War of the Worlds

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Name: War of the Worlds
Abbreviation(s): WoW, WOTW, WOW
Creator: Greg Strangis
Date(s): October 1988 to May 1990
Medium: TV series
Country of Origin: USA
External Links:
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Contents

Overview

cover of the zine, Ashes to Ashes

The series begins with the idea that the aliens defeated in the 1953 film of the same name have been hibernating, rather than dead. Harrison Blackwood (played by Jared Martin) leads a very small group in the fight to stop them and keep the larger population of the planet from knowing about the invasion. He is joined by the military leader of the group, Paul Ironhorse (Richard Chavez); the scientist, Dr. Suzanne McCullough (Lynda Mason Green), and her daughter Debi; and the computer tech, Norton Drake (Philip Akin).

Controversy

cover of the zine Bring 'Em Back Alive, artist is Connie Faddis

At the end of first season, control of the show was handed off to the son of Paramount's CEO, Frank Mancuso Jr., who decided to take the show in an entirely different direction. In the first episode of second season, we are shown that the invasion has gone from covert to overt; Ironhorse and Drake are killed; Blackwood and the rest go, literally, underground (they begin to live in the sewers); and a new character named John Kincaid (played by Adrian Paul) is introduced as the group's security/para-military defender. Many of the characters seemed changed radically from the first season, and the basic physiology and structure of the alien invaders was also changed.

Part of the controversy was Mancuso Jr.'s purported reasons for killing off Ironhorse (he saw him as having been painted into a corner, in terms of development, but was unaware that Ironhorse was the character most popular with fans) [1], and especially Norton: Mancuso said in an interview in Starlog that he felt no one wanted to see a disabled person on television [2] [3]

Some fans found the changes to be an improvement, but many more did not. Some unhappy fans refused to watch the second season, others watched but considered it an alternate universe, and still others ignored it all together in the same way Beauty and the Beast fans did when the popular character, Catherine, was killed off.

The changes did, however, lead to an upswing in War of the Worlds zines; fans unhappy with canon tend to take things into their own hands. Many of the zines published were "first-season" only, or required contributors to figure out a satisfying and logical way for Ironhorse and Norton to return to the team. [4]

For some examples of fan reaction, see the letterzine, The Blackwood Project.

from The Blackwood Project #8, a fan mourns the end of the show, but refuses to acknowledge the second season
a cartoon by Colleen Winters in The Blackwood Project #7, one that illustrates fans' anger at the producer of the second season
a Far Side cartoon in The Blackwood Project #5 creatively altered by Jan Lindner to illustrate many fans' opinions about the second season
cartoon and list from "The Blackwood Project" #7

Fanfic

Most WOW fiction appears in print zines, and most is gen, thought there is some slash in multimedia zines.

For a full list of WoW zines, see War of the Worlds.

Single Fandom:

cover of a rare second season zine, The Second Wave, artist is Heather Bruton

Multimedia:

Also see: Proposed Zines

References

  1. This would be news to just about every fan who wrote LoCs to The Blackwood Project proclaiming him their favorite character.
  2. Norton is in a wheelchair, though the actor was not
  3. there is much discussion of this topic in The Blackwood Project
  4. a similar theme is SND stories in Beauty and the Beast fandom
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