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DVD Review

DVD cover

War of the Worlds
The Final Season


Starring: Jared Martin, Lynda Mason Green, Philip Akin and Richard Chaves
Revelation Films
RRP: £34.99
Certificate: 15
Available 27 August 2012

Having succumbed to bacteria, the first Martian invasion failed. Rather than die out completely the survivors hibernated until they were accidentally released by human terrorists. Initially sceptical the fight against the new threat fell to a small band of humans. Although they fought valiantly their numbers were against them and as the battle raged on the earth slowly started to die...

War of the Worlds: The Final Season was the second and last season of the '80s/'90s television series, developed by Greg Strangis, which followed directly on from the 1953 George Pal film. The show had a radical makeover for the second season, but was cancelled before it could complete its second season, though thankfully the story was allowed to come to a conclusion, of sorts. Season two, originally ran from 02 October 1989 to 14 May 1990.

The first season did well, but not well enough for the studio, so with the second they brought in Frank Mancuso, Jr, who shifted the focus of the series from the present to a short time in the future, where both the planet and civilisation are in slow decline. The majority of the cast were killed off and new adversaries, the Morthren, were introduced, their ability to mimic and possess human beings made the show cheaper to produce. Unfortunately this cost cutting was evident in both the scripts and the show in general, with the removal of the biblical undertone and much of the humour.

The second season has been released in a five disc DVD set, which contains all twenty episodes, audio is mono with an aspect ratio of around 4:3, its original broadcast ratio. The picture is soft and unrestored, although clear of any obvious faults, it’s an old show and, unfortunately, it looks it.

The full listing of the episode is: The Second Wave, No Direction Home, Doomsday, Terminal Rock, Breeding Ground, Seft of Emun, Loving the Alien, Night Moves, Synthetic Love, The Defector, Time to Reap, The Pied Piper, The Deadliest Disease, Path of Lies, Candle in the Night, Video Messiah, Totally Real, Max, The True Believer and The Obelisk. Each episode has a synopsis on the disc.

It was difficult enough to warm to the first seasons, the logical inconsistencies were irritating, like why did no one appear to remember the first invasion? The apathy of the military may have drawn the group together for dramatic reasons, but it made little sense. The first season survived on whether you liked the characters, so it’s an odd choice to get rid of most of them and fundamentally change the direction of the show. They turned a struggling show, with potential, to one which irritated the fans, guaranteeing its cancellation.

The set is likely to be of interest to fans and collectors of science fiction, although in the end the lack of original ideas meant that the show took on many elements of a soap opera, rather than a drama.


Charles Packer

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