War of the Worlds is perfect for The Walking Dead fans

Image of a zombie, The Walking Dead 101 "Day's Gone Bye". The Walking Dead (2010). Photo credit: AMC/Gene Page
Image of a zombie, The Walking Dead 101 "Day's Gone Bye". The Walking Dead (2010). Photo credit: AMC/Gene Page /

War of the Worlds is back in a gritty new retelling on EPIX, and The Walking Dead fans will appreciate the parallels between surviving zombies and aliens.

Instead of a zombie apocalypse, the re-imagining of the H.G. Wells classic War of the Worlds features an alien apocalypse with unmistakable parallels to The Walking Dead. Though one show features aliens and the other is about the undead, fans of post-apocalyptic survival stories will truly enjoy this modern update of the classic alien invasion story.

The short version of the modern retelling is this: Scientists intercept an alien signal, but the ships arrive before anyone can react. An electromagnetic pulse kills anyone who isn’t underground or protected by metal, so unless you were in a subway or elevator or the like, you’re dead. Dead bodies are all over the place, and slowly but surely we start to see aliens. Naturally, they’re not E.T.-aliens, rather they have four legs and a proboscis-like protrusion on their faces.

Everything happens very fast, so there’s very little time to establish what happened, what’s happening or what needs to happen. It’s a matter of finding a safe place and staying away from the aliens.

Fans of The Walking Dead will appreciate lots of wide shots of deserted cities as well as the quest to survive and protect one’s own family over strangers. Things break down so fast that there’s no time to do anything other than react, and as the realization dawns that no help is coming, survivors start taking matters into their own hands.

As a fan of The Walking Dead Universe I have to admit that watching the first three episodes of the show was almost painful because TWD fans have spent ten years “learning” how to survive in an apocalypse. There are rules to follow if you want to make it in this new world. War of the Worlds is so realistic that it’s easy to forget that only a few days have passed since the world fell apart. I found myself frustrated that the characters were making very bad decisions, but then you have to remember that the people in this world are still learning. And they have a lot to learn, just like our friends in the apocalypse.

With so many parallels with The Walking Dead, though, I was drawn into War of the Worlds because of the layer of authenticity that the show presents. It’s not difficult to imagine that an alien attack would look exactly like this. It is set in Europe with a multilingual cast (be ready for subtitles!), which is different and refreshing for TWD fans. The characters are intriguing and the story has plenty of twists and modern updates to make it compelling from the very start.

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If you’re looking for something new to watch between new episodes of The Walking Dead, give War of the Worlds a try. They’re two different genres, sure, but the two shows have a lot in common and if nothing else the first few episodes will make you yearn for the first season of The Walking Dead.

New episodes of War of the Worlds are released every Sunday on EPIX. The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.