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#21 chemistry1973

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 04:15 PM

Those UK shows look awesome - and of course Dr. Who made it over to the US to achieve a very strong cult status, but not much else in terms of Sci Fi. I do think I remember UFO being on PBS - that's a hazy memory.


The US has no shortage of cult scfi shows, but Space 1999 might be the cultiest of all. (And whoops - it was a British produced series!!!)

Essentially Star Trek, but with the Moon as the Enterprise, and a bit more adult, and a bit boring - but when it wasn't boring, it could be white as a sheet, up all night terrifying:



#22 chemistry1973

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 04:25 PM

Otherworld is a show my brother and I still reference. We know no one else who has seen it.

 

It aired for most of one season in 1985. If memory serves, it was excellent. Jonathan Banks (Mike from Breaking Bad) is the baddie.

 

Though there is a greater arch, with the family trapped in a parallel dimension (a planet actually - 'Thel'), each episode is a bit like Black Mirror - the family, on the run from the bad guys, travels to a new "Zone" every episode - they're trying to hide and attempts to fit in and hide from the Zone Troopers, led by Banks, trying to capture them.

 

I think an updated series like this could totally work now - with a family traveling to different bizarro versions of American culture - you could tackle all kinds of social issues in a fun way. It's what the series tried to do.

 

(I'm also realizing that SciFi television was great means for porn-subtlety.)

 

---

In the first episode, the Sterling family (Hal, June, Trace, Gina, Smith) take a tour of the interior of the Great Pyramid of Giza at the same time as a once-in-ten-thousand-years conjunction of the planets. Inside, they are abandoned by their guide, and as they try to get out, they are mysteriously transported to another planet which may or may not be in a parallel universe.

On this other planet, (called 'Thel') which is inhabited by humans, there are no familiar countries or states. The area they are in is divided up into self-contained "Zones," each with a wildly different style of government and way of life, although the province of "Imar" (ruled by a Praetor) appears to be the central seat of government for this entire Earth. Most of Thel's history is not revealed, although the pilot episode contains references to 'territories', android creators, and 'wars of unification'. It is thus unknown whether Thel is an alternate universe version of Earth, or another planet entirely.

Travel between Zones is so strictly regulated to the point that no one can travel outside their home zone province (save for the Zone troopers), and all maps have been banned by the state. Thus, the inhabitants of each zone know absolutely nothing about life in other areas. The family could not know about the travel ban, and approached a soldier (the first Thel native they met) in all innocence, seeking help, while the soldier - Kommander Nuveen Kroll, reputed to be the worst, and most ill-tempered of all Zone Troopers - viewed them as lawbreakers and treated them as such. When Hal insists they need help, Kroll attempts to arrest them and gets rough with Smith, the youngest of the Sterling sons. The Sterlings resist and, in the struggle, Kroll's sidearm weapon goes off, the blast rendering him unconscious. The Sterlings take his access crystal, (which is possessed only by Zone Trooper officers, and which gives them security access to state-controlled equipment and information data banks) his vehicle, and his sidearm and drive away. For the rest of the series, Kroll is resolute in his attempts to recover his crystal, capture the Sterlings (whom, in a report to his superior, he would later regard as a band of "armed terrorists") and subject them to severe punishment. The Sterling family's first night in Thel was spent in a province called Sarlax. This province is an ages old mining colony where sophisticated androids labored at mining a radioactive mineral named "Sarlax". The mineral is just radioactive enough to make humans sick which necessitates the android labor force. The androids are sophisticated enough to have created a culture of their own and are related to the once ancient robots that ruled Thel in the past. It is here that a friendly android couple gives the Sterlings a historical book called "The Book of Imar" which chronicles the history of not just the planet but the androids and the culture of Thel.

The Church of Artificial Intelligence is the official state religion of Thel, and no conflicting ideologies are permitted. Very few actual details about this religion are known, except that it appears to be centered on the worship of robots, computers and cybernetic technology (adherents are, in one episode, said to use "Worship Modules" which are electronic in nature). There is mention in the first episode of a race of humans that created primitive robots and then died out. Eventually the robots became bored and evolved themselves through continued upgrades and modifications until they created what is known as a plasmoid being: an android that was a biomechanical equivalent of a true human in almost every aspect. These plasmoids were so in love with their creators that they even built in lifespans into their being so that they would be able to emulate death much like their onetime human masters. Eventually they began the process of recreating humans by a process that is not explained but once again Thel was populated by a majority of human lifeforms.

A series of Egyptian-like stone markers (Obelisks), each with one eye, are supposed to mark the way to Imar, a city with beautiful buildings and a suspension bridge (the city shown in the opening credits, apparently intended to be Imar, is a photographic negative of New York City).

Each episode had the family dealing with the bizarre ways of life in each "Zone," and at the end of the episode, fleeing one Zone for another, pursued by Commander Kroll (Jonathan Banks) and his Zone Troopers. Kroll is intent on revenge, given that the Sterlings stole his high security access crystal, acquired during their disastrous encounter in the first episode.

---



#23 Moving Target

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 04:30 PM

Those UK shows look awesome - and of course Dr. Who made it over to the US to achieve a very strong cult status, but not much else in terms of Sci Fi. I do think I remember UFO being on PBS - that's a hazy memory.
 
 
The US has no shortage of cult scfi shows, but Space 1999 might be the cultiest of all.
 
Essentially Star Trek, but with the Moon as the Enterprise, and a bit more adult, and a bit boring - but when it wasn't boring, it could be white as a sheet, up all night terrifying:
 


That thing freaked me out at age ten. Much later I think of it as a Lovecraftian Elder God.

#24 chemistry1973

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 04:36 PM

Good point- never realized that but yes, that creature is straight out of Lovecraft.

The scene made my cry as a kid.

#25 chemistry1973

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 04:40 PM

from Wiki:

 

 Space: 1999 owes much of its visual design to pre-production work for the never-made second series of UFO, which would have been set primarily on the Moon and featured a more extensive Moonbase.



#26 Slim

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 07:41 PM

I watched Space:1999 at the time but I didn't much like it. Seemed a bit hippyish and the general style of it has aged quite badly. Plus, the idea of the entire Moon being blasted out of orbit, more or less intact and wandering off across the universe on its own is wildly implausible, even for sci-fi.

 

How far would the Moon get in a few years, anyway? Not that far, yet they encounter new solar systems, new planets and new alien races every other episode.

 

I must look for a What Would Happen If The Moon Left Orbit video on YouTube, there's bound to be one. Permanent, dramatic climatic change on large parts of the Earth's surface and a prolonged series of natural disasters, I expect.



#27 chemistry1973

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 08:44 PM

I watched Space:1999 at the time but I didn't much like it. Seemed a bit hippyish and the general style of it has aged quite badly. Plus, the idea of the entire Moon being blasted out of orbit, more or less intact and wandering off across the universe on its own is wildly implausible, even for sci-fi.

 

How far would the Moon get in a few years, anyway? Not that far, yet they encounter new solar systems, new planets and new alien races every other episode.

 

I must look for a What Would Happen If The Moon Left Orbit video on YouTube, there's bound to be one. Permanent, dramatic climatic change on large parts of the Earth's surface and a prolonged series of natural disasters, I expect.

Wormholes bro...



#28 chemistry1973

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 08:47 PM



#29 Moving Target

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 06:21 AM

Good point- never realized that but yes, that creature is straight out of Lovecraft.

The scene made my cry as a kid.


Grim stuff even now, seeing those girls die like that. And the noise the thing made!

1999 was up against Jon Pertwee’s last season of Doctor Who on Saturday nights. I’d watch Who and then switch over to see the second half of 1999.

As James points out it was quite unscientific. There was an episode where they got to talk to Earth again, whose environment had been wrecked by the loss of the Moon, with a few people surviving in shelters on a dead world. Season 2 was quite different, with a couple of principals written out, Tony Anholt introduced as the romantic lead, and Catherine Schell as an alien shapeshifter who falls for him.

#30 Slim

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 12:43 PM

Neil Burnside is Director of Operations in SIS - Britain's Secret Intelligence Service. Elite among the staff who work for him are a special group of field officers, never more than four in number, codenamed "Sandbaggers". These men are tasked with highly sensitive missions - surveillance of high value targets, escorting defectors, rescuing other intelligence operators in Soviet-controlled territory, the occasional assassination.

 

Burnside himself is single-minded and driven, sometimes to the point of obsession. He's frequently shown as being at odds with his superiors, up to and including defying and deceiving them (a pretty common trope of this sort of telly of course, but it works well here).

 

sandbagger_cover.jpg

 

I didn't actually watch The Sandbaggers when it was shown in the late '70s. I bought the DVDs in 2006 - can't remember how I became interested after all that time, maybe I caught a few minutes on UK Gold or something while channel hopping? I found it unexpectedly quite brilliant.

 

Like Callan, the portrayal of the British Spy is a million miles from the enigmatic 007 profile. None of the Sandbaggers is a babe magnet with a flash car with machine guns that pop out of the headlights. But there's none of Callan's deliberate grimness or darkness. They're shown as mostly ordinary, genial blokes; ordinary clothes and ordinary cars. Sometimes they make mistakes, and get killed.

 

Burnside is shown as relying on the CIA for support frequently, and less occasionally they ask him for help. He has a friendly, convivial relationship with the CIA's man in London and he considers the relationship between the two allies very important, partly perhaps because he loathes the Russians. But sometimes their interests conflict, and they deceive each other.

 

Burnside actually starts to go off the rails toward the end of the second series.

 

Very much of it's time - simple sets and photography on video tape for the interior shots, film used for the exterior shots. Locations in England doubled as places behind the Iron Curtain usually.



#31 Slim

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 08:15 PM

Prompted by this thread, I purchased the UFO Blu-Ray box set - the last time I looked it was about £120, but it's down to a rather more palatable £32 now from Amazon. It plopped through the door today and I watched the first episode, Identified.

 

They've done a brilliant restoration job from the original 35mm film, I must say. I did actually watch this episode in 2002, when I bought the DVDs and it looked super then but it looks truly marvellous in high definition.

 

chick_called_wanda.jpg

 

But bloody hell it seems dated now. The main characters are seen smoking cigars in every other scene. Alec Freeman's cheesy, sexually charged dialogue with every woman he meets - Straker's receptionist, a new girl at SHADO HQ, and Utronics scientist Virginia Lake (played by Benedict Cumberbatch's mum, the delectable Wanda Ventham) - is extraordinary now. Toe-curling.

 

I only ended up watching three or four of the DVD episodes. Will try to get through all twenty-six now.



#32 chemistry1973

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 03:39 AM

Whoah is that Cumberbatch’s mom!?

#33 Slim

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 08:16 AM

Whoah is that Cumberbatch’s mom!?

 

It is. In the first episode she is Virginia Lake, head scientist of a project to design "almost instantaneous" tracking equipment for detecting incoming faster-than-light UFOs in deep space. In later episodes she is SHADO's Colonel Virginia Lake, though how and why she transitioned from a civilian electronics company to a senior rank in SHADO is never explored.

 

I saw her in Kensington in 1993, when I first started going to interviews for jobs in London. Stood next to her at a pedestrian crossing. But I didn't say hello.

 

She's not that well-known. Probably best remembered as Rodney's mother-in-law from the sitcom Only Fools And Horses in the late '80s.

 

wanda_ofah.jpg



#34 baldiepete

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 06:40 PM

In the 3rd series of Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch's parents (Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton) played the parts of Sherlock Holmes' parents. 



#35 chemistry1973

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 08:16 PM

In the 3rd series of Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch's parents (Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton) played the parts of Sherlock Holmes' parents.


What do Brits think about that series?

I thought the first season was good but then went downhill pretty fast.

#36 baldiepete

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 08:47 PM

What do Brits think about that series?

I thought the first season was good but then went downhill pretty fast.


I liked the first three series but not so much the fourth which was stretching the bounds of credulity too much.

#37 Slim

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 09:17 PM

I only saw a few of them, don't know which series - but I liked it.

 

Benedict's dad is one of those faces you recognise instantly from a dozen small parts in sitcoms or old British films, but you'd never be able to put a name to. I googled this pic. Looks like they were (at a guess) in Crown Court (a daytime TV court drama) together some time in the mid '70s.

 

timandwanda.jpg

 

Speaking of which, I wouldn't call it Cult TV exactly but Crown Court was quite a diverting watch sometimes. I often caught it during summer holidays or if I was off school sick. There's one episode that sticks in my mind in particular. Frank Windsor, best known as a police officer in the long-running TV drama Z Cars, played a man who was having sex with both of his daughters. One of them had stabbed him (he'd survived), but only because she was jealous of the other one! Remarkable for daytime TV.

 

I don't think you could put that on TV these days.



#38 Moving Target

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 06:30 AM

What do Brits think about that series?

I thought the first season was good but then went downhill pretty fast.


Standard Moffat fare. Twisty plotting at the expense of character development. The Christmas story where he dreamed of solving a case in 1890 may have been the best. I though the better Sherlock stories were written by Mark Gattiss - the wedding one for instance. They had more heart.

#39 baldiepete

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 10:15 PM

Top 10 Gerry Anderson title sequences.

https://www.gerryand...itle-sequences/

#40 chemistry1973

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 07:43 PM

Needs no summary or explanation:

 

 






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