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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 as a Midseason Replacement 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 — are a mostly emotionless race from a dying world that had decided to take over the Earth to survive. Having physically altered themselves, they can easily pass for humans (though there are small signs that can be used to spot them; for example, some of them can't bend their little fingers.) They also arrange it so that their bodies disintegrate if they die, 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 investigates and discovers an operation run by the unnamed invaders, which he manages to ruin, usually by forcing them to destroy it themselves to avoid discovery. However, he fails to convince most people of the truth and is often accosted by the law as a troublemaker. Later on in the series, he manages to start the Believers, a small, secret underground resistance who aid 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":

  • Academy of Evil: Midlands Academy in "The Ivy Curtain". It seems to be an exclusive prep school in New Mexico, but it's actually an "indoctrination center" where newly arrived invaders are taught to pass as human while undermining Earth society.
  • The Alcoholic: Sgt. Ernie Goldhaver, a small-town cop from "The Spores", is in recovery. Not only does he have a bottle of whiskey in his glove compartment "to fall back on", but his past causes his boss to doubt his story of seeing two aliens die. Or so it seems until we learn said boss is also an invader.
  • Alien Invasion: Duh. Type II, infiltration.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted: The aliens do not hate humanity, but don't care about us because they lack emotions. Further subverted in that a few "mutant" members of their species do have emotions and are more sympathetic.
  • But Now I Must Go: Practically Once an Episode, as Vincent will bid farewell to whatever friend he made and be off to continue his mission to stop the invasion.
  • 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.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: A short-lived one, published by Gold Key Comics.
  • Deal with the Devil: "The Organization" features two non-literal examples which happen because the invaders 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.
  • Dirty Coward: In "Task Force", Jeremy Mace starts as one. He's the heir to his uncle's publishing empire, which invader Eric Lund wants to take over; he's also a lazy, irresponsible drunkard, so Lund thinks he'll be easy to control. Just to make sure, Lund kills the uncle while Jeremy watches helplessly, then threatens his girlfriend, so he reluctantly cooperates. But then Character Development kicks in...
    • Cowardly Lion: Between Vincent's constant prodding, a pep talk from his girlfriend, and his own self-loathing, Jeremy finally gets tired of being pushed around and takes a level in badass. He takes Lund hostage, which leads to the aliens' plot being foiled, and becomes the strong leader he needs to be.
  • Driven to Suicide: Combined with Heroic Suicide in "The Ivy Curtain". Cargo pilot Barney Cahill reluctantly takes a job transporting newly arrived invaders to the aliens' Academy of Evil, partially because he hopes the money will get his beautiful but amoral young wife to stay in their troubled marriage. When she betrays him anyway, Cahill passes the Despair Event Horizon and destroys the academy in a Suicide Attack.
  • Everything in Space Is a Galaxy: The titular aliens are from a dying planet in another galaxy.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Played with, as Vincent and the invaders are in a stalemate through most of the series.
    • 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.
    • This also applies to the invaders; try as they might, they can never get rid of Vincent.
  • Fallen Hero: The end of "Vikor" highlights how the eponymous man was a genuine hero once upon a time (even receiving a couple medals for his military service), but his experiences and post-military life drove him to the point where he cut a deal to sell out the human race.
  • 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.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Happens at the climax of "Nightmare". Some of the flesh-eating insects get loose and attack one of the invaders. We're not shown what happens next but we hear him scream, and as he dies the red glow of his disintegration is reflected on Vincent's face.
  • 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.
  • I Have Your Wife:
    • In "Wall of Crystal", the invaders try to make Vincent back off by his endangering his brother and pregnant sister-in-law.
    • In "Task Force", the aliens threaten Jeremy Mace by not only killing his uncle in front of him, but threatening his secretary/girlfriend June Murray.
      • In an odd coincidence, the same actor, Linden Chiles, played both Vincent's brother and Jeremy Mace.
  • Improvised Weapon: Ernie Goldhaver's bottle of whiskey from "The Spores". Good for drinking, even better for being turned into a Molotov Cocktail for him and Vincent to fight the invaders with.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Theodore Booth from "Wall of Crystal" is a well-known commentator who at first dismisses Vincent as a kook. However, once he's convinced that the aliens are real, he fully commits to exposing them, even after Vincent asks him not to because the invaders have kidnapped his brother. After all, how much does the life of one man matter when all humanity is at stake?
  • Karmic Death: Vikor from the eponymous episode. He is content to sell out the human race for a position of power, but he initially tries to ensure his wife Sherri is protected. When the aliens learn Sherri has been helping Vincent, though, they want to Make It Look Like an Accident to deal with her, and Vikor sides with them. Vincent saves Sherri in time, but he also frames Vikor as an undercover agent working against the invasion. Vikor is dead within minutes of Vincent's phone call.
  • 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.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The aliens typically prefer to eliminate those who stumble onto them, but they do leave some individuals alone, if they determine that a given person's death will invite too much scrutiny.
  • 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, leaving both Vincent and the audience to guess who's an invader and who's a trustworthy human.
  • 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.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Played with in "Nightmare". Ellen Woods has a history of mental instability, so when she witnesses a group of invaders using their tech to control a swarm of locusts, she's receptive when the people around her convince her that she's become delusional again. However, Vincent's faith in her restores her faith in herself and what she's seen — to the dismay of some of the townspeople, who are actually invaders who want to silence her. In the end, she tells Vincent that she and her fiancee (who also learns about the aliens) aren't going to help him, because she doesn't want her sanity doubted again.
  • Zany Scheme: Some of the aliens' plans were rather... unusual. For example, in "Nightmare" they infiltrate a Kansas farming town as part of an Evil Plan to turn ordinary insects carnivorous so they'll destroy humanity. One memorable scene shows a group of butterflies chowing down on a hunk of raw meat.

Alternative Title(s): The Invaders