The Invaders: The Complete Series DVD Review

Alien invasion series wears its age pretty well. 3.5 Stars

The two seasons of The Invaders included some serious drama amid its sci-fi trappings for fans of the genre, and it emerges as one of the more entertaining alien invasion series.

The Invaders (1967–1968)
Released: 10 Jan 1967
Rated: N/A
Runtime: 51 min
Director: N/A
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Cast: Roy Thinnes
Writer(s): Larry Cohen
Plot: David Vincent, an architect returning home after a hard, hard, day parks his car in an old ghost town in order to rest for a while before continuing on home. Suddenly, in the middle of the ...
IMDB rating: 8.1
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Paramount
Distributed By: CBS
Video Resolution: 480I/MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 37 Hr. 49 Min.
Package Includes: DVD
Case Type: keep case with leaves in a slipcover
Disc Type: DVD-9 (dual layer)
Region: 1
Release Date: 06/05/2018
MSRP: $39.98

The Production: 3.5/5

Pity poor David Vincent. Like The Fugitive’s Dr. Richard Kimble (another Quinn Martin production), he just desperately needs someone to BELIEVE him. In Vincent’s case, of course, he’s trying to spread the word about aliens who have begun takeover operations on our planet. During the course of this 43-episode two-season program (the show was a midseason replacement on ABC), Vincent does indeed prove to a few people that’s he’s not a lunatic. Sometimes they die; sometimes they emerge from their alien encounters still alive but unwilling to join David in his quest for both widespread public notification and immediate governmental action to identify and exterminate the malevolent invaders.

The idea of aliens among us certainly wasn’t a new one in 1967, but taking Invasion of the Body Snatchers a step farther by having architect David Vincent (Roy Thinnes) traverse the country investigating any shred of unusual, unexplained phenomena gave the series an immediate hook (despite some continuity and logic lapses; e.g. on David‘s driver’s license, he’s listed as having brown eyes. Roy Thinnes’ eyes are a radiant blue) and led it to a second (and unfortunately last) season.

During the second season, 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.

Though most of the series’ run but especially in the first season, Vincent was a lone wolf, a single-minded extraterrestrial exterminator who pegged aliens by their mutated hands with extended pinkies and the occasional one who might begin glowing when his human form began to dissipate or by their lack of a heartbeat/pulse, and during both seasons they radiate and disappear when killed. In Roy Thinnes’ capable hands, David is a character we can root for unhesitatingly. Midway through the second 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 two seasons of episodes, he’s sometimes aided and sometimes thwarted by an impressive line-up of Oscar, Emmy, and Tony-winning guest stars: Roddy McDowall, Jack Lord, William Windom, Andrew Duggan, Diana Hyland, Arthur Hill, Peter Graves, James Whitmore, Susan Oliver, Susan Strasberg, Michael Rennie, Jack Warden, Ed Begley, Joseph Campanella, Ralph Bellamy, Edward Asner, Jeanette Nolan, Burgess Meredith, Julie Somers, Lindon Chiles, Suzanne Pleshette, Strother Martin, 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 in the second season we even get to venture into a spacecraft though the series‘ low budget makes it a less than memorable excursion), but some of the props like their ray guns do look a little clunky compared to the toys the guys at Star Trek were brandishing around, and the episodes with attacking locusts, for example, or with a wrecked spacecraft do look bargain basement cheap today.

Here is the line-up of episodes for the two seasons contained on twelve discs. Like all Quinn Martin productions, each episode contains a prolog followed by the opening credits, four acts, and an epilog.

1 – Beachhead

2 – The Experiment

3 – The Mutation

4 – The Leeches

5 – Genesis

6 – Vikor

7 – Nightmare

8 – Doomsday Minus One

9 – Quantity: Unknown (my favorite of the season one episodes)

10 – The Innocent

11 – The Ivy Curtain

12 – The Betrayed

13 – Storm

14 – Panic

15 – Moonshot

16 – Wall of Crystal

17 – The Condemned

18- Condition: Red

19 – The Saucer

20 – The Watchers

21 – Valley of the Shadow

22 – The Enemy

23 – The Trial

24 – The Spores (cat and mouse chase is my favorite of the second season)

25 – Dark Outpost

26 – Summit Meeting (Part 1)

27 – Summit Meeting (Part 2)

28 – The Prophet

29 – Labyrinth

30 – The Captive

31 – The Believers

32 – The Ransom

33 – Task Force

34 – The Possessed

35 – Counter Attack

36 – The Pit

37 – The Organization

38 – The Peacemaker

39 – The Vise

40 – The Miracle

41 – The Life Seekers

42 – The Pursued

43 – 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: 3.5/5

3D Rating: NA

These are the same discs that were released in the individual two season DVD releases of 2008 and 2009. CBS/Paramount has done no further work on these standard definition masters. The original television 1.33:1 aspect ratio has been faithfully rendered in these transfers. The first four episodes (disc one) and some of the latter episodes near the series’ end are very problematic with color timing that makes flesh tones exceedingly hot in some scenes, especially close-ups. Without anamorphic enhancement, there is aliasing and moiré present, and edge enhancement is also around from time to time. After disc one, the transfers are very solid in terms of sharpness, color density, and black levels. There are dirt specks in almost all of the episodes, and you’ll spy some hairs from time to time, too. Still, the shows look good for their age, and the image is certainly sharp enough to tell Roy Thinnes’ stunt double from the actor himself. Fans should be pleased for the most part. Each episode is divided into 8 chapters with the introductions or 7 chapters without them.

Audio: 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. For mono tracks, there are some fun sound effects and Dominic Frontiere’s eerie music mixed with the dialog is usually smoothly integrated. The show’s final episode, “The Inquisition,” is marred by excessive hiss and some crackle.

Special Features: 3.5/5

Audio Commentaries: there are two commentaries in the set, one for an episode during each season. The episode “The Innocent” contains an audio commentary by series creator Larry Cohen. It’s a rambling talk as much about his career pre and post Invaders as it is about the series, and the commentary is definitely not specific to this particular episode. As for the show, he had minimal involvement with it once he sold the series to ABC and provided outlines for about twenty stories. He was not happy about the direction the series went in during the second season and believes the show could have run far longer had there been fewer aliens that were always after David. 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.

Roy Thinnes Episode Introductions: Each episode has an introduction by star Roy Thinnes in which he gives a brief summary, mentions some key guest stars, and once in a while gives a tidbit of behind-the-scenes information. The viewer has the choice of listening to the intros or not either with each episode or with the “Play All” feature.

Roy Thinnes Interviews (27:24, 36:21): Star Roy Thinnes answers a series of questions about his casting and the production of the show. They’re interesting memories, but disappointingly there’s no mention by Thinnes 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.

“Beachhead” Extended Pilot Episode (1:00:48): The original one hour pilot episode of “Beachhead” is contained on disc five. The original version features a few scenes that run a little longer than in the aired version, and the closing credits are done in a totally different way.

Series Promos (2:27): three original ABC promos for the series’ first season.

Overall: 3.5/5

The two seasons of The Invaders included some serious drama in its sci-fi trappings for fans of the genre, and it emerges as one of the more entertaining alien invasion series. With this release, it’s obvious CBS/Paramount has no intention of doing anything else with its extant materials, so fans of the show who haven’t already bought the original, individual two seasons on DVD can find them conveniently here together at a bargain price.

Published by

Matt Hough

editor,member

6 Comments

  1. JamesSmith

    Are the extras and the commentaries new to the complete series set? Are were they all in the pre-existing season 1 and 2 sets?

    James

    James:

    The list of extras in Matt's review of the complete series release are exactly the same ones from the two individual season releases.

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