ancient Greek mythology the gods punished Sisyphus for being a general
shithead by making him roll a huge boulder up a steep hill, only to watch
it roll down again - and to repeat this throughout all eternity!
term Sisyphean task, something which is "endlessly laborious or futile" as
my dictionary helpfully puts it. Frog philosopher Albert Camus of course
likened the story to be an allegory for Life Itself. After all, we all
have our off-days . . .
(You gotta hand it to those ancient Greek gods: they
were quite creative when it came to meting out punishments for the afterlife.)
But before you complain that your particular menial job
in life is Sisyphean, spare a thought for architect David Vincent, the
character played by actor Roy Thinnes in the 1967 TV series, The
Invaders. Late one night returning from a business trip, Vincent makes
a wrong turn and decides to sleep in his car out in the field next to a
deserted diner. That night he watches a very 1950's-looking flying saucer
When he tries to convince the authorities of this, no
one believes him and he is of course dismissed as a crank. Investigating
further, Vincent discovers that aliens disguised as ordinary people have
actually already started infiltrating human society. Their aim? Their own
planet is dying (obviously) and they seek to invade the Earth. (What else
with a title like that?)
Vincent tries to uncover the truth as well as gather
enough proof for the authorities to believe him. But who to trust? The
aliens already know who he is and what he is up to, and they always seem
to be one step ahead of him. He can't even come up with a decent
two-lunged corpse or something because the aliens glow a bright red and
simply leave dust behind whenever one of them dies. (Quite handy that when
you're trying to secretly invade a planet with someone sneaking about
trying to unmask you.)
like Mulder and Scully never could seem to satisfactorily solve a case,
David Vincent also never seems to wind up with enough evidence at the end
of each episode to convince authorities that there is an alien conspiracy
afoot. But despite his Sisyphean task (see? there was a reason why we
mentioned all that Greek myth stuff), Vincent never seems to tire or give
up. After all, The Invaders had two full seasons to run . . .
Sort of an early precursor to
The X-Files, The
Invaders to this day remains highly beloved of ageing baby boomers who
watched it as kids. One wouldn't be too surprised if
X-Files creator Chris Carter also watched it
as a kid. The show is quite reminiscent of popular The Fugitive
television show (they shared the same producer) with the protagonist never
seeming to make any headway with each episode.
Of course it is quite dated today. With all the
cheap-looking alien technology on display and with everybody wearing suits
and smoking, the show looks curiously like something out of the ?Fifties.
Not a single hippy or pair of jeans on display ? even though it aired in
the same year that The Beatles brought out Sgt. Pepper's . . .
THE DISCS: The show may be 41 years old, but the
image and sound quality is pretty darned good overall, better actually
than newer shows on disc such as Buffy - Season One for instance.
All 17 episodes from the first season are contained on five discs.
RECOMMENDATION: Despite its age The Invaders
isn't bad actually and sci-fi fans not allergic to vintage 1950s fare will
appreciate it. Cultural anthropologists can also marvel at how this
version of the 1960s differs from the one spoon fed to us by the likes of
Oliver Stone and The Wonder Years.
The repetitive nature of the show however may prove
tiresome and it is best that one views only one episode at a time instead
of several in one setting seeing as each episode, after all, ends the same
. . .