by Chris Nuttall
Invasion Earth suffered badly from its pre-show hype, it should be
noted. Not unlike Operation Thunder Child, it was billed as the
BBC’s answer to Independence Day. This deluded millions of
viewers; viewing numbers dropped sharply after the first episode and
remained low during the second and third. Despite the awesome (and very
fast-paced) ending, told over the last three episodes, it was never as
popular as it should have been.
I believe that that represents a quantitative difference between
American and British sci-fi movies. In America, the enemy is very clear,
such as the massive UFOs of Independence Day. The USAF, or the
Marines, or some all-American jock saves the day, wins the girl, etc.
Alternatively, the aliens are friendly (ET, The Day The Earth Stood
Still) and the real enemy is the military-industrial complex, which of
course cannot allow the aliens to bring world peace and harmony.
British sci-fi, with the exception of Doctor Who, tends to follow a
different path. The enemy is indistinct, hidden, seen only in flickering
shadows. In many ways, there are clear influences from Quartermass in The
X Files, which would have been a far better comparison for Invasion
The plot is fairly simple, by the standards of British sci-fi. An alien
spacecraft is detected and shot down by the RAF, which reveals that the
pilot is in fact human and chased by both the military and another alien
faction. The attempts by the nDs, as the second faction becomes known as,
to kidnap the pilot provides the series with its first element of creeping
horror, another stable of British sci-fi. It rapidly becomes clear that
the first alien faction has lost its war…and the nDs are coming for
The nDs themselves are nothing like the Daleks. Extradimensional
creatures, they move around by opening portals into our dimension and
using biological warfare to convert humans into miniature farms for their
expansion. They are powerful and they cannot be stopped…there is only
one way to convince them to leave.
Some critics, when they had stopped raving about the lack of exploding
spacecraft, claimed that the series had no clearly defined end. That is
incorrect; the series had a clearly defined and chilling end – it was
the perfect place to end the series.
Now that Invasion Earth has – FINALLY – been released on DVD, it
seemed like the perfect time to review it for people who are sick of
exploding spacecraft and want something more cerebral. It may not be quite
as visually exciting as Independence Day, but it certainly has a
"The Last War"
A UFO is shot down over Scotland while it was sending a signal into
space. Frustrated by the RAF cover-up, the pilot who downed the craft
teams up with a scientist who caught its transmission to find out what the
craft was…while there are hints that there is more than one alien race
"The Fourth Dimension"
After a yellow portal appears for a short time trying to drag in the
UFO pilot, they decide to remove the implant discovered in his teeth. But
as the implant is taken for analysis another portal appears which draws
Friday, Tucker and three soldiers into it. Frustrated at his inability to
stop it, Reece condones a brutal interrogation of the pilot.
"Only the Dead"
While they manage to get some of the UFO's systems working, the pilot
finally tells his story…and reveals the existence of the monstrous NDs.
"The Fall of Man"
Unable to convince his superiors of the existence of the NDs, Reece
tries to trap one using Terell's craft as bait…unaware that the NDs only
want one thing from the craft. Meanwhile, The town of Kirkhaven becomes
the focus as more and more of its inhabitants succumb to the disease
spread by Cdr. Friday.
"The Battle More Costly"
Meanwhile Shay tries to find a way to detect the gates, while Preston
researches a ND toxin. Victory seems likely…but the nDs have more than
one trick in their store…
"The Shatterer of Worlds"
A huge black hill appears outside Kirkhaven, slowly enveloping more and
more land. When even heavy artillery fire leaves it unharmed, Reece
decides that someone must try to fly though it and gather data…and
discover the price for ending the threat forever.