The Pop-Culture Guide To Invader Zim

Posted: 20 November 2013
Category: Features Comments View Comments


In the cult animated television show Invader Zim a useless alien with delusions of grandeur and his intelligence-crippled sidekick robot are sent to invade Earth, with unsurprisingly disastrous consequences.

The Pop-Culture Guide To Invader ZimI have recently begun to immerse myself in the television show Invader Zim because a reference to it is coming up in's annual gift guide (keep an eye on the site next week - we have a bumper selection this year!).

Invader Zim was an animated Nickelodeon show that started airing in March 2001. It was created by Jhonen Vasquez, a comic-book writer and cartoonist from California. Although the series was highly praised and won several awards, including an Emmy for storyboarding, it only lasted 27 episodes, split into two seasons.

The premise of the show is that inept megalomaniac alien Zim, who is from a race of invader aliens called the Irken, is sent to invade "secret planet" Earth, which is actually just a ploy by The Almighty Tallest, the Irken leadership, to get rid of him for a while by sending him as far as they can out into space to a planet they haven't investigated yet. Zim is assigned a Standard-issue Information Retrieval unit (SIR), a robot named GIR, to assist him but instead of a fully functioning unit with advanced artificial intelligence he is given a banged-up machine that's missing vital parts (and also contains junk odds and ends).

Consequently, the robot behaves erratically and is more a hinderance than a help.

The Pop-Culture Guide To Invader Zim

Zim travels to Earth, where he sets up a base, assumes a "human" disguise, and works on his plans to take over the planet. A 13-year-old boy named Dib, who is obsessed with aliens and the supernatural, instantly recognises that Zim is an alien and takes on the role of Sole Defender Of Earth when the other humans, who are somehow oblivious to Zim's alienness, begin to chastise him for treating Zim as an "other".

The show is, of course, zany and humorous and, unsurprisingly, it has garnered a cult following that is still active online and has already organised two conventions in the US, one as recently as last year.

The Pop-Culture Guide To Invader Zim: Dib

Here's the first episode, in two parts, to get you up to speed and, if you can afford to (and have a DVD player capable of playing NTSC discs), see the links below to order the show (or get it through iTunes).

[ YouTube link ]

[ YouTube link ]

Tags: #robots, #screen, #speculative_fiction

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Jhonen Vasquez: Official Site, IMDb, Twitter, Wikipedia

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