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Mainstream - Invasion Iowa - William Shatner

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Invasion Iowa
William Shatner, Brooke Lemke, Desi Lydic
The folks of Riverside, Iowa
10 Episodes 2 DVD
Originally aired Spike TV
Echo Bridge Home Entertainment 2009

Invasion Iowa is a reality TV shows that is interesting and fun to watch, no kidding. Here, William Shatner goes to Riverside, Iowa, the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk, to supposedly make a science-fiction movie. The film crew enlists the locals to play a few roles and work as part of the crew. This becomes a candid camera sort of venture. The Invasion Iowa DVD set features 10 episodes on 2 discs, lots of good natured fun, and a commentary track for two of the episodes.

This show works because Invasion Iowa does not show the people of Riverside, Iowa as rubes. Instead, they are allowed to come across as good natured, kind hearted people who were put upon by a bunch of crazy Hollywood people. You immediately care for the nice folks of Riverside and enjoy their adventures. It is a good thing nothing here is mean spirited.

The Hollywood people include a starlet with a few problems, a stand-in, a very bad personal assistant, a nasty production director, and Shatner’s personal guru.

Local girl Brooke Lemke is cast as a supporting actress and turns out to be a pretty good actor. A pig farmer and a lady who brought a home made apple pie to her audition play the young girl’s parents. Other locals are hired to hold cue cards, be a Mr. Fix-it, and to play minor roles in Invasion Iowa.

The whole “making a science-fiction movie” plot device also works as the viewer is allowed to look in on the casting and filming process and get a look at a few scenes of what a real movie titled Invasion Iowa would look like.

There is something quite real about this reality TV show. If you like kindhearted TV, Invasion Iowa is something you will really enjoy.

The reveal is in episode 9. The last show is the montage of what the movie would have been like.

I would have preferred it if the episodes on the Invasion Iowa DVD set had been cut into chapters. This would have made going back to an episode after being interrupted a lot easier. Otherwise, this is a really fun show to watch.

Special features are a commentary track by William Shatner for episodes 8 and 9

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