WIN: War of the Worlds DVDs

War of the Worlds - TV Series Season 1 on DVDIn 1953 the Earth was invaded by aliens from Mars and, on the brink of extinction, the human race was saved by the Martians’ vulnerability to common bacteria. Unfortunately for us, not all of the alien life-forms were eradicated, and now they are secretly plotting our demise once more. So goes the premise of this American TV follow-up to H G Wells’ classic novel.

Made between 1988 and 1990, the series stars Jared Martin (Dallas), Lynda Mason Green (Odyssey 5), Philip Akin (Flashpoint) and Richard Chaves (“Predator”). Martin is Dr Harrison Blackwood, a charming astrophysicist who, with the help of his computer expert Norton Drake (Akin), discovers the existence of radio communications between Earth and outer space. By tracing the local point of origin, the duo uncovers the presence of Martians on our planet.

And now, with thanks to Revelation Films, you have a chance to win one of three copies of the Box Set up the grabs.

They are supported in their efforts by Colonel Wilson (the iconic John Vernon of “Dirty Harry” and “Airplane II” fame), and set up a team tasked with studying the aliens and foiling any future invasion plans.

Blackwood and Drake are aided by a beautiful microbiologist called Suzanne McCullough (Green) and Colonel Paul Ironhorse (Chaves), a tough, no-nonsense army veteran who backs up their cause with plenty of firepower and military tactics. Their mission will certainly be a difficult one, not least because the Martians have a Slitheen-like ability to take over their human victims’ bodies and move among us almost undetected. Their human hosts’ bodies do gradually degrade over time through exposure to our environment, so they have to hop from one body to another with some regularity.

Fans of the brilliant 1953 movie interpretation starring Gene Barry and Ann Robinson will be pleased to hear that the series’ creators use that little gem as their starting point. Continuity stretches to the inclusion of the same space ships, sound effects and Martian creature design as the film. Robinson also pops up a few times as original invasion survivor Sylvia van Buren, only now she has a strange mental connection to the Martians that sometimes alerts her and the team to their enemy’s activities.

Unlike some alien invasion and conspiracy-based series, War of the Worlds has quite a buoyant, upbeat feel to it, and the 22 action-packed episodes in this first season are probably as entertaining today as they were when originally broadcast twenty plus years ago. There is plenty of humour to lift the tone, for example thanks to Harrison’s hippy-esque behaviour that clashes with Ironhorse’s straight-up mentality. The aliens are also a common source of amusement, partly because their acquisition of new bodies sometimes forces them to pick less than ideal candidates, they bicker, have massive egos, and are frequently berated by their superiors (called ‘Advocates’) back at their cavern base whenever they fail missions. This happens quite frequently, it has to be said! These Martians are devious but they have plenty of weaknesses which can be exploited by Harrison and his colleagues, and sometimes the general populace, too.

The storylines for each episode are well balanced so that they feel like they are part of an ongoing arc without strictly forcing the viewer to watch each and every one or to necessarily watch them in the correct order. Two example episodes include “Eye for an Eye”, where the Martians take over a motorcycle gang and clash with a town’s 50th anniversary celebration of Orson Welles’ spoof radio broadcast from 1938, and “Goliath is My Name”, where some college students’ subterranean war games get caught up with the real battle against the Martians, with chaotic results!

I heartily recommend that fans of sci-fi give this series a ‘go’. It is exciting, funny, the characters are great, the effects are decent and the plots are very varied. My only caveat would be that the ‘PG’ certificate feels slightly risky given the amount of fairly graphic violence on display. For example, people get their faces ripped off, skulls opened up so their brains can be extracted, there is lots of shooting and the Martians’ human hosts melt when they die. Yes, some of these effects look a bit basic by today’s standards but I would be a bit cautious about giving the box set to anyone under 12 years of age.

War of the Worlds: The Complete Season 1 is out now from Revelation Films.  The box set has a ‘PG’ certificate, a running time of 1,084 minutes approx, and an RRP of £34.99, or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com

And now, thanks to Revelation Films and Cult TV, here is your chance to win one of three copies of the box set we have up for grabs in our prize competition. To enter the competition, please answer the following simple question about the series by clicking the link to the entry form below:

Who wrote the original novel on which “War of the Worlds” is based? Was it:

a)       C S Lewis

b)       H G Wells

c)       J K Rowling

 

CLICK HERE TO ENTER “WAR OF THE WORLDS” COMPETITION

Good luck!

Competition Rules: The winners will be the first three completed nomination forms drawn at random from the entries received by 11.59pm BST on 14 May 2012. One entry per person only - multiple entries will be disqualified. The Editor's decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into. Current Cult TV Production Team and employees of Revelation Films and their associated companies are not allowed to enter. No cash equivalent for the prize on offer. All entrants agree to be added to Cult TV’s postal and digital mailing list, and will be sent details of Cult TV’s events and programmes - please note our mailing list is NOT used by anyone else. Competition is only open to UK postal addresses.