Sunday, February 28, 2016

THE INVADERS: The Experiment

Starring Roy Thinnes
Guest Stars:  Roddy McDowall, Laurence Naismith, Harold Gould, Dabbs Greer, Lawrence Montaigne
Directed by Joseph Sargent
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

David reaches out to a scientist who also believes in the alien invasion, and has documented proof of its existence, but the aliens are also on his trail.

There's quite a few pyrotechnics in this installment, which reveals the aliens have been experimenting with brain surgery and McDowall is very good as one of their first victims.  Naismith, familiar to sci-fi fans from Village Of The Damned and The Valley Of Gwangi also gives a fine performance as the scientist who seems to be the only human besides Vincent who knows the truth, and finds his life in danger because of it.  To this point, the series seems to be not focusing in on one group of aliens but pockets of them across the country, conveniently allowing them to be played by different guest stars.  It'll be interesting to see if any recurring characters are developed, and how they'll play off of Thinnes.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

THE INVADERS: Beachhead

Starring Roy Thinnes
Guest Stars:  Diane Baker, J.D. Cannon, James Daly, John Milford, Ellen Corby
Directed by Joseph Sargent
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

An architect witnesses a UFO landing, but when the police fail to find any proof, he traces the aliens to a small town where he discovers they are impersonating human beings.

The pilot for an interesting science fiction series, this episode doesn't feature any outstanding special effects, but nevertheless is well-filmed and nicely builds suspense through what is not shown, as we're introduced to a mysterious corporation obviously staffed by aliens we only see in human form, who store strange glass canisters in an abandoned power plant.  Thinnes is fine as the protagonist and is surrounded by a veteran guest cast, including Baker from films like Journey To The Center Of The Earth and Marnie, and Corby playing a murderous old woman in a departure from her usual genteel roles. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

THE TWILIGHT ZONE: The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine

Hosted by Rod Serling
Guest Stars:  Ida Lupino, Martin Balsam, Jerome Cowan, Ted de Corsia, Alice Frost
Directed by Mitchell Leisen
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A former movie star stays secluded in her home, shutting out the outside world, and reliving the past by watching her old movies over and over again.

The story is obviously inspired by Gloria Swanson's role in Sunset Boulevard, with Lupino playing the faded actress here in the same type of casting, as she was playing young ingenue roles decades ago just like her character.  After reading Lupino's biography on Wikipedia, which reveals she was suspended by her studio for turning down parts she didn't think appropriate, one would have to assume this role certainly paralleled her own life, including a sequence where she argues with a representative of the studio about being pigeonholed into a "mother" role.  However, the episode is about more than her career or that of her character, but about living in the past in a changing world, a battle all of us have probably fought before at at least one time in our lives, and Serling's excellent script and Lupino's fine performance capture this extraordinarily well.

Monday, February 8, 2016

ONE STEP BEYOND: The Dream

Hosted by John Newland
Guest Stars:  Reginald Owen, Richard Lupino, Philip Tonge, Molly Roden, Eric Snowden
Directed by John Newland
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

During World War II, a weary contingent of the British Home Guard watch over their village at night, not suspecting the Germans are launching a sneak attack.

A strong British cast takes center stage in this episode, introducing a chapter of history that may not be public knowledge today, when non-trained civilians had to take arms to defend their communities.  The teleplay does an excellent job of introducing us to these characters and making them seem real, as their shortcomings and frustrations are put on display, and Owen gives a fine performance as the central character, a loyal man who despite his age reveres his duty and passionately loves his wife.  The supernatural element is almost an afterthought in the fine drama that commences, but becomes clear in the final moments of the episode.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ONE STEP BEYOND: Epilogue

Hosted by John Newland
Guest Stars:  Julie Adams, Charles Aidman, Charles Herbert, William Schallert, Roy Glenn
Directed by John Newland
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

After his release from a sanitarium, an alcoholic tries to reconcile with his wife and son, not realizing that their lives are soon going to be in deadly danger.

Although a fairly predictable outing, the episode's script has some genuine nuggets that will ring true to survivors of personal loss and toxic relationships, and good performances, including a nicely understated turn by Charles Herbert, memorable in films like The Fly and 13 Ghosts, as the son serving as the glue in his father and mother's damaged lives.  It's not as suspenseful as past episodes, with the ending clear from the start, but I still enjoyed it.