episode, Vincent would investigate and discover an operation run by the unnamed invaders, which he managed to ruin, usually by forcing them to destroy it themselves to avoid discovery. However he failed to convince most people of the truth and was often accosted by the law as a troublemaker. Later on the series he did manage to start the Believers, a small, secret underground resistance who aided him.

While the idea of disguised invaders was already an old one (the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction website suggests that the series was made too late to be successful), The Invaders may have been the first American show to present the matter seriously, as opposed to the more goofy previous SF movies and TV shows. Good writing and serious acting made it effective Paranoia Fuel and the show holds up well even today.

The series ran only for two seasons (one-and-a-half, really, as it began midseason) and had no definitive ending. In 1995, a sequel TV movie was made (apparently as a failed pilot for a new series) in which an ex-con (played by Quantum Leap's Scott Bakula) is convinced by the now-elderly Vincent (still played by Roy Thinnes!) to pick up the cause against the aliens.

The series was also adapted as comic books and novels.

Tropes:

  • Alien Invasion: Duh. Type II, infiltration.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted: The aliens did not hate humanity, but didn't care about us because they lacked emotions. Further subverted in that a few "mutant" members of their species did have emotions and were more sympathetic.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Subverted, at least to the extent that Vincent does eventually manage to convince some humans in positions of authority that the aliens are real, most helpfully wealthy industrialist Edgar Scoville.
  • Flying Saucer: The alien spaceships were based on the 'Venusian Scoutcraft' allegedly witnessed by UFOlogist George Adamski.
  • Follow the Leader: The Invaders has been accused of being a Science Fiction variation of an earlier Quinn Martin series, The Fugitive.
  • Grand Finale: Not officially, but the last-filmed episode ends on a moderately hopeful note, with important human officials becoming convinced of the reality of the alien invasion.
  • I Am Spartacus: Used in one episode when an alien asks a group of people which one is Vincent.
  • La Résistance: As noted above, in the second season Vincent and Scoville become the nucleus of one of these.
  • Legacy Character: In the sequel, the torch is passed by Vincent to a new Everyman hero.
  • Meme: "David Vincent has seen them" is part of the Opening Narration.
  • Midseason Replacement
  • No Body Left Behind
  • Playing Against Type: A rare non-cop show from QM Productions.
  • Theme Tune: The show's theme, composed by Dominic Frontierenote , became famous and is still eerily effective.
  • They Look Like Us Now: All the aliens.
  • Unflinching Faith In The Brakes: In the first episode, a little old lady with suspiciously stiff little fingers does this in front Vincent's business partner who is arriving in town to find him.
  • The Unreveal: We never see the aliens' true form, or even find out what they or their world are called.
  • Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: It all started that way...
  • Zany Scheme: Some of the aliens' plans were rather... unusual, such as using carnivorous insects to destroy humanity.