There have been numerous adaptations of the seminal HG Wells novel, not forgetting the radio broadcast of course, and now the BBC have dived in to create their own.
Now that the first episode has aired, what did we think? Well, we, I’m sure like many of you, were excited by the prospect of seeing The War Of The Worlds back on our screens, particularly as this was going to maintain the Victorian-era setting, which it hasn’t, as it is set in 1905, Edwardian-era.
However, from the opening gambit, when those lines that are etched in many of our minds are read out, “..and slowly and surely drew their plans against us”…I can’t claim to have been impressed. These words are meant to set the tone of what we are about to see, they didn’t, or maybe they did, but not in a good way.
They were read about by Amy, Eleanor Tomlinson (“Poldark (TV)”, “Colette“), who did so with all the verve, menace and gusto of a wet fish. Then we were quickly reminded of the budgets of the BBC when compared to those of Netflix, Disney and others.
The War Of The Worlds isn’t quite Doctor Who CGI budgets, but it’s only a slight step up. But none of this would matter if the story were good, we know it is, or at least it should be, had it stuck to the original story.
Instead, this being the BBC and all, we get what feels like a period costume drama as we discover that George, Rafe Spall (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom“, “Swallows And Amazons”), has, scandalously for the period, left his wife and moved in with Amy.
His wife refuses to grant him a divorce and that leaves George and Amy as the social pariahs of the new neighbourhood they now call home, which is Woking.
The only person who doesn’t care about all that is local chemist/scientist Ogilvy, Robert Carlyle (“Yesterday“, “Once Upon A Time (TV)”), who invites both to his vast garden, laboratory type place to view Mars through his telescope.
It’s Ogilvy, and Amy and George, who discover the first mysterious object that has fallen from the sky. They know not what is inside, or where it has come from, though Ogilvy and Amy have their suspicions.
The story then, has been updated, or adapted, to include this new scandalous affair. This does take up the first part of the first episode but luckily it isn’t that long to wait before the first alien makes its presence known, unfortunately for those in the vicinity.
Although it is difficult to judge a series by just the first episode, the introduction of characters, setting the scene, can take time and delay the story somewhat, when the story is so well known, and so roundly liked, it’s a touch easier.
The first episode of The War Of The Worlds left me underwhelmed, the setting looked nice, the aliens looked decent, I could have done without the additional story and the flash-forwards we see also seem to tell the story way before we, the audience, are anywhere near it.
I live in hope that will all pan-out in the future, excuse the pun, and things will be aligned so that what we see isn’t as obvious as it first appears…hope…