WAR OF THE WORLDS (Television Series) – This short-lived series proceeded from a fun premise. In this program’s world the Martian invasions depicted occurring in 1901 ( 1897 novel), 1938 (Orson Welles radio version) and 1953 (first film version) were really three separate real-world attempts by extra-terrestrials (NOT Martians, however) to conquer the Earth. In an “X-Files before The X-Files existed” sort of way the world’s governments collaborated in an extensive – and successful – coverup to pass those invasions off as fiction.
The faux-Martian craft were presented as the explanation behind the first UFO sightings and their damaged spaceships and presumably dead bodies were being kept in hiding at various bases around the world for reverse-engineering and other studies. The leftover bodies from the 1953 invasion were really just dormant, thanks to the aliens’ latest attempts at immunizing themselves against the Earthly illnesses that were always their undoing in the past.
Those dormant aliens are now emerging from their sleep and attempting once again to conquer the Earth, this time by taking over the bodies of human beings thereby giving themselves full immunity. Human scientists, military and governmental forces battle the aliens.
Though all of that sounds derivative War of the Worlds actually managed to make it all seem fresh through quality scripting, fleshed-out characters and a capable cast led by Jared “Fantastic Voyage” Martin, Ann Robinson, Ilse Von Glatz and Richard Chaves. An added element of suspense lay in the fact that the aliens sometimes WON so viewers felt genuine tension. Pacing was a problem, however, and I would say the show’s episodes would have benefited from a half-hour run time instead of an hour-long format. Continue reading