H.G. Wells' chilling novel of a Martian invasion of Earth becomes even more frightening in this 1952 film adaptation that's widely regarded as one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. An Oscar. winner for Best Special Effects. Also available is the first season of the TV series: The attempted Martian invasion of the Earth in the 1950s was thwarted when the aliens fell foul of the common cold virus. But rather than die, the invaders went into hibernation and 30 years later they are revived and a second invasion attempt begins. The Martians can now possess human bodies and are opposed by a small band of resistance fighters.
Tom Cruise and Gene Barry aren't the only ones to save Earth from a Martian invasion--from 1988 to 1990, an intrepid band of scientists and soldiers battled the Red Planet menace on the small screen in the action-packed syndicated television series War of the Worlds
. The show operated on an intriguing premise that paid homage to George Pal's classic 1953 film version--the Martians, presumed dead at the end of the movie, are actually in a state of hibernation, and 30 years later, they have not only revived, but begun to inhabit human bodies in a second attempt to conquer our planet. Now, a team of scientists (led by dependable character actor Jared Martin) and soldiers (under the command of actor-playwright Richard Chaves) must convince humanity to fight against an alien onslaught. It's unfortunate that War of the Worlds
caught on with only a small but loyal audience (the series lasted just two seasons), since its episodes delivered an entertaining mix of science fiction, action, and suspense; highlights from the first season include "Thy Kingdom Come," which introduces a supporting turn by Ann Robinson, who recreates her role from the 1953 film; "Eye for an Eye," which wryly revisits the famous 1938 radio broadcast of War of the Worlds
by Orson Welles that spread real panic over much of the Eastern seaboard; and the disturbing "Unto Us a Child Is Born," in which the human team and the aliens search for a half-Earthling, half-Martian baby. All 22 episodes of the debut season are included on this six-disc set; unfortunately for diehard fans, no supplemental features are included. --Paul Gaita