Invaders from Outer Space

Computers can see each other? Check. Uploads are doable? Check. Windows and networking are headaches unsolvable through Advil? Check-check.

Now then. Let's start with the week's pent-up backlog.

We’ve uploaded a DVD review of Larry Cohen’s The Invaders (CBS/Paramount), the cult series that ran in syndication for decades and snagged a devoted international following. I’ve never been a fan of Cohen, although my familiarity tends to be with his film work that revealed he’s a less than stellar director. (Watch God Told Me To, and count the bad film edits. They actually make you flinch.)

Cohen’s always been good in crafting a hook, and some of his early work in TV (where he got his start) is finally making its way to DVD. We’ll eventually get around to Branded (his sixties western that’s a discrete metaphor for the loathsome Hollywood Blacklist of the fifties and early sixties), but for now we have Season 1 of The Invaders, with Roy Thinnes starring as ARCHITECT David Vincent. (Watch the show’s opening credit roll, and you’ll understand why ARCHITECT is the funniest buzzword around.)

Way back in the eighties, Barrie’s Channel 3 (pre-CHUM acquisition, pre-The New VR/VR-land branding, pre-ugly orange theme branding) used to air classic 50s and 60s TV shows (Jack Lord in Stoney Burke!), and when my dad bought our first VCR (initially a top-loader RCA SelectaVision, replaced by a still-living JVC front-loader), it became the window through dead TV shows could be seen during the daytime. Most of Channel 3’s TV airings were past midnight, so the VCR was the mechanical gizmo through I could sit in the cool basement in the summertime and watch TV while munching on chocolate popsicles and such.

I never caught the full run of The Invaders – more like a few episodes – and it didn’t really impress me, but it was one of those series that tended to stay in the back of one’s mind, and the chance to catch them on DVD with fresh eyes proved to be a pretty rewarding experience. Dated? A bit. Hokey? Fore sure. But it’s fun B-movie intrigue nestled in the Quinn Martin format.

(Martin was a producer responsible for some of TV’s greatest successes, including The Untouchables, The Fugitive, and many other crime and suspense-medical themed shows of the 60s and 70s. You may never have heard of him, but if you've seen the original Police Squad! TV series, the use of chapters, guest credit announcements, bridge narration, and an epilogue were part of his standardized format.)

Series star Roy Thinnes never really enjoyed a full-blown film career, but his prolific work in TV was enjoyable, including a small role in the X-Files, and an appearance in Fox’ 1995 revisitation of The Invaders. The original series never went beyond two seasons, and it was cancelled by ABC without any further episode or special to resolve ARCHITECT David Vincent’s battle with pinky-challenged aliens.

The release of an incomplete series on DVD in this era means nothing to current audiences (think Rome, Carnival, Invasion), so as long as you’re good with the fact that you will never know how it all ended, The Invaders is worth it.

After Season 2, Thinnes also appeared in the feature film Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (aka Doppelganger), which Universal has reissued to tie in with the Invaders set. Produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (Thunderbirds are GO, Space: 1999), it’s a surprisingly mature work that fixates on space training & travel procedural minutia, plus a fun comic book theory that a duplicate Earth is hidden on the other side of the sun. The finale is quite unusual and ballsy, and one figures the filmmakers probably wouldn’t have been able to get away with such a closer today.

Also uploaded: a review of Mark's Snow's The X-Files: I Want to Believe CD, from Decca.

Coming right up: reviews of two more Masters of Horror entries: Stuart Gordon's The Black Cat, and Tobe Hooper's The Damned Thing from Anchor Bay/Starz.

And imminent: a review of La-La Land’s boxed set of Outer Limits music, composed by The Invaders’ Dominic Frontiere, followed by Peter Watkins' infamous BBC mockumentary, The War Game, the follow-up Colloden (Project X/New Yorker Video), and a review of The Alchemists of Sound, the BBC's 2003 documentary on members of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, including Delia Derbyshire.


Visit’s Main Page HERE!

Technorati Tags: DVD Reviews


Copyright © mondomark