The epic story of an invaded earth was shown in 1984 and 1985.
It centred on a young man called Will who was struggling against the Tripods - giant three-legged machines that stalked the land, keeping humanity enslaved.
The Tripods was based on John Christopher’s trilogy of books. Well, most of it was. The BBC did two series, and then cancelled the third - so we saw Will and his friends escape from England, fall in love, harvest grapes, join the resistance, invade the city of the Tripods, escape and then ... well, we never really found out what happened next.
Doctor Who's replacement?
The series was partly intended as a replacement for Doctor Who - it took over the show’s old Saturday afternoon timeslot and format, but replaced Doctor Who’s tight budget and outlandishly actor-ish style with a lavish production style and a cast of sexy young unknowns.
The series saw some amazing effects - the Tripods themselves were never less than impressive, and the whole series was laden with a mass of elaborate electronic effects and the incredibly intricate model work.
Not enough Tripods
The main problem with the Tripods was that the Tripods weren't in it. They appeared a lot in pre-publicity, but not very much in the show.
The first series padded out Christopher’s quite short book The White Mountains into 300 minutes of hiking and not much alien death machine adventure. The second series was set mostly in the amazing City of the Tripods - which was stunning, but still not much alien death machine adventure.
The show shed viewers (though not as many as Doctor Who did when it returned), the budget grew, and the second season’s dramatic cliffhanger became The End.
This was a real shame as, ironically, the dramatic last five minutes were exactly what viewers expected the series to be be as the heroes were hunted across the Alps by alien death machines with big guns.