Leonard Nimoy and Lorenzo Lamas: What's not to love?
June 15, 2013 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Fifteen years ago this month, the WB network premiered what they heralded as the first animated miniseries: Invasion America.

Created by Steven Spielberg and Star Trek’s Harve Bennett, the series told the story of David Carter, a teenager who discovers that his dead father was an alien who was hiding out on Earth. David’s alien uncle, known as the Dragit, is intent on invading Earth and it is up to David to assume his father’s place and try to stop him.

For what was supposed to be such a groundbreaking show, it didn’t put much of a dent in the cultural landscape. Though it had it’s fans, the show pretty much faded away without even a home video release on VHS or DVD.

However, the complete run of 13 episodes is currently available (and remarkably crystal clear) on YouTube:

1 - The Legend
2 - The Son
3 - Flight
4 - Assault
5 - Renewal
6 - Home
7 - Capture
8 - The Trip
9 - Allies (aka Friendly Fire)
10 - Charade
11 - Rendezvous (aka Final Mission)
12 - Countdown
13 - Dark Side
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (14 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
That faint buzzing sound you hear in all the videos is Japan collectively laughing at the claim of "first animated miniseries."
posted by fifthrider at 1:18 PM on June 15, 2013 [6 favorites]

"First animated miniseries" is a weird thing for WB (or anyone else) to tout. In IMDb reviews, someone credits it as "the first prime time animated dramatic mini-series," while on the Wikiquotes page for the series, it's credited as "America's first animated, prime-time sci-fi mini-series." The (currently/ forever incomplete) Wikipedia page on Prime time cartoons notes that Hanna-Barbere produced original animation for prime-time back in the 1960s, though none was particularly dramatic, though you could consider Johnny Quest as the first (somewhat) dramatic sci-fi original animation made for prime-time. And it seems to be odd to call the first season of something planned for additional season(s). Plus, this is all very US-centric ...

Distractions aside, thanks for putting this together. It's interesting to see early DreamWorks, and to see what networks thought was going to work out for new animation in primetime, competing with other networks' live action fare. It's also a bit painful, as a fan of anime, to read reviews that start out "Cartoons don't have to be funny." Somehow, most US audiences have kept "animation" boxed into the "stuff for kids" corner. To think (and write) "there is only so much you can do with ink on paper" is to not understand the true potential for animation. Good animation also needs good scripts and talented voice-actors, but the potential for "ink on paper" is only limited by the imagination.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:52 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have never heard of this! Thanks...it looks like some fine Saturday afternoon fare.
posted by Calzephyr at 4:24 PM on June 15, 2013

Oh man, I remember when this was on, and I enjoyed it. But I never got to finish it.

Favoriting this.
posted by HostBryan at 4:26 PM on June 15, 2013

Crap, I remember this! I never did see how it ended. Thank you!
posted by BZArcher at 7:10 PM on June 15, 2013

Calzephyr: "I have never heard of this"

I feel the same way. This is apparently one of those huge reminders how much TV I did not watch in my early twenties compared to... basically every other moment in my life. Thanks for this.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:40 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

filthy light thief: "First animated miniseries" is a weird thing for WB (or anyone else) to tout. In IMDb reviews, someone credits it as "the first prime time animated dramatic mini-series," while on the Wikiquotes page for the series, it's credited as "America's first animated, prime-time sci-fi mini-series."
Can we at least agree that WB put on the first animated miniseries named "Invasion America" that was on the WB?

..that year?
posted by IAmBroom at 2:21 AM on June 16, 2013

Interrrresting. I completely missed this by being in the UK that summer. At a glance the animation doesn't seem too bad for the time and place. Too bad it didn't spark a plethora of primetime animation in the US.

And yes, while Japan had been doing this for years (decades?) by the point, this was definitely novel for the United States at the time.
posted by Atreides at 6:21 AM on June 16, 2013

Awesome find. Thanks for this.

Also, The Maxx and Aeon Flux pre-dated Invasion America, too. They were both aired on MTV during primetime.
posted by zarq at 7:09 AM on June 16, 2013

Invasion: America is indirectly responsible for pretty much the rest of my life -- searching for information about the cel-shaded graphics (Lightwave!) on the early internet got me into the world of both internet fandom communities and computer graphics/software, which pretty much set up everything else I've done in one way or another. Thank you for sharing this!
posted by Alterscape at 7:55 AM on June 16, 2013

Yeah, I'm not sure if Aeon Flux was serialized enough to qualify as a miniseries but fellow Liquid Television spinoffs Maxx and The Head had complete beginnings, middles, and ends and beat this by a couple years.

Which is not to snark, I'll be checking this out when I have extended time at a computer soon.
posted by elr at 12:11 PM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I remember watching this, but coming after Batman: The Animated Series and X-Men it was a bit underwhelming.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:19 PM on June 16, 2013

I remember trying to watch this, and failing to catch enough episodes to really develop an attachment. Did it have timeslot problems, or something? Not enough repeated showings?
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:30 PM on June 16, 2013

Looks like it was on Monday nights in June and July. Additionally, The WB in Primetime might not have been exactly the highest profile programming.
posted by mikelieman at 6:10 AM on June 17, 2013

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