War of the Worlds

I am somewhat of a War of The Worlds fanatic. I’ve read the book , enjoyed the concept albums, even the stage show. I also read the follow-up book. SO what about the BBC series?

I am somewhat of a War of The Worlds fanatic. I’ve read the book, I have wonderful childhood memories of Jeff Wayne’s concept album, narrated by Richard Burton along with the reboot narrated by Liam Neeson. I’ve seen the show in the theatre, also with Liam Neeson playing the journalist. When H.G Wells’ estate was released and trademarks lost due to becoming 100 years old, a follow up book was written called “The Massacre of Mankind”, centred around Carrie after the invasion, which I have also read.

The less said about the Tom Cruise adaptation the better.undecided

So, as you can tell, I am a huge fan. So, when the BBC drama adaptation was announced, needless to say I was so excited. I possibly was close to wetting myself!

So, as you can see, this is the seventh adaptation of The War of The Worlds that I have had the pleasure of engaging with. The BBC said it was “based” on the novel by H.G Wells. As soon as I saw the word “based” I could feel disappointment running through my veins. However when it started, there was an immediate sense of satisfaction, hearing iconic lines from both the book and concept album, as well as the presence of key characters. There is no way they could have claimed that this drama was based on The War of The Worlds without iconic lines such as “slowly and surely they drew their plans against us” – this line came up at the very start and there it was: that sense of satisfaction. There were other fleeting lines that gave me the same joy such as “a million to one” or “bows and arrows against the lightning”.


When it comes to characters, this is something else that was carefully done. There were flaws, but I want to talk about my vast positives first. Obviously, you have the journalist. He has a name, George. However in the book and concept albums he had no name. This is a flaw I could quickly overcome. Inclusion of key characters such as the artilleryman and the astronomer gave the drama a degree of accuracy from even the earliest stages. However, there was definitely some dramatic license here. The journalist had a “wife” – Amy. They were pariahs in their local community as they were living in so called sin. George, the journalist is still married to another woman who won’t sign the divorce papers out of spite. To add to that, Amy is pregnant. For those who love The War of the Worlds like I do, it’s a huge piece of dramatic license to bring in viewing figures and add in a bit of modern day drama. That frustrated me somewhat.


Other characters were added that didn’t exist in any other adaptation. I can understand why this was done, as a direct copy may bore some and people may well want something different. However, I found an older couple directing George to the beach completely unnecessary. No boats left the coastline in the book, the left the Thames and its estuary. Another frustrating plot hole for me. With very little mention of iconic locations such as Mayberry Hill and Horsell Common until episode two, I was getting increasingly frustrated. As soon as they were acknowledged and started to show relevance – instant redemption.


The lighting of the film and the use of muted colour was beautiful. It gave the feeling of darkness and fear. Along with that, the martians’ heat ray was always green. In this adaptation, it is blue. Whilst this is a tiny detail, I think it is one that has been extremely well thought out. With the muted colouration across the rest of the screen, flashes of bright green would not fit in with the well thought out imagery. So, changing it to blue was definitely a wise move in my opinion. I’m a stickler for the finer details and if these things fail to please me, then I end up enjoying something so much less.


Continuity was absolutely fantastic, if not flawless. I could not spot a single mistake the whole way through. Trust me, I was looking for them as I always do. Again, flaws with things like this make me fail to engage in any film or drama fully. Whilst the first half of part one of this drama was a slow mover, I’ve been so deeply engaged in it ever since that I’m in silence. If I don’t talk during something, you know you’re onto something good with me.


So, in conclusion, would I recommend it? Most definitely! One thing I will say is that if you have even so much as engaged in one of the adaptations of The War of The Worlds that I have, most importantly the book, then you need to go in with an open mind. I went in expecting a copy at first and started to get frustrated. As soon as I opened my mind a little, the drama is both compelling and satisfying.

Available now on Netf


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