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"In 1953, Earth experienced a ‘War of the Worlds’. Common bacteria stopped the aliens, but it didn't kill them; instead, the aliens lapsed into a state of deep hibernation. Now the aliens have been resurrected, more terrifying than before. In 1953, the aliens started taking over the world. Today, they're taking over our bodies!" - Doctor Harrison Blackwood

Produced by Greg Strangis (best known for ‘Falcon Crest’ and ‘Baywatch Nights’), ‘War of the Worlds’ acts as a sequel to George Pal’s seminal 1953 movie of the same name, which in turn was adapted from H.G. Wells’ classic novel published in 1898. The premise is a simple one: at the end of Pal’s film the invading Martians were seemingly wiped out by common bacteria, but were in fact sent into suspended animation; in an effort to cover-up events and suppress widespread panic the government stored the aliens in toxic waste drums held in secret disposal sites across the U.S., and then issued a cover story to convince the population that the invasion was a merely a hoax. The plan worked – until, thirty-five years later, a group of freedom fighters representing The People’s Liberation Party storm a military nuclear waste dump at Fort Jericho: in the ensuing battle several storage canisters are inadvertently hit, enabling the hibernating aliens to break free, while exposure to radiation leaking from other damaged containers renders the invaders immune to the germs’ effects. Having taken over the terrorists’ bodies, the aliens escape with the remaining canisters containing their dormant comrades, and set about recommencing their invasion of Earth...

To combat the alien threat, the government forms a special team known as ‘The Blackwood Project’, named after its key member, Doctor Harrison Blackwood (played with gusto by Jared Martin, of ‘The Fantastic Journey’ and ‘Dallas’ fame), an astrophysicist who was adopted by Doctor Clayton Forrester after the death of his parents during the original invasion. Harrison is joined by microbiologist Doctor Suzanne McCullough (Lynda Mason Green), who has to juggle her work in saving the world with her life as a single mother to daughter, Debi; Norton Drake (Philip Akin, ‘Highlander’), a paraplegic computer genius / nerd; and Lieutenant Colonel Paul Ironhorse (Richard Chaves), a no-nonsense, by-the-book Native American, who often clashes with Blackwood over his more unconventional, hands-on approach to combatting the alien menace.

The show’s first season is very entertaining, combining exciting stories and concepts with stylish direction laced with plenty of gore: the three-armed aliens (now named as the Mor-Tax, and led by a triumvirate known as the Advocacy) brutally slaughter their victims with lashings of blood, take over people’s bodies, and dissolve into pools of gruesome green goo when they in turn are killed. Highlights include the reappearance of Sylvia Van Buren (a character from the Pal movie played by the original actress, Ann Robinson); a visit to Grover's Mill, famous as the setting for Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of ‘The War of the Worlds’, which turns out to be based on real events; the introduction of Quinn, an alien trapped in a human host since the 1953 invasion; and the appearance of ‘The Angel of Death’, a synthetic creature sent to wipe out the Mor-Tax by another race of aliens, the Qar’To.

After twenty-three episodes, which rated among Paramount’s highest that year, the aliens were defeated. However, that didn’t stop the show returning for a second season, this time under Frank Mancuso, Jr. (‘Friday the 13th: The Series’, ‘Species’, ‘Ronin’), and with a radically different format: now set “Almost Tomorrow”, the world is in chaos, civilisation has descended into anarchy, and a new race of aliens, the Morthren, have come to take over the Earth. Half of the regulars are killed off in the opening episode, the Blackwood Project is disbanded, and Harrison and Suzanne go on the run with mercenary John Kincaid (played by ‘Highlander’ star Adrian Paul). Unfortunately, these episodes are quite dreadful: the stories are dull, the direction is poor, the incidental music is an exercise in bad techno, and, even more galling, everyone forgets how to act, making the whole production look like a student film. After twenty episodes, the aliens were defeated, and the show was (mercifully) cancelled.

To sum up: watch the George Pal movie, watch the first season, and then leave it at that – that way you’ll be entertained and pleasantly surprised. Just don’t spoil it by watching the second season…

War of the Worlds - Season 1
War of the Worlds - Season 2

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Legal Bit: 'War of the Worlds' is a Registered Trademark of MCA / Universal Studios. The 'War of the Worlds' logo, and all images from the television series, are copyright MCA / Universal Studios unless otherwise stated; no copyright infringement is intended. All specially created images and text are copyright © Clive Banks; please do not use these without my permission. All rights reserved. No profit is made from this website, and any revenue made from using the banner-links featured goes straight back into the costs of maintaining it, which comes out of my own pocket in the first place. No profit advertising is accepted. This website was created purely to entertain and amuse, and any references to persons living, dead, comatose, in suspended animation, not born yet, or a figment of someone's imagination is purely coincidental. All opinions expressed are my own, so there...

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