Dokodemo Door!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Too do na'kuté

Apologies for interrupting my intended string of entries about summer trips. I couldn't resist saying something about this.

I found a fan site for the God-awful late '80s sci-fi series War of the Worlds.

Good Lord. I'm shocked that anybody at all remembered that show. Especially because it made no damned sense whatsoever.

Everyone has seen the still fun-to-watch 1953 George Pal film which, if I'm not mistaken, won the very first Oscar for best special effects.

Well, the tv series took-up where the movie left off. The aliens didn't die from the common cold: they were stored in toxic waste drums and resurrected 35 years later. And, furthermore, the aliens could osmosis their way inside human bodies, obviating the need for any elaborate rubber costumes. This series sort of foreshadowed, in a very cheap form, The X-Files which took-off a few short years later.

But there were two weird things in particular which stood-out about this amazingly weird show.

First: absolutely nobody on the planet seemed to remember the 1953 invasion.

With the invasion being within living memory, you'd imagine that somebody might, you know, recall humanity being pushed to the brink of extinction by three-eyed aliens, then being saved by an apparent miracle. Right?

A memory like that might stick. I've met WW II pilots who still remember catching a brief glimpse of an Me-262 shooting by. But an alien invasion which destroyed every city on the planet? Nope, don't recall a thing about it.

The show sidestepped this problem with some BS-laden fast-talk involving "selective amnesia" that couldn't even be accepted by my (admittedly dim) then-13-year-old brain.

The second wierd thing was that after the first season, the whole show suddenly went from a contemporary modern setting into some kind of post-apocalyptic nightmare setting. And the aliens were completely different too. And the aliens scaled their global-genocide ambitions back to merely threatening "the city".

I'm not kidding. One episode of the second series had a plot in which the aliens grew some kind of impenetrable membrane over the pipe which carried-in "the city's" water supply in an attempt to dehydrate the humans or drive them out or something.

You know, really threatening stuff.

But there was no explanation for these changes. None whatsoever. It was as if the original writers had all been secretly executed in the studio's back yard, then replaced with cheaper writers who'd never seen an episode of the first season.

In fact, in the first episode of the second season, two of the show's "diversity" characters (hard-edged Native American Colonel Ironhorse and wheelchair-bound African-American hacker Norton) were each killed-off and replaced with some guy who later went-on to star in Highlander: The Series.

But purist to a fault, the fan site considers the 1989-1990 episodes as being non-canon:

So, you notice that I am only reviewing the first season episodes and not the second season. Am I biased? Yes, I am. I honestly can't consider the 1989-1990 season a continuation of the show I was such a fan of. It seemed like it was lifted from another show entirely
Oh yes, and in the final episode of the second season? The teenaged daughter of one of the warrior/scientists falls in love with one of the aliens and winds-up saving the day.

What was such a let-down is that the final episode of the first season, The Angel of Death, intimated that had the next season continued on its intended trajectory, Earth would have been turned into a battlefield between humans and at least 2 mutually-hostile alien races, with plenty of room for possible intrigue.

Alas, it was not to be. And this crappy, crappy show faded into something even more obscure than mere obscurity.


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