The War of the Worlds on the BBC hasn’t been received well by viewers.
Creating a film or TV adaptation of a much-loved book is often a tricky business.
For a start, you have to work out what from the book works on screen and then tweak what doesn’t but then arguably more pressing is the extra scrutiny that book fans will apply, picking up on anything and everything that isn’t in the original text.
More often than not, adaptations fail in one aspect of the above but according to viewers of the BBC’s new The War of the Worlds series, both TV and book audiences have been let down by the latest adaptation of H.G. Wells’ much-loved book.
But just what have fans had to say about the three-episode series?
The War of the Worlds on the BBC
The BBC’s adaptation of The War of the Worlds takes the story back to H.G. Wells’ routes, by setting itself in the Surrey town of Woking during the late 1890s.
However, that is effectively the only thing that is kept from the book as the show’s creators made a lot of tweaks to the series in the hopes of winning over TV audiences with the show’s lead writer Peter Harness admitting to the Radio Times that “it’s not massively faithful, to be honest.”
Whether characters were given bigger roles or plot details were changed, the BBC adaptation certainly hasn’t held back in taking liberties with the original book.
However, despite the changes, TV viewers don’t seem to have been won over either.
Fans react to ‘awful’ ending
Despite promising so much by returning to the original setting of H.G. Wells’ novel, The War of the Worlds has failed to win over audiences and the final episode, in particular, has drawn criticism from viewers who have quickly taken to social media to vent their frustrations.
One viewer commented “Well that was a terrific example of how to kill a plot stone dead. I’m presuming the aliens died of embarrassment at that godawful script.”
While another Twitter user followed up with “How could the @bbc get it so wrong with #WarOfTheWorlds. I was so looking forward to this proper period adaptation of Wells’ Novella. When you start rooting for the Martians something ain’t right.”
Is the ending different from the original book?
Yes, very much so.
While the original book has the narrator – he’s not even given a name in the book but is called George in the series – survive, he also discovers that the Martians perish on Earth thanks to germs and pathogens in the air, the demise of the alien invaders is all but glossed over in the TV version.
What we’re left with is a new red planet with humanity living in a perpetual red mist until Amy discovers a newly-growing plant, the signal for a return to normality before we cut to black and the credits roll.