I’ll get around to reviewing the last book in John Christopher’s The Tripods Trilogy (as well as probably the prequel), but at this point I might as well mention that there was indeed a British TV series based on the books. It had typical BBC 1970′s production values, made in 1984. (I’m being harsh really – I expect they did the best they could with the budget and limited technology available at the time).
Dated effects aside, the TV series does have a few differences from the books:
The Tripods in the books have tentacles rather than mechanical claws, for example. The Masters in the show also more resemble tripods rather than the Tripods just being ‘eccentric vehicles’. Another race, superior to The Masters, called the Cognoscs are also introduced in the show but aren’t in the books. Because budget constraints meant they couldn’t show the Tripods themselves very often, the TV show also has the ‘Black Guard’ – capped humans who serve as The Master’s police. There were also love interests introduced for some of the characters. Also the books are actually quite short, so the show contains an awful lot of padding (not quite as tedious as the whole second season of The Walking Dead, but still…)
Lastly, the TV series was cancelled after the second series, meaning it only covered the first two books. It ends with the resistance headquarters seemingly destroyed and the main character, having just escaped The Master’s city and returned to inform everyone of their plans, breaking down in tears and asking, ‘has it all been for nothing?’ So we’re left believing that The Masters have won and the human race is doomed.
Who knows if another adaptation will ever be made. Apparently, Disney actually own the rights. If they ever do make anything with it, I expect there will be other small changes. Some changes you would hope to see are a more diverse cast and possibly gender-swapping one or more of the main characters. It was originally essentially a ‘boys’ story written in the 60′s so little things like that would have to brought up to date I feel.