Nolan Wood -
Ellen Garza -
Jerry Thayer -
Amanda Thayer -
Kyle Thayer -
Randy Stein -
David Vincent -
Written by -
Directed by -
OTHER ALIENS AMONGST US SHOWS
3rd Rock From the Sun
Nolan Wood is getting out of prison eight years after being convicted of killing an environmentalist for reasons that he can't say after a lifetime as a good husband and father. He plans to return to his wife and son, but they are now a family with Jerry, running a truck stop diner. Strange things are going on, though. EVeryone who comes to the diner orders steak and eggs and nothing else. All of the coaches that stop there are infested with flies. All the passengers smoke constantly. Aliens are at work and they have the power to make people do what they want. Even the power to make them kill.
Back in 1967 THE INVADERS was an alien invasion series that pitted one lone man against a race of aliens that were destroying our society from within. It set the template that almost every alien invasion show since has followed, right down to worldwide phenomenon THE X-FILES. The aliens are out there and only one man, or a small group, can stand against them. The idea has such enduring longevity that it was inevitable that someone would try to bring the show back.
This two part mini-series takes the basic premise of the series, but works it into a lurid and overstyled thriller that never really manages to capture the imagination since it is obvious from the very outset who the aliens are. The people stopping and eating (and smoking) at the diner are so obviously 'wrong' that only a moron couldn't spot them, which makes most of the cast at one time or another.
Who is good and who is bad is set up from early on, so there are few surprises along the way and the twists are far from unpredictable.
The scenario, though, fits right in with current fears about global warming and ecological breakdown, at least giving a credible edge as to why the aliens are here and casting whiter than white Richard Thomas as their leader is a smart move. Also smart is casting Scott Bakula (popular from QUANTUM LEAP at the time) as the David Vincent of the piece, but at least he is given a part that has some substance to it through the mental fragility and disorientation that still exists from what the aliens did to him. The rest of the cast are solid without being anything special.
This remake doesn't have faith in the material and tries to cover that with lurid colours, lighting and directorial tics throughout which serve more to distract the audience than to impress them. Having Richard Belzer popping up periodically as a shock jock with a view on everything quickly gets repetitive and annoying.Top
Now wanted for the murder of Ellen Garza's boyfriend, Nolan Wood escapes from the police with Ellen's help and attempts to unravel what his visions are telling him about the terrorism that the aliens are planning. His ex-wife starts to suspect her new husband and police detective Coyle also starts to believe.
The audience now knows who everyone is, so the show gets down to telling its story, dispensing with the mystery and going for an action story instead. The particular action story that it goes for is SPEED, ripping off the last act of that movie wholesale and throwing in a pinch of THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 for good measure. Events out at the truck stop have the show's one powerful moment as Nolan's ex-wife takes a decision about her baby, but there seems to be no apparent link between what was happening there and the race against time plot that follows.
As the plot gets ever more ridiculous, the action fails to pick up the slack and it is harder and harder to care about any of this until finally it is just over.
The 60s series was an important show in terms of science fiction television history, but this remake will barely be remembered.Top
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