Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Televisual Reminiscences

I recently mentioned the fantastic TV Show Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), possibly one of my all time favourite TV shows and my second favourite TV show featuring a ghost, Being Human (The UK Version) edges that category. It got me to pondering some of the other shows that I'm deeply nostalgic about. My own childhood televisual viewing was dictated largely by the vagaries of the british terrestrial television schedule. For reasons that have never been adequately explained to me the BBC2 had a real penchant for showing quirky obscure sci-fi in the hour that was inhabited by the 6 O'Clock News over on BBC1. As such I'm a huge fan of a lot of ridiculously old-school cult TV.

Why do I insist on putting the wank I write near Community?

Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) was a fairly regular feature popping up almost every couple of months. The plot concerned the goings on of diamond in the rough detective Jeff Randall and his recently deceased partner Marty Hopkirk. The central mechanic of the show was the idea that only Jeff could see Marty. This allowed a two-bit private-dick an incredible edge in most of his investigations. It falls squarely into the bizarrely demented category of low-budget british Sci-fi, whilst the Americans may have the money to destroy a fleet of cars every week on Knight Rider we had Jeff Randall driving around in a Vauxhall Victor 2000. British TV of the period knew that it's only hope to compete with much slicker american programming was to be bat-shit mental. So we end up with a white suited ghost teleporting into offices and gathers evidence of crimes, I don't think anyone is really making a lot of money off of this so why don't you download it and enjoy all 26 episodes of something unlike anything else. Avoid the remake though, I love Reeves and Mortimer but that was a rare miss.

It also taught me that sleeping with your best-
friends widow is just part of the grieving process

Another regular in this time-slot was The Champions. The Champions ran for one series in the tail end of the 1960's it only ran for one season. It was the tale of three super-powered Interpol operatives. Each had psychic powers, super strength and agility as well as many other bizarre powers. Of course as we all know a super-hero is only as good as his origin story, so what was it that gifted these agents of justice there wondrous powers? Aliens? Secret Experiments? Secret civilization of highly evolved beings rescuing them from a plane crash in Tibet, saving their lives and gifting them with inhuman powers? No really. That was an actual plot of a real TV show. One that has yet to be re-imagined on the big screen. For shame Hollywood, for shame. If you're a big fan of seeing people pretending that fake polystyrene rocks are both really heavy and easy to lift. Then you should definitely check out this masterful piece of nonsense.

If this picture alone isn't cool enough to make
you watch it then you have no sense of style

I'm going to branch out a little from these british cult-classics and talk about two of the most fantastically demented american sci-fi shows that made there way in to BBC2's cult slot. First up Buck Rogers inthe 25th Century. I've never had it clarified whether or not there were other series featuring Buck Rogers in different centuries. The basic plot of the show was that Buck Rogers, a happening kind of late seventies astronaut is accidentally thrown forward in time by the most bitching theme-tune in the history of television... That is not even approaching an exaggeration, here have a listen...

Fortunately instead of the world being over-run by a race of highly intelligent apes, he found that the same race of highly intelligent apes were still in charge. Also robots. I'm certain there was a hawk-man made mostly of eyebrows at some point as well. I'd love to say that this show is responsible for my life-long distrust of jump-suits but there is another show that holds that honour.

Yes... that is Gary Coleman and a robot.

Space1999, started with a bold hypothesis, what if there was a base on the moon. Imagine then that a massive explosion blows the moon away from the earth at tremendous speed. With me so far? Now imagine that there are some 'space-warps' that hurl the moon further and further into unknown space. Someone convinced a whole whole team of people to actually make this... and they suggested it needed a shape-shifter. If that hasn't at least slightly intrigued you then you don't have a fully working sense of curiosity. Actually now I come to recall it this show had a rockin' awesome theme-tune as well.

Seriously, who was knocking these things out? Anyway I think I've touched on all the shows that I think you should watch... So I'm going to spend the next paragraph talking about the single greatest television show on british television when I was a kid. KNIGHTMARE. If you are one of my readers who happens to be from somewhere other than the United Kingdom, then go find a torrent and download a single episode of Knightmare... I'll wait... I know I make this joke a lot. This is not a joke. Fuck it here's a clip...

Now that you've seen that tell me you wouldn't have wanted to go on that show as a kid. Hell I'm an adult and I'd give a fucking limb to go on that show. If you don't think that's a genuine statement, left-leg below the knee... I've given it a lot of thought. It's combines Dungeons & Dragons, computer games and a ridiculously sinister host. To this day the running out of time face is the thing that pursues me in my most horrifying dreams. If anyone knows what happened to Treguard I will pay handsomely for an autographed picture. It ran for eight seasons and it wasn't anywhere near enough. I just looked Treguard up and he was the Guildmaster in Fable. So there's that. To be fair it seems like the kind of role that'd follow you around.

eddie <I will pay £1000 to play Knightmare>

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