A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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.
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?
Themes & Topics
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