(Re)Animations: Invasion America (1998)
Back in 1998, I was going through a transitional period where I was new to high school, and my dad had entered in to a new job. The new job meant going to a new apartment, and the apartment was not wired for cable. So for the entirety of 1998 I spent every day looking for new ways to entertain myself without going nuts with boredom, and I often found something good on television. This was 1998, a few years before networks would bombard audiences with the inescapable presence of reality television.
Just my a string a luck, the WB Network sought out to create a brand new series over the course of the summer of 1998 with some killer animation teams and storylines. They were airing the first animated science fiction epic mini-series for primetime television, and they even threw the name of Steven Spielberg around numerous times just to get audiences salivating for something new and interesting.
My interest was immediately peaked since I loved Spielberg and loved almost anything animated. Invasion America premiered on June 8th of 1998 and followed a very unique storyline that trekked a timeline of characters that reached back in the past and in to the future. The animation from Dreamworks was interesting and often set the tone for an intense story about alien invasions and a half human half alien boy meeting his ultimate fate as a hero and savior of the Earth.
The mini-series opens with the government discovering bones of an ancient alien beast that may have inhabited Earth at one time, and we then meet David Carter, who discovers over the course of the series that his life isn’t exactly what he imagined. His dad was an alien rebel from his home world who accidentally fell in love with a human woman. When they had David, his dad went back to his planet to fight the evil forces of Dragit, as David was left behind with his protector Rafe.
Invasion America didn’t exactly storm the television sets with huge ratings, and that’s a shame. Because as a dark and complex science fiction miniseries, it sets the stage for some interesting storylines and very unique characters. I also enjoyed the time line of the characters that inevitably reach to David Carter’s life, as he has to accept that he’s in danger, and begins to become a hero for his planet soon enough.
Very much in the vein of Star Wars David learns secrets about his family, including Rafe who was destined to protect and watch over him the entire time. When his family and life is ruined by the evil Dragit, he acquires some alien tech including the Exotar glove, which is form fitted for his hands and allows him to enhance the powers given to him at birth by his alien race.
The WB attempted to garner a hit with this series, but their intent almost always seemed unusual. They aired the series previous weeks’ episodes on their Saturday morning line-up but edited out all of the course language and intense violence for their young audiences. So were the WB merely trying to test the waters? Did they think this would be a wonderful animated series for adults? Did they change their minds and try marketing it to children at the last minute?
Invasion America ends on a massive star fighting sequence as David eventually embraces his destiny. And after thirteen really exciting and interesting episodes, David is greeted with a surprise ally, and the entire mini-series ends on a question mark and the promise of a second chapter. The series disappeared from television immediately after airing on the WB and it’s been lost for a very long time.
The WB has never released it on VHS or DVD, and there was never much merchandise for it beyond two novelizations meant to bring the storylines to a more coherent front for confused audiences. Invasion America is an entertaining and truly interesting bit of adult oriented genre animation, and it’s a shame that this perfectly good series with so much potential has completely disappeared off of the face of the Earth for the worse. I hope the WB can re-release this someday.
For now it can be viewed on Youtube, if you want to see how it fares.