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6.02 - Invasion of the Earthmen
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Rate 'Invasion of the Earthmen'
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Total Votes : 19

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peabody
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:05 am    Post subject: 6.02 - Invasion of the Earthmen Reply with quote

Discuss, review and rate Invasion of the Earthmen.

Written by Terry Nation
Directed by Don Sharp
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norw27
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Joined: 21 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The most complete episode to survive from the short lived John Bryce era, is probably a good indication of why Clemens and Fennell had to come back. It's a bit of a mess but it does gives a fascinating glimpse into Tara mark 1 and the show at its most troubled stage.

Plus points are lovely location filming and striking visuals, the restoration is one of the most successful on this episode, the colour is glorious, Tara looks at her best, the brown halter neck dress and check coat, and worst, the hideous beige leather ensemble, all in one episode.

The most interesting aspects from this episode are the glimpses into Bryce's view for the series, it's clear Tara was never meant to be an agent initially, as Steed mentions whilst searching the hotel room, she should not know the regulations, she's also referred to as Miss King by Steed throughout. Steed is behind the wheel of the AC which eventually gets handed down to Tara, but interestingly from photos it looks as though he had the Bentley in Invitation To A Killing, but suddenly swapped to the AC for the next episode, did the Bentley get written out in ITAK?

Major down side, could they have not got a real snake?
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like Steed's car, a maroon AC 428 Convertible, which he later gives to Tara to drive; very cool.

Also a young Warren Clarke (pre-Clockwork Orange) and Christopher Chittell (the evil Eric Pollard from long-running soap Emmerdale Farm).

The Star Trek pastiche could have been a good joke if done properly.

Sadly it wasn't. Still, the humpty-dumpty monster is fun, until it's easily felled with a flying jump-kick.

3/10. One bowler out of 4. Not really very good.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brian Clemens said that he kept this one mostly untouched as he felt Terry Nation had a sense of the show as he saw it (indeed they made him script editor a few stories later). It's only really Linda's real dyed hair being made into a Tara wig that changes anything.

It's a very atmospheric episode, probably helped being shot in a seemingly rather dreary winter. The images are all quite dark, which helped for the exterior/interior quarry sequences.

The idea is bonkers but maybe a bit too bonkers. Maybe it's an idea that hasn't dated well as we no longer look to space travel with the same awe as the pre-moon landing. It's most a creeping episode. There are massive chunks of no dialogue and lurking. Laurie Johnson scores this very sympathetically.

John Bryce seems to have wanted to return to a sense of the dramatic and suspense that had vanished from the show in season 5. Steed is taking things much more seriously and is no longer as cavalier. The same for early Tara. She is responding to the dangers - unlike Peel who was rather glib predominantly. The Tunnel sequences ("The tube!") are very well handled and are quite tense. Nice use of a lack of music!

I think my main issue is Don Sharp's direction and some of the design. Robert Jones did some great design for the series but the blue tin foil for the Brett's office is lame with the christmas tree baubles. I expect more exciting visuals for the show and Sharp doesn't provide them (there's one point where the set is designed for false perspective but Sharp botches it by his camera angle) John Hough or Robert Fuest would have made this a great episode.

6/10


Last edited by Darren on Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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anti-clockwise
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Liked the other posts and agree a pretty lame episode. I can't figure out how a bunch of 20 yo looking college students are unable to overpower Steed and Tara.
I realize they were trying for the usual bizarre Avengeresque villains but I'm afraid it just looks a bit ridiculous. I can see that this one of the first Tara episodes and things got a whole lot better after this. I gave it 5/10.
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peabody
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I'm in minority here, but I think this is a rather entertaining episode. The script is a bit of a mess, really. But it's entertaining in a bad but very charming "Plan 9 From Outer Space" kind of way. It's an episode that raises more questions than it answers... Why is Steed's colleague sneaking around at the academy in the first place? What's up with the Humpty Dumpty lookalike space dude? Why would anyone want an electrified desk? Has there ever been a more unrealistic looking snake, spider or scorpion in a TV series? The music is a lovely mishmash of pretty much every Johnson score from the colour Peel season, so you can't really go wrong there. Great use of that ever-present prop the fire bucket. Several familiar faces in the cast, too (Warren Clarke, soon to be in "A Clockwork Orange", Christian Roberts, "To Sir, With Love", UFO, The Persuaders, etc.). And seeing Eric Pollard attack Steed with a wooden "knife" is an absolute joy!

So, all in all, far from the worst Avengers episode (hello Homicide and Old Lace, I'm looking at you), it's a 4/10
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MikeR
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A great idea for an episode, but unfortunately the basic concept was watered down during production. The prop snake was something of a low point.
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peabody
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeR wrote:
A great idea for an episode, but unfortunately the basic concept was watered down during production. The prop snake was something of a low point.


You're right about that, Mike. I just realised that the script is better than the episode itself. This could have been rather good had all the pieces fallen into place.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, it's a strong script which explains why Clemens didn't toss it away.

Unfortunately it's Don Sharp's direction that just doesn't give it the right kick.
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Lhbizness
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad to see I'm not in the minority on being underwhelmed by this episode.

This one had some potential as a sci-fi parody, if it had been a little more tongue-in-cheek. Oddly enough, it needed to be more extreme and have its heroes looking at things with a bit more humor. The cardboard sets, kids in Star Trek uniforms, plastic animals, etc. - all could have been easily turned into something quite deliciously parodic. Instead it's just Steed and Tara creeping around with furrowed brows. All the actors appear sedated. There's no immediacy, no mystery even under mysterious circumstances, and no sense of what's at stake or even why the Avengers care about this place. There's a lot of false tension that fails: Tara's meeting with the "spaceman" and the scorpion, the weird interview at the beginning, the whole chase through the facility where Tara keeps getting cornered. The Tunnel sequence had some potential for that favorite element of the Avengers "face your fears," but instead we're treated to our heroes flailing at cobwebs, rats, and spiders like they're in a haunted house. Jokes fall flat. Tara is in her ingenue mode and is given little agency - Steed has to tell her to do everything, and her presence has little effect on the outcome of the plot, except to be captured and allow the villain some needed exposition. Later episodes made much better use of both the leads, thank God.

I do find one element interesting: the fact that Steed, despite being hunted, declines to kill anyone when he has the chance. It's a nice and subtle indication of his humanism.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In terms of production order, this is Thorson's earliest recorded performance - she's an amateur here and not a spy, hence that strange scene where she doesn't know about the regulations.

And it's her real hair before the dye caused it to fall out.
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Lhbizness
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't care WHY it's a terrible episode - I just care that it's terrible.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Calm down. Just sharing a factoid:)
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Lhbizness
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry - didn't mean to get snappish - my phone actually cut off my whole post. I just keep hearing Season 6 get a lot of critical leeway because of production circumstances. Perhaps things were confused and difficult, but should that really change how we approach the quality of the episode?
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Darren
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No worries. I understand your point.

I'm very much interested in the whole production influence on the final outcome. And this story fascinates me due to what was going on behind the scenes rather than the fictional side of things.

But with an episode like, say, The Rotters that's just a totally uninspired misstep that doesn't really have an interesting production background (that I'm aware of).

I was aware that I might come over all Franky when I posted.Wink
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Charlie Parker
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

it is an oddity as Clemens left it virtually untouched aside from the "blond Tara explanation scenes", while the story works it is rather crap. Although not as bad as it has been made out to be... It just doesn't feel like it reaches its full potential.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gave it a one. Can't believe Ed Wood isn't involved.
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Frankymole
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plenty of wood amongst the supporting performances... Warren Clarke excepted, of course!
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Rhonda
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

4 from me. Like the chases.
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peabody
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I keep returning to this one for some reason... Yes, I think I actually enjoy it a lot. Need to re-watch this again very soon. Or go see a psychiatrist.
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