During its twentieth century, Earth proved to be a popular planet for the inhabitants of the universe. If it wasn’t being invaded by Daleks and Klingons, it was being attacked by Shadows and Vorlons. If it wasn’t housing a full slave ship worth of Tenctonese, it was being infiltrated by Martians. The only creatures in the minority were the humans, and some of these humans had had enough.
Harrison Blackwood (Jared Martin), Dr Suzanne McCullough (Lynda Mason Green), Norton Drake (Philip Akin) and Colonel Ironhorse (Richard Chaves) were set on proving that Earth was in the middle of a War of the Worlds. They needed proof that not all aliens were friendly and, in this fourth episode of the first season, they were about to get their first piece of filmed evidence.
“These workers are loading cargoes of death onto these trucks! Sound like sensationalism? You’ll wish it was!”
A beautiful but struggling investigative reporter, Elyse Conway, is working on a toxic waste exposé when she unwittingly captures the attack of one of the truck drivers on videotape. However, all she manages to film is half-hidden shadows and semi-obscured silhouettes, but these are enough to pique her curiosity. Her station boss, however, does not possess an ounce of her interest and denies her permission to follow the rapidly disappearing trucks. Unknown to either of them, the computers belonging to Norton Drake have been intercepting their conversation.
Following a mediocre interview with a canine-obsessed couple who have just won $3m, Elyse is approached by Lieutenant Colonel Ironhorse and HRH Blackwood who offer her the opportunity of doing an in-depth investigative series for the government. When they ask to see some of her work, all she has to offer is the raw footage of the attack and she begins to suspect that this is all the two men are interested in.
Using her station’s helicopter, Elyse tracks the trucks down to a small, out-of-the-way town known as Beeton. Shortly thereafter, Harrison Blackwood and Dr McCullough arrive expecting to find a town that had been evacuated in the Sixties. Due to intensive radiation readings, Blackwood believes that all of the current inhabitants have been physically possessed by the aliens.
Meanwhile, Elyse is continuing her own investigation when she is accosted by two familiar truck drivers – but they both show signs of hideous mutilations and she proves to be no match for them.
When Ironhorse arrives in the town, he helps Harrison and Suzanne to find proof of the aliens’ operations. Harrison discovers a processing plant where the aliens are reviving their race and taking over brain-wiped human bodies. During this infiltration work, they are spotted by one of the aliens and only barely escape with their lives. Having reached safety, Ironhorse returns with enough firepower to wipe the town from the face of the planet – but the aliens have already moved on.
Later, the television news is being read by Miss Conway who publicly ridicules the idea of alien infiltration.
“No aliens have come forward to dispute these reports. But our door is open – is yours?”
In 1988, War Of The Worlds was a series based on the 1953 film of the same name. Utilising many of the special effects from the 35-year old film, the series related the tale of what had really happened to the aliens following their destruction at the end of the film.
The series lasted for two years throughout which it underwent some changes – from its cosy world of the first season to the catastrophe-wracked world of the second. A Multitude Of Idols was an early season one episode guest-starring Michele Scarabelli as the intrepid young reporter whose curiosity really does get the better of her. In fact, Miss Conway seems very willing to follow her leads, but she must have woefully ignored her instincts to be captured so easily. The episode is not, in itself, ambitious – but it does further the alien storyline leaving Ironhorse to wonder what will happen if the humans keep losing their battles like this one and with Blackwood postulating that the aliens must have revived at least a thousand of their kind before they were discovered. War of The Worlds had the inherent bad-guy aliens invading Earth – a task they seemed to be succeeding with.
The majority of the main cast acquit themselves well with Jared Martin getting most of the work and his character’s familiar traits begin to come to the foreground – his tuning fork is explained here. With the exception of Blackwood, Michele’s Elyse Conway gets the meat of the episode – it even both opens and closes with her scenes. The whole series is summed up by the final scene in which the alien-Elyse is seen reading the news which indicates that the aliens are beginning to infiltrate all walks of life.