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.