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HTF DVD REVIEW: The Invaders: The Second Season



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#1 of 8 Matt Hough

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Posted January 25 2009 - 02:15 AM


The Invaders: The Second Season
Directed by Don Medford et al

Studio: Paramount
Year: 1967-1968
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 1336 minutes
Rating: NR
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English
Subtitles: CC
MSRP: $ 39.99

Release Date: January 27, 2009
Review Date: January 25, 2009


The Series

3.5/5

During the second (and last) season of ABC’s The Invaders, David Vincent finally finds people who witness alien encounters as he has and wish to fight them as he does. Perhaps ABC believed the series would get stale if David had to go it alone for much longer, but the addition of cohorts in his fight against extra terrestrials didn’t garner the show a larger audience. It was canceled at the end of its second season.

In season two, Vincent in the season premiere finds those who will listen, and each successive episode finds more people who see and believe. They don’t always survive, but the ones that do include high ranking military personnel and some high end business people. The aliens can still be pegged by their mutated hands with extended pinkies and the lack of a heartbeat/pulse, and they still radiate and disappear when killed leaving only ash behind. In Roy Thinnes’ capable hands, David continues to be a character we can root for unhesitatingly. Midway through the season, Kent Smith joins the cast as Edgar Scoville, a key member of a group dedicated to thwarting the invaders. Through the course of the season’s episodes, he’s sometimes aided and sometimes thwarted by an impressive line-up of Oscar, Emmy, and Tony-winning guest stars: Antoinette Bower, Dabney Coleman, Anne Francis, Charles Drake, Kevin McCarthy, Shirley Knight, Richard Anderson, Ted Knight, Barbara Barrie, Don Gordon, Linda Day, Harold Gould, Russell Johnson, Gene Hackman, John Randolph, Wayne Rogers, Andrew Prine, Dawn Wells, Michael Rennie, William Windom, Diana Hyland, Pat Hingle, Zina Bethune, Roger Perry, Sally Kellerman, Virginia Christine, Ed Begley, Dana Wynter, Fritz Weaver, Carol Lynley, Karen Black, Laurence Naismith, Michael Constantine, J.D. Cannon, James Daly, Phyllis Thaxter, Lou Gossett, Jr., Roscoe Lee Browne, Edward Asner, Barbara Hershey, Diana Muldaur, R.G. Armstrong, Arthur Franz, Suzanne Pleshette, Will Geer, Mark Richman, and Susan Oliver.

The series has some nice special effects for its time (it’s always fun to see the aliens disintegrate when they’re killed and we even get to venture into a spacecraft this season though the series‘ low budget makes it a less than memorable excursion), but some of the props like their ray guns still look a little cheap compared to the toys the guys at Star Trek were brandishing around, and the episode with a wrecked spacecraft, for example, does look bargain basement cheap today.

Here is the line-up of second season episodes. Like all Quinn Martin productions, each episode contains a prolog followed by the opening credits, four acts, and an epilog:

1 - Condition: Red
2 - The Saucer
3 - The Watchers
4 - Valley of the Shadow
5 - The Enemy
6 - The Trial
7 - The Spores (cat and mouse chase is my favorite of the season)
8 - Dark Outpost
9 - Summit Meeting (Part 1)
10 - Summit Meeting (Part 2)
11 - The Prophet
12 - Labyrinth
13 - The Captive
14 - The Believers
15 - The Ransom
16 - Task Force
17 - The Possessed
18 - Counter Attack
19 - The Pit
20 - The Organization
21 - The Peacemaker
22 - The Vise
23 - The Miracle
24 - The Life Seekers
25 - The Pursued
26 - Inquisition

By the way, the liner notes mention that some episodes may have been altered from their original network broadcasts. Those more familiar with the series than I will likely be able to spot the edits.


Video Quality

3.5/5

The series’ original 1.33:1 aspect ratio is faithfully rendered in these transfers. Most of the episodes look very good for forty-plus year old films, but there is some dirt in almost every episode, especially in the season premiere. Color is usually richly saturated though occasionally flesh tones are too hot, most common in some of the later episodes of the season. The image is sharp and clear most of the time but sometimes there is softness, especially in some close-ups and in some long shots, too. Black levels are surprisingly deep with more than adequate shadow detail. The episodes are divided into 8 chapters without the introductions or 9 chapters with them.

Audio Quality

3/5

The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track is rightfully placed in the center channel when decoded by Dolby Prologic. The sound quality is fairly typical of its era, with higher sound levels sometimes distorted and very weak on the low end. The show’s final episode, “The Inquisition,” is marred by excessive hiss and some crackle.

Special Features

2.5/5

Each episode contains an optional introduction by star Roy Thinnes. Most are brief summaries of the episode to come, but the star delightfully begins making some off-the-cuff comments when introducing “The Spores” making it well worth listening to even if you don’t pay attention to the others (which sometimes do give away major plot surprises).

Producer Alan Armer contributes an audio commentary that is attached to the episode “The Peacemaker.” Though there are a few generic comments about that particular show, most of his talk concerns his memories of working on the show as a whole and particularly his work supervising the writing and rewriting of the scripts each week. There are a few silent patches during the commentary.

Star Roy Thinnes answers a series of questions in a 36 ½-minute interview similar to the one on the season one set. They’re interesting memories, but disappointingly there’s no mention by Thinnes (or Armer in his commentary track) about the time period switch that happened mid-season in ABC’s desperate desire to find a larger audience for the show. Nor is Thinnes asked about his feelings concerning the cancellation at the end of season two. He does make some interesting remarks about the addition of “The Believers” which he felt was too early in the series’ life. I agree with him.

The disc features previews of Star Trek - Season 2, Jericho - Season 1, and Twin Peaks.


In Conclusion

3.5/5 (not an average)

The Invaders is an entertaining sci-fi adventure series, and the presentation here is likely the best the series will ever look on home video. Some fun extras give the package added value.


Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 8 Mike*HTF

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Posted January 25 2009 - 04:17 AM

Nice review, Matt.

Two questions -
Are there subtitles (not CC) this time? and what sort of case was used (regular or double-sized)?

#3 of 8 Matt Hough

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Posted January 25 2009 - 08:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike*HTF
Nice review, Matt.

Two questions -
Are there subtitles (not CC) this time? and what sort of case was used (regular or double-sized)?

Double sized case to accommodate the seven discs. I didn't turn it on, but I assume it's just CC (as indicated on the packaging). There isn't any setup function that included subtitles.

#4 of 8 Carabimero

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Posted January 25 2009 - 09:22 AM

I want my set NOW!

#5 of 8 Mike*HTF

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Posted January 26 2009 - 10:59 AM

Thanks, Matt

#6 of 8 Charles Thaxton

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Posted January 26 2009 - 02:03 PM

Is the scene in THE TRIAL where Vincent scratches Russell Johnson's face intact? It's always been "cut" during broadcastsPosted Image ( I guess they thought it might give someone ideas)

#7 of 8 Matt Hough

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Posted January 26 2009 - 03:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Thaxton
Is the scene in THE TRIAL where Vincent scratches Russell Johnson's face intact? It's always been "cut" during broadcastsPosted Image ( I guess they thought it might give someone ideas)

Sorry I can't answer. That sounds kind of familiar, but I can't say for certain. (I've watched two films for review purposes and some other things since I finished the set and filed the review.) I promised the set to a friend and mailed it off late this morning so I can't go back and check. I'm sure someone who gets a copy tomorrow will be glad to reply.

#8 of 8 Harry-N

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Posted January 27 2009 - 09:32 PM

I just peeked ahead for the sake of answering the question, and yes, the scene of Roy Thinnes cutting Russell Johnson's face is intact. The episode times out to 51:30, right about where it should be, so everything appears to be there.

Harry
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A fugitive moves on, through anguished tunnels of time, down dim streets, into dark corners. And each new day offers fear and frustration, tastes of honey and hemlock. But if there is a hazard, there is also hope. - Closing narration to THE FUGITIVE, "Death Is The Door Prize".





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