Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Cathode Ray Mission 07 - War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds (1988-1990)

War of the Worlds is a very strange show. A direct continuation of the 1953 George Pal movie, using the same ships and similar alien designs. War of the Worlds updates the plot to 35 years later. The Martians (well, they are eventually revealed to not be Martians but more on that some other time.) were not killed by bacteria but instead fell into a kind of coma. They are scooped up stored in drums and accidentally exposed to radiation which kills the bacteria and allows them to escape to try again.

What makes it strange is its adherence to making sure to stay true to the events of the movie and the (delightfully) excessive gore.  The adherence to the film means that everyone has seemingly forgotten about a massive worldwide alien invasion that happened within the living memory of millions of people. The gore is impressive for the time and still feels gleefully gross even now. It feels less War of the Worlds and more Mars Attacks at times.

All of this goes out the window in the second season which pushes everything into the near future, introduces a new batch of aliens, removes connections to the original movie entirely, and kills off half the cast. It turns into a completely different show and a much less interesting one. Still, we have the first season which has got aliens, gore, and plenty of silly fun. It is an impossible sequel series that could have only come out of the unpredictable era of early syndicated television.


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