Rial Majur (Wunmi Mosaku) sits across the table from her husband Bol (Sope Dirisu). She looks him in the eye. “After all we’ve endured,” she says. “After what we have seen…what men can do, you think it is bumps in the night that frighten me?” Her husband says nothing. Rial presses him, “You think I can be afraid of ghosts?”
No one would have believed in the last months of 2019 that two episodic adaptations of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds could be released onto the world’s televisions screens. One, a period-accurate adaptation from the BBC, landed with as much fanfare as a meteorite landing on Horsell Common and was almost as well-received. The other, a bilingual co-production from Fox and Canal+ set in the present day, crept out to little notice due to its awkwardly staggered release pattern across France and the US, eventually reaching the UK in March of 2020.
Will the invasion of La Guerre des Mondes, to distinguish it with the French title, be more successful or will it be “slain as the red weed was being slain”?
(Editor’s note: this review contains spoilers)
When considering an adaptation of a novel, we must first remember that it is always exactly that – an adaptation. We cannot expect to see an exact rendering of our own analysis of any text onscreen; any adaptation requires careful editing, curating and collaborative interpretation from the actors, writers, directors, set designers and everyone else involved. Writers particularly should always feel free to be creative with a text; too much adherence to the original means you end up with Stephen King’s awful film rendering of The Shining, instead of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece.
TV has had no shortage of witches these past few years, from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to the Charmed reboot. While I love the witch archetype as a metaphor for powerful, radical women, one thing these witch TV shows are lacking is a legitimately frightening witch. Lucky for me, when Netflix announced the French series Marianne I was not disappointed. Written and directed by Samuel Bodin and Quoc Dang Tran, this series is decisively one of Netflix’s most frightening series yet, next to Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House.