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By James Whittington, Monday 19th November 2018
Long before The X-Files, long before 24, and at around the same time as The Prisoner, there was one show that dared to tackle the subject of "Is our Government lying to us" head on in a manner that was not only dignified but played totally straight; The Invaders.
Running for two seasons from 1967 to 1968, The Invaders was created by Larry Cohen, a man who had cut his writing teeth on classics such as The Fugitive and who would go on to carve a career as a cult movie favourite bringing fans movies such as It's Alive (1974), The Stuff (1985) and The Ambulance (1990).
With bold colours and the legendary line, "A Quinn Martin Production" proudly in place, The Invaders took the B-Movie idea of the Earth being taken over by aliens into a more serious area, much in the same way the classic BBC TV series Quatermass had done a decade earlier.
The concept is straight forward, an architect named David Vincent (Roy Thines) has stumbled upon an alien plot to take over our planet. He must now take it upon himself to try and convince those in power to believe his unbelievable story. Across the 43 episodes a game of cat and mouse is played out and with Vincent facing more than just Government double-dealing.
Though the invaders themselves are never given a name or their planet revealed it didn't really matter as the influences of the political tensions of the time are blatantly obvious. Cold War and Communism are covered in all but name, but this only adds to the viewing experience when you watch the series now.
Instead of relying on effects and elaborate sets, The Invaders is set very much in the now with the aliens walking amongst us and controlling our fates. A bit like John Carpenter's They Live but without the violence! Guest stars came and went including Anne Francis, Barbara Hershey, Peter Graves, Ed Asner, and Gene Hackman.
The series came to a conclusion (no spoilers here) and fans had to wait until 1995 for a miniseries. Though good as a standalone piece of TV it lacked the essence, paranoia and power of the original and failed to grab a large audience. Its still worth catching as Scott Bakula is perfectly cast in the lead role of Nolan Wood but it veers too far from the original concept and was probably resurrected thanks to the success of The X-Files.
The Invaders is classic cult TV with a message that seems to be more and more relevant with each passing year. Catch it weekdays on Horror at 8pm showing as part of our Sci-Fi Zone strand.
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