Classic TV

Introduction to The Invaders

Roy Thinnes as David Vincent alongside a minor character played by Lee Farr

The Invaders is a science fiction television show produced by Quinn Martin and aired on ABC from 1967 to 1968. The show became popular not only in the United States but also in other countries through syndication because of its focused and thrilling plot that kept audiences on their toes for every episode. To understand how the alien invasion series became one of the best sci-fi shows in the late 1960s, here is an introduction to the Invaders.

Production

The Invaders was created by Larry Cohen, who first worked as a screenwriter for other popular TV shows like The Fugitive and The Defenders. During the production of the last episodes of The Fugitive, its producer, Quinn Martin, was searching for a show that can replace The Fugitive.

Martin wanted a show that has a different story from The Fugitive but still features the same formula where a central character that travels in different places. Martin then approached Cohen to ask him if he has created a television show premise that is similar to The Fugitive. Thankfully, Cohen already has knowledge in the “protagonist searching for answers in different locations” formula, as he had written two shows that share similarities to Martin’s popular crime show. The first show was Branded, a Western drama in 1965 that centers around cavalry captain Jason McCord’s journey to find answers as to why he was court-martialed for being a coward. The second show was Coronet Blue, a series in 1967 that focuses on the Michael Alden, an amnesiac who is trying to find out who he is, and all he could remember about himself is the phrase “Coronet Blue.”

While creating the premise for the show, Cohen was inspired by the “alien Doppelganger” craze that occurred in the film industry during the late 1950s. The craze is said to have started with the Invasion of the Body Snatchers in 1956, and the story formula where aliens would disguise as humans have appeared in several sci-fi movies after the said movie’s premiere.

Characters

As The Invaders feature the same formula found in most Quinn Martin-produced shows, the show focuses on the adventures of only one main character, and that character is David Vincent, an architect who accidentally found out about a group of alien’s plan to invade planet Earth. After learning about the secret alien invasion, David Vincent then travels to different places in search of authorities or people that can help him thwart the aliens’ nefarious plan. Unfortunately for David, most of the people that he calls for help wouldn’t believe due to two reasons. The first reason is that the people don’t believe that there are aliens living in outer space, and the second reason is that some of the people he talks to are actually aliens who wanted him dead.

Throughout David’s journey, he would meet interesting characters who wouldn’t believe him at first, but would eventually join his cause because they would actually see the aliens. Some of these recurring characters who would become allies to David are Edgar Scoville, who leads a group of conspiracy theorists called The Believers, and Col. Archie Harmon, a military man who is a friend of Scoville and is skeptical at first about David’s invasion claims.

large alien in the forest

Despite being prominent in most episodes, the “Invaders” or the villainous alien race only appear in their true form in only two episodes. These Invaders have the ability to disguise as humans, which allows them to hide their identities and continue their plans for invasion without being found out. In the show, the Invaders have successfully infiltrated the highest groups of authority in the United States, and they have already assimilated how humans live on Earth. However, they have been unsuccessful in fully assimilating the human body, as David and the other believers found out that they don’t have a heartbeat or pulse, and they also don’t bleed. Whenever the Invaders die, their bodies would burn and turn into ashes, which prevents human scientists or researchers from examining them.

Broadcast and Syndication

The Invaders premiered at ABC on January 10, 1967, and it ended on March 26, 1968, after two seasons. There are 43 episodes produced for the show, and each episode is 51 minutes long. Most viewers were said to have been disappointed in the show’s ending, as it didn’t show David Vincent and the others being victorious in their battle against the Invader; instead, it only ended in a scene where many more people believed David’s claims. The production team has made the ending open-ended so that they can create a sequel in the future, but unfortunately, they weren’t able to produce a proper continuation to The Invaders. However, the show received a soft reboot in 1995, wherein David Vincent is now an older man who passed his knowledge to the reboot’s protagonist, Nolan Wood.

When The Invaders show was syndicated, networks from other countries began to buy rights to air the show. The TV series then became popular in several countries like Spain, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom. Today, there are no more TV stations that air The Invaders, but the show can still be watched via a DVD collection released by CBS Home Entertainment in 2018, called “The Invaders: The Complete Series.”

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