War of the Worlds

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
War of the Worlds TV Poster Image
Adaptation of sci-fi dystopian classic is dry and overlong.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

War of the Worlds is more disaster drama than sci-fi show. As such, the recurring themes involve working together and taking care of one another through terrible situations. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

War of the Worlds has assembled a fairly diverse cast, especially for a show set in the U.K. and France. However, it does fall into some ethnic stereotype casting traps; specifically, characters played by persons of color tend to be either military officers or criminals.


Violence is restrained but consistent. The series' catalyst event is not shown but involves deaths on a massive scale, and characters are seen wandering through the aftermath. Gun violence is frequent, including the use of semi-automatic weapons.


War of the Worlds contains only mild profanity, like "damn" and "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In the aftermath of a catastrophic event, characters are often seen gathering alcohol as part of their survival supplies. No drug use or smoking is shown.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that War of the Worlds is a dramatic series loosely based on H.G. Wells' classic late 19th century novel War of the Worlds, in which aliens attack earth for unknown reasons. The show has sci-fi elements, but really belongs in the category of disaster-based dramas like Lost or The Walking Dead, where a catastrophic event has taken place and the action focuses on the survivors. The show contains only mild profanity, little to no sexual content, and some characters drinking alcohol. Violence is restrained but constant. Aside from the central catastrophic event (in which aliens kill a significant portion of the population), gun violence is often present, including the frequent use of automatic weapons.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byScott W March 20, 2020


I started watching this with my wife, 13 and 14 year old children and found it to be much darker than I was expecting. Dead bodies all over even though the de... Continue reading

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What's the story?

In WAR OF THE WORLDS, aliens arrive on Earth with unknown intentions, and the inhabitants of France and Britain are surprised to learn they are not friendly. In the aftermath of a massive attack, small groups of survivors struggle to figure out how to save themselves and the planet.

Is it any good?

This show feels like it's trying to stretch a film's worth of material over eight hour-long episodes, but without the character or plot development that would make it worthwhile to the average viewer. There's a reason most people are more familiar with the story around Orson Welles' 1938 radio broadcast of War of the Worlds than the novel itself: there's not really much to it. H.G. Wells intended his serialized novel to be a simple anti-colonialist parable.  This episodic War of the Worlds though doesn't seem interested in the sociopolitical aspects of the story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the aliens. What do the characters in War of the Worlds know about the aliens that have come to earth? How do people expect them to behave? Are those expectations fulfilled? 

  • Who are some of the characters we get to know throughout the show? What do we know of their lives before the aliens arrive? How has the aliens' arrival changed life as they knew it? 

  • What responsibilities do we have to our fellow humans in the wake of a catastrophic event? What are the characters' priorities after the aliens arrive? Do you think these priorities will help them survive?

TV details

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