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Series / The Invaders (1967)

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"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 Invaders is an American Science Fiction TV show.

The series, which was produced by Quinn Martin Productions (who made several other famous TV series of the time) for the ABC television network, premiered in January 1967. It 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, headed by wealthy industrialist Edgar Scoville (Kent Smith).

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 Sequel 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. It is also considered to have been a major source of inspiration for the comic book Rom Spaceknight.

It is currently being rerun on MeTV's late Saturday night/early Sunday morning science fiction line-up.

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

"David Vincent has troped them":

  • 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.
  • Clear My Name: In "The Trial" one of Vincent's friends is on trial for killing a man. In a subversion, the goal is to show that his friend didn't kill a man, but an alien, and thus didn't commit murder the legal definition term as he didn't kill a human being.
  • Deal with the Devil: "The Organization" features two non-literal examples which happen because the aliens steal two boxes from a freighter. Vincent wants the box containing parts from a crashed saucer; The Syndicate wants the box containing a heroin shipment.
    • Murderous gangster Peter Kalter doesn't believe Vincent's story about aliens, but he suggests that his mob work with the Believers because the thieves, alien or not, have items that both groups want. Vincent thinks that the mob could be powerful (albeit untrustworthy) allies and agrees, over the objections of Scoville, who had a friend killed by Kalter.
    • Later, after it's proven that the invaders exist and have infiltrated the syndicate, Kalter tries to convince his bosses to help Vincent. However, they'd rather make a deal with the aliens, because all they care about is getting their drugs back.
  • Everything in Space Is a Galaxy: The titular aliens are from a dying planet in another galaxy.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Played with. While Vincent never defeats the invaders, at least he eventually manages to convince some humans in positions of authority that the aliens are real, most helpfully Edgar Scoville.
  • False Prophet: Brother Avery (Pat Hingle) in "The Prophet" is an alien masquerading as a preacher. He uses the red glow of regeneration, trying to convince gullible people that it's a sign from God!
  • Flying Saucer: The alien spaceships were based on the 'Venusian Scoutcraft' allegedly witnessed by UFOlogist George Adamski.
  • 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.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In "The Organization", mobster Peter Kalter is ordered by his bosses to either murder Vincent himself or give Vincent to the invaders so they can kill him. However, he's reluctant because Vincent had saved his life when the aliens attacked them both. Kalter tries to betray Vincent, but ultimately rescues him instead — at the cost of his own life.
  • I Am Spartacus: Used in one episode when an alien asks a group of people which one is Vincent.
  • Lady Macbeth: Zig-Zagged Trope with Annie Rhodes from "The Saucer", who motivates her engineer boyfriend, Robert Morrison, to steal the blueprints for a new computer and flee the country with her. When their plane crashes near the alien saucer that Vincent has captured, Robert abandons his plans because he realizes how important it is to help Vincent, while all Annie cares about is escaping before the authorities arrive. However, she does a Heel–Face Turn after the aliens take her hostage to trade for the ship, and on top of that she sees them kill several humans.
  • 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: When an alien dies, its body glows red and disintegrates, leaving no trace behind.
  • Not Always Evil: Near the end of the series we learn that there's actually a sizable number of aliens back on the homeworld who are against the whole idea of invading Earth, but we've never seen them before because, obviously, they're not part of the invasion force that came here
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Major Stanhope in "Condition: Red" is one of these, luckily for David.
  • La Résistance: As noted above, in the second season Vincent and Scoville become the nucleus of one of these.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: In the episode "Summit Meeting", the aliens take Vincent to a building with the sign 'Slentir Chemicals'. This is a Shout-Out to David W. Rintels, the second-season Associate Producer and the man whom many fans blame unfairly for anything that's wrong with that season.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "The Mutation", the Air Force official who follows Vincent around is named Fellows... one of Quinn Martin's top assistants was a man named Arthur Fellows.
    • In "The Possessed", Edgar Scoville tells Vincent that he's sending a man from one of his companies, Hale Electronics, to assist them. The episode is directed by William Hale.
  • 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 of Vincent's business partner, who is arriving in town to find him.
  • The Unreveal: We never see the aliens' true formnote , or even find out what they or their world are called.
  • Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: It all started that way...
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Implied Trope in "Genesis". The episode starts with a motorcycle cop seeing the true form of an invader, which drives him insane ("What is it? What is it?") and causes him to be hospitalized.
  • Zany Scheme: Some of the aliens' plans were rather... unusual, such as using carnivorous insects to destroy humanity.

Alternative Title(s): The Invaders