The Reel Review
This loose adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells sci-fi thriller now on EPIX stars Gabriel Byrne (The Point of No Return, Hereditary), Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey) and Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People) as people in modern day England and France trying to survive a catastrophic alien invasion of Earth.
This French-produced series has less of the more typical whiz bang, sci-fi visual effects and more interpersonal human drama – think of it as an alien invasion version of AMC’s The Walking Dead, just with dog-like, alien robots instead of zombies. The story begins when a French scientist (Léa Drucker) at her remote post in the Alps detects an unusual radio frequency, soon followed by the arrival of alien spacecraft resembling meteors. Scattered across the planet, when they emit a huge electromagnetic pulse, they kill most of Earth’s population in the blink of an eye, leaving the weaponized robots to dispose of the remaining survivors.
Series creator Howard Overman (Misfits) has assembled a subtle, realistic story that is not so much about fighting back against the invaders, as it is about creating a life worth living in the dystopian aftermath. The ensemble cast is excellent and the special effects it does have are realistic. The eight, hour long episodes are a lot more talky than most sci-fi fans are probably used to, and that’s not a bad thing. But the bleak, glacial pace of this otherwise well-done series might make it binge-resistant for some viewers.
• This French-produced War of the Worlds TV series debuted at the same time as a three-part, BBC series set in 1905 England – think of that one as Pride and Prejudice, just with alien tripods.
• Studio Canal+ and Fox recently greenlit a second season of War of the Worlds.
• Daisy Edgar-Jones stars as Marianne in hit Irish romantic drama series, Normal People, now on Hulu.