The Invaders is a television series that originally aired in 1967, and lasted for two seasons. It revolved around a man, David Vincent (Roy Thinnes) who on the way home from work saw an alien spacecraft.
He then spent the rest of the series tracking down the aliens, who have been behind numerous plots to gain a foothold on Earth, with an end goal of subjugating us entirely.
Historically speaking, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1962 and the United States was fighting a conflict in Vietnam that would have repercussions that can be felt even today. The American war effort was renounced by Martin Luther King, Jr. which coincided with thousands marching against it as well. In the same year The Invaders premiered, three astronauts of Apollo 1 were killed in a launch pad fire and in the 1950’s 1960’s and 1970’s the United States was found to have committed various tests of biological agents upon its own people.
This is on top of a Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union. These were times when millions of Americans were beginning to lose faith in their governing institutions, and the Vietnam war began to spill over into everyday life.
All this domestic discord coincided, in the 60’s, the with an increase in UFO sightings all over the world.
It was the perfect time for a series that reflected the distrust people began to feel in their governing institutions, as well as in each other.
It was a perfect time for The Invaders.
The aliens are able to disguise as humans, though their disguise isn’t a perfect one. They are unable to exist within out atmosphere without regenerative treatments, which brings problems of its own.
For some reason it causes problems with the development of their hands, resulting in pinky fingers that appear broken. They also don’t have heartbeats, or a skeletal system as we understand them, so they can also be revealed medically.
Though their greatest tell is that, when they are killed, they burst into a sillouette-shaped flame, barely leaving an outline, leaving an after image vaguely reminiscent of the shadows left of people and objects after an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, to prove they were there at all.
Unfortunately for David Vincent, the aliens sometimes used human proxies, as they did in the Season One episode, Vikor.
The neat thing about the series was that each episode began with people skeptical of Vincent and his motivations though as you got further and further in the series, the tone began to change, and people gradually became to trust him.
When people think about innovations that presented themselves first on television, they generally refer to Star Trek, though I honestly think that The Invaders was, at the very least, as innovative. For instance, in the 14th episode of Season One, Moonshot, we witness an alien plugging in a device that was to be used to mimic a heartbeat.
Doesn’t it look like a mini-USB? I know that that’s not the intention of the producers of the series–especially since the USB standard came into being in the mid 1990’s–but it’s still pretty clever.
And do you remember Ron Moore’s reboot of Battlestar Galactica? Below is an picture of a human-style Cylon, with their distinctive pulsing-red spines.
Or maybe TNT’s Falling Skies?
And here’s a scene from The Invaders. In this particular case it’s the ribcage, as opposed to the spine, but the idea is essentially the same.
The Invaders was actually revisited in a television movie in 1995, which didn’t do the original series justice. These days, with trust in government particularly low, and America seemingly divided between red and blue states, it would be a perfect time to revisit the series.