SF Obscure: War of the Worlds TV Series


Last time on SF Obscure we got to take a trip down the memory lane of V, so now it’s time for War of The Worlds TV series.

I’d completely forgotten about it. It all starts with the H.G. Wells novel (1898) which is probably eclipsed by the original Orson Welles broadcast (1938), the classic movie (1953) and the Spielberg remake.  All the versions have significant differences but are generally tied together by the Tripod aliens. (Love or hate the Spielberg movie remake but those Tripods were great).

So on to the series. Thirty-five years on, the 1953 War of The Worlds invasion was real. Humanity was saved by the aliens inability to fight of infection, but they didn’t die. Instead, they are just dormant. (A later episode will reveal that the 1938 Welles broadcast was real too.) Dormant, but now that radiation has revived them are ready to take over the world again. In a minute. As soon as they wake all their buddies up and get human bodies to take over because….probably because Tripod aliens are too expensive for a TV budget. There are are sorts of take over the world plans for each episode-they steal brains in one; infiltrate a frat party in another; take over a biker gang in yet another. And a rather cute episode in which the 1938 veterans of the invasion confirm that it’s real and gets to fight the aliens again.

There’s a group of four assigned to take on the alien threat, led by Dr. Blackwood a brilliant scientist with unconventional ideas type. Dr. Harrison Blackwood’s father was involved in the first invasion and he believes the aliens are still here and must be stopped. He is joined by Dr. Suzanne McCullough who does the biology type stuff and Norton Drake, the computer whiz (remember the days of dot matrix printers?). They are helped by Lt.Colonel Paul Ironhorse, proud Native American military veteran. The personalities often clash as Blackwood comes up with a theory, and McCullough sort of agrees, and Drake does some computer stuff, and Ironhorse brings the guns. Formulaic, I know, but it works.

Season two changes dramatically. Drake and Ironhorse are killed off, the aliens are replaced with new aliens, and it’s becomes a fight for humanity in a future dystopia. I guess. Mostly it just looks like likes of people running around and shooting aliens. I didn’t care for season two. I missed Ironhorse and Drake and the action movie vibe just wasn’t the same. I’ll admit I lost interest a few episodes in.

Sure, the first season was cheesy at times, but it was fun. There is nothing wrong with plain old fun.

War of the Worlds was not groundbreaking SF TV, but I had a good time with my rewatch.

So Smart Girls readers, anyone remember the War of the Worlds?

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