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Friday, 22 February 2008 08:49

Fantastic Journey, The

Ten adventures in the worlds within the Bermuda Triangle ...

 

USA - 1977 - 10 episodes (1 x 90min pilot, 9 x 60 mins) - colour

01. Vortex
Guests: Leif Erickson (Captain Ben Wallace), Ian McShane (Sir James Camden), Scott Brady (Carl Johanson), Scott Thomas (Dr Paul Jordan), Susan Howard (Eve), Karen Somerville (Jill)
Plot: Shipwrecked on an uncharted island in the Bermuda Triangle, the survivors of a scientific expedition encounter a traveller from the 23rd Century who saves them from Elizabethan privateers.
Writers: Michael Michaelian & Katharyn Michaelian
Director: Andrew V McLaglen

02. Atlantium
Guests: Gary Collins (Dar-L), Mary Ann Mobley (Rhea), Jason Evers (Atar), Albert Stratton (Itar)
Plot: Given the opportunity to return home, half the group are sent through a time portal before the Source controlling the city of Atlantium weakens and Scott is selected to re-energise it.
Writer: Katharyn Michaelian Powers
Director: Barry Crane

03. Beyond the Mountain
Guests: John David Carson (Cyrus), Marj Dusay (Rachel), Joseph Della Sorte (Aren)
Plot: Separated during a storm, Liana finds herself in a settlement led by a scientist from the 1960s, while the others, lost in swampland, encounter aliens claiming ownership of the villagers.
Writer: Howard Livingstone
Director: Irving J Moore

04. Children of the Gods
Guests: Mark Lambert (Alpha), Stanley Clay (Beta), Cosie Costa (Delta), A Michael Baldwin (Rito)
Plot: After making camp amongst the ruins of a Grecian temple, the travellers are captured by a colony of children with special powers who hate their elders.
Writer: Leonard Katzman
Director: Alf Kjellin

05. A Dream of Conquest
Guests: John Saxon (Consul Tarant), Bobby Porter (The Neffring), Robert Patten (Luther), Morgan Paull (Argon)
Plot: Captured by soldiers hunting a creature from another world, the travellers are taken to a city where the Consul plans to invade all the connecting time zones one his gravely ill ruler dies.
Writer: Michael Michaelian
Director: Vincent McEveety

06. An Act of Love
Guests: Christina Hart (Gwenith), Jonathan Goldsmith (Zaros), Ellen Weston (Maera), Belinda Balaski (Arla)
Plot: Falling for an alien woman, Varian elects to stay amongst her people leaving the remaining travellers to continue on their way, unaware that he is to be sacrificed to appease their god.
Writer: Richard Fielder
Director: Virgil Vogel

07. Funhouse
Guests: Mel Ferrer (Appolonius), Mary Frann (Roxanne), Richard Lawson (Barker), Christina Hart (Gwenith)
Plot: The travellers encounter a deserted carnival where a powerful sorcerer’s offer to entertain them in a funhouse is simply a ruse to steal their bodies for himself and his companions.
Writer: Michael Michaelian
Director: Art Fisher

08. Turnabout
Guests: Joan Collins (Queen Halyana), Paul Mantee (Morgan), Julie Cobb (Adrea), Beverly Todd (Connell)
Plot: Saved from a society that holds females in contempt when the women stage a revolution, Liana is offered a home by the Queen who intends to keep her fellow travellers’ as breeding stock.
Writers: D C Fontana and Ken Kolb
Director: Victor French

09. Riddles
Guests: Carole Demas (Krysta), Dale Robinette (Kedryn), Dax Xanos (The Rider), Lynn Borden (Scott's Mother)
Plot: Trying to decipher cryptic clues to the location of a key that will take them home, the travellers are welcomed into an unusual house where all is not what is seems.
Writer: Katharyn Michaelian Powers
Director: David Moessinger

10. The Innocent Prey
Guests: Nicholas Hammond (Tye), Cheryl Ladd (Natica), Richard Jaeckel (York), Lew Ayres (Rayat)
Plot: Befriending two men from a crashed spaceship has far reaching consequences for everyone involved when the travellers encounter a community of innocents with no concept of evil.
Writer: Robert Hamilton
Director: Vincent McEveety

 


REGULAR CAST
Jared Martin as Varian
Ike Eisenmann as Scott Jordan
Carl Franklin as Fred Walters
Katie Saylor as Liana
Roddy McDowall as Jonathan Willoway

 

Friday, 22 February 2008 08:20

Vengeance Unlimited

Mr Chapel makes villains repent ...

 

USA - 1998-99 - 16 episodes (60 mins) - colour

Co-created by John McNamara who had produced a number of quirky, off-beat shows like The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and Spy Game, the short-lived Profit with David Greenwalt, and more recently Fastlane with director McG, Vengeance Unlimited put an eccentric spin on the established figure of the avenging angel.

Whereas Edward Woodward in The Equalizer and Danny Aiello’s Dellaventura had a well-known past and invariably resolved situations with guns blazing, Vengeance Unlimited’s Mr Chapel, played by Michael Madson, was a character with an elusive background who worked to the edict, let the punishment fit the crime, constructing elaborate, gleefully sadistic schemes to make the guilty confess to their misdeeds.

Like the Stephen J Cannell produced Stingray, in which Nick Mancuso’s Stingray asked for a favour in return for helping those that could not help themselves, Mr. Chapel offered a choice between paying him one million dollars or agreeing to a future favour. Once that had been repaid, his response “I’m out of your life forever,” would come as a blessed relief. The only person to stick around was KC, a former victim Chapel had helped out. Working in the District Attorney’s office she passed on information while trying to stop the chocoholic with a twisted sense of humour from going over the edge.

When it first screened in America, Vengeance Unlimited had the misfortune of being scheduled opposite Friends, ironically the title of the show’s final episode, where not even KC could save it from the comedy juggernaut.

 

REGULAR CAST
Michael Madsen as Mr Chapel
Kathleen York as KC Griffin

 

Friday, 22 February 2008 08:15

Sword of Justice

The modern day Count of Monte Cristo ...

 

USA - 1978-79 - 13 episodes (60 mins) - colour

Created by Glen A Larson and Michael Sloan, Sword of Justice followed a Park Avenue playboy, and heir to a large industrial fortune turned avenging vigilante.

Jack Cole finds his carefree lifestyle shattered when tax evasion charges levelled at the family business lead to his father suffering a fatal heart attack and he is left to do the prison term. Schooled by his fellow cons, Cole learns the criminal tricks of the trade, becoming an expert in every non-violent crime. When his mother dies before his release, Cole swears vengeance on the men who framed him. Aided by his wise-cracking ex-cellmate, and covertly using the resources of Arthur Woods, formerly the family attorney, now a Federal agent fighting high-level crimes, Cole seeks out to punish the guilty.

Initially sends a playing card to his intended quarry; the Three of Clubs to signify the number of years he spent inside, Cole ultimately delivers a Three of Spades inscribed 'The Spade is the Sword of Justice - It's rapier marks the end,' leaving the criminal none the wiser as to who brought about their downfall.

Premiering during a shake-up of programming implemented by a new regime at the network, after the pilot aired, subsequent episodes were bounced around the schedules. Taken off the air for weeks at a time before eventually reappearing on a different night, Sword of Justice was never in one place long enough to gain the dedicated audience it so richly deserved.

 

REGULAR CAST
Dack Rambo as Jack Cole
Bert Rosario as Hector Ramirez
Alex Courtney as Arthur Woods
Colby Chester as Federal Agent Buckner

 

 

 

Friday, 22 February 2008 08:14

Starhyke

British SF comedy sees the present defended by a starship from the future ...

 

Starhyke is a British Science Fiction comedy from creator and director Andrew Dymond. The show stars Claudia Christian (Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5) and Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett, "Star Wars"), along with a long list of talent well recognised in the world of SF TV, including Suanne Braun, Rachel Grant, Brad Gorton, Danny John-Jules and Mike Edmonds.

The show is set in the present day and revolves around a misfit starship crew from the year 3034. Captain Blowhard and her team on board the Dreadnought Nemesis are ordered to travel back in time to Earth in 2006. Their mission - stop the Reptid army from releasing a biological weapon that will change Earths history.

The Nemesis crew are from an Earth where all forms of human emotion are suppressed, which makes them cold and ruthless. During the time slip, an explosion unleashes their dormant emotions and then the real fun begins!

Captain Blowhard and her crew must find a way to complete their mission without changing up the entire human race, forever.

If they’re our only hope, we're all screwed!! A musical trailer can be found at Google Video.


REGULAR CAST
Claudia Christian as Captain Belinda Blowhard
Jeremy Bulloch as Dr Yul Striker
Suanne Braun as Dotty
Brad Gorton as Commander William C Cropper
Rachel Grant as Wu Oof
Stephanie Jory as Sally Popyatopov
Wayne Pilbeam as Bull Ox
Gene Foad as S.E.R.C.H.
Sue Witheridge as Daphne (Nemesis Computer)
Simon Lewis as Reg Duck
Fiona Reynard as Vilma
Jason Bailey as Christian
Rebecca Nichols as Nurse Beach
Simon Gilvear as the Reptid Race & Dick Wang

 

Friday, 22 February 2008 08:10

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

The original strapline for this series was "It Waits" ...

 

USA - 1993-99 - 176 episodes (60 mins) - colour

With the original Star Trek described as "Wagon Train to the Stars", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was suggested as "The Rifleman in Space", rooted in place rather than traveling through the uncharted wilds.

In this instance the frontier settlement became a recently abandoned Cardassian space station, taken over by the Federation upon request of the Bajoran government after withdrawal of Cardassian Occupation. Put under the command of Benjamin Sisko, a Starfleet Captain damaged by his past and initially unenthusiastic of his new responsibility, DS9 is discovered to be at the mouth of a previously dormant wormhole allowing instant access to the distant Gamma Quadrant of space. As a consequence, Deep Space Nine soon became the most strategic outpost in Federation space.

Evolving over time into a darker, richly complex and adult side to Star Trek's optimistic view of the universe, the multi-cultural setting of Deep Space Nine, more importantly sidestepped Gene Roddenberry's binding restriction that humans had worked out their petty differences, allowing actual conflict amongst the characters to create better drama.

With the addition of the starship Defiant allowing the crew to extend their range, and Commander Worf (Michael Dorn) joining the crew from the Next Generation's Enterprise, Deep Space Nine established a number of lengthy and complex story arcs to create a welcome mix of political intrigue, power plays and galactic wars amongst alien races; the Klingons, Romulans and Cardassians inherited from previous shows, and the shape-shifting Founders and Jem'Hadar that made up the Dominion Empire from the Gamma Quadrant.


REGULAR CAST
Avery Brooks as Benjamin Sisko
Rene Auberjonois as Odo
Nana Visitor as Kira Nerys
Alexander Siddig as Dr Julian Bashir
Colm Meaney as Miles O'Brien
Armin Shimerman as Quark
Terry Farrell as Jadzia Dax
Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
Michael Dorn as Worf
Nicole deBoer as Ezri Dax

 

Friday, 22 February 2008 08:02

Petrocelli

Building a legal reputation and a dream house ...

 

USA - 1974-6 - 47 episodes (60 mins) - colour

Although the series had sprung from the successful 1974 television movie, "Night Games", Barry Newman had first played the role of Anthony Petrocelli five years earlier in the Sidney J Furie directed film, "The Lawyer", based on the infamous Sam Sheppard murder trial which, in part, had inspired the long-running The Fugitive.

Harvard-educated, the Italian-American Petrocelli left the big-city rat race and headed west with his wife, Maggie, to start a law practice in the Arizona town of San Remo. Travelling around in a beaten-up old pickup truck and living in a trailer while he built his own house, one brick at a time, he found no end of murder suspects to defend. If they couldn’t afford to pay for his services, at least he earned the acceptance of the local townsfolk.

What made the show different from its contemporaries was each episode allowed the audience to see the crime from the different witnesses’ perspectives, a ploy that has recently been revived and developed by the LA-based drama Boomtown. Aided by Pete Ritter, an ex-cop and cowboy turned investigator, and the local police officer, John Ponce, Petrocelli had to decide which version of events was the truth.

Petrocelli ran for two years, unfortunately finding itself scheduled opposite Starsky and Hutch in its second season. The writer, producer and director, Leonard Katzman would take actress Susan Howard on to his next series, to play Donna Krebbs in Dallas.

 

REGULAR CAST
Barry Newman as Tony Petrocelli
Susan Howard as Maggie Petrocelli
Albert Salmi as Pete Ritter
David Huddleston as John Ponce
Michael Bell as Assistant DA Frank Kaiser

 

Friday, 22 February 2008 07:59

Moonlighting

An equal battle of the sexes ...

 

USA - 1985-89 - 67 episodes (60 mins) - colour

On the surface a typical romantic comedy drama, Moonlighting was built around the love-hate relationship between mismatched partners thrown together to run a down-at-heel detective agency. Bearing a passing resemblence to the earlier Remington Steele, which Moonlighting creator Glenn Gordon Caron had previously worked on as writer and supervising producer, what made this series different were the innovations it brought to the screen.

Conscious of its own formula, the ironic nods to television's predictabilites took in-jokes to a new level; referencing both high and low-brow culture, jamming contemporary dialogue into iambic pentameter in a Shakespearean parody in one episode, and shooting in black and white - in the style of MGM musicals and Warner Brothers gangsters movies - to solve a forty-year-old case in another. But more than anything, Moonlighting effectively demolished the Fourth Wall, which let the characters start episodes by reading viewer's letters, discuss ratings or even comment on the number of reruns between new episodes.

The meticulous nature of Caron's approach meant that Moonlighting never managed to produce the requisite 22 episodes per season. During its turbulent production it wasn't uncommon for the scripts, twice normal length for a one hour production to accomodate the fast paced, razor-sharp dialogue that harked back to Howard Hawks' "My Girl Friday" and "Bringing up Baby", having to be rewritten at the last minute, with locked copies of the episodes delivered only hours before airtime.

Of all the rules the show broke, the one that lead to its eventual downfall was the resolution of the "will-they-won't-they?" aspect to Maddie Hayes and David Addison's relationship. Caving in to audience pressure for the consumation of their romance, once the characters slept together the main source of narrative tension evaporated.


REGULAR CAST
Cybill Shepherd as Maddie Hayes
Bruce Willis as David Addison
Allyce Beasley as Agnes Dipesto
Curtis Armstrong as Herbert Viola

 

Friday, 22 February 2008 07:55

Man from UNCLE, The

Détente heats up the Cold War ...

 

USA - 1964-67 - 105 episodes (60 mins) - B&W/colour

The most successful of many attempts to jump on the James Bond bandwagon in the Sixties, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was actually conceived during a meeting with 007's creator, Ian Fleming, and producer Norman Felton who was looking to bring the spy thriller format to television. Although Fleming bowed out before production, the initial ideas were adapted to create U.N.C.L.E., the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, located on New York's Lower East Side behind an innocuous tailor shop.

With the Cold War at its peak, pairing the smooth, stylish American Napoleon Solo with the quietly efficient Russian Ilya Kuryakin produced the détente the public was looking for. With the two countries now allied, a new villainy appeared in the form of T.H.R.U.S.H. (Technical Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity).

Played with tongue-in-cheek charm, the various 'Affairs' the duo were sent on by the direct orders of their superior Mr Waverly were essentially formulaic in execution with an innocent member of the public caught up in the plot, hindering then helping the U.N.C.L.E. agents. But the charm came in the outrageous nature of T.H.R.U.S.H.'s dastardly plans, the high calibre of guest stars, and the technical gimmickry and sometimes outlandish hardware Solo and Kuryakin had at their disposal.

By the third season the show had reached its peak and the humour became much broader, descending into outright comedy. It also came up against anti-violence pressure groups. But for a time, opening Channel D ushered in a thrilling diversion to a turbulent decade.


REGULAR CAST
Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo
David McCallum as Ilya Kuryakin
Leo G Carroll as Alexander Waverly

 

 

 

Friday, 22 February 2008 07:54

Lost In Space

Played for drama in monochrome, for laughs in colour ...

 

USA - 1965-68 - 83 episodes (60 mins) - B&W/colour

With the space race between the Americans and the Russians reaching fever pitch, producer Irwin Allen looked to the stars for his follow up to the successful Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. A furturistic reworking of "The Swiss Family Robinson", Lost in Space charted the adventures of the Robinson family, selected to pilot the Jupiter 2 spacecraft from an overpopulated Earth to the new world of Alpha Centauri. When the ship is sabotaged by an enemy agent who has been trapped onboard, the family find themselves marooned on an unfamiliar world, deep in uncharted space. Helped by their sophisticated robot, and hindered by the back-sliding Doctor Smith (Jonathan Harris), the crew set about exploring their strange new home.

After a successful first season, the show found itself up against Batman in the schedules, and thus Irwin Allen altered the original concept to emulate the opposition's format, taking Lost in Space from a suspenseful action adventure to camp comedy, moving away from focusing on the family as a whole to concentrate on the mismatched, comedic relationship between Doctor Smith, Will Robinson (Billy Mumy) and the Robot. For the third year, with the arrival of Star Trek, the once land-locked Jupiter 2 was again able to travel to new worlds, allowing the Robinson family to escape their planet and venture out amongst the stars once again.

The most successful of Irwin Allen's quartet of science fiction series, the show's demise came not from declining ratings but Allen's unwillingness to accept budget cuts for a fourth year, leaving the Robinson's lost in space for good.

 

REGULAR CAST
Guy Williams as Professor John Robinson
June Lockhart as Doctor Maureen Robinson
Mark Goddard as Major Don West
Marta Kristen as Judy Robinson
Angela Cartwright as Penny Robinson
Billy Mumy as Will Robinson
Jonathan Harris as Doctor Zachary Smith
Dick Tufeld as the voice of the Robot

Friday, 22 February 2008 07:52

Land of the Giants

There's some little people in big trouble ...

 

USA - 1968-70 - 51 episodes (60mins) - colour

With the demise of Lost in Space, a fantasy reworking of "The Swiss Family Robinson", creator Irwin Allen turned his attention to a reimagining of Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels", in which it is the Lilliputians who find themselves abroad in a strange new world.

When the sub-orbital commercial ship Spindrift, captained by Steve Burton (Gary Conway) and Dan Erikson (Don Marshall), enters a space warp en-route to London, the craft crash-lands on a planet similar to Earth in all respects, except that the population and surroundings are twelve times normal size.

Menaced by monsterous animals and instects, captured by scientists ready to perform experiments upon them, and hounded all the while by a hulking police inspector, whilst trying to find the raw materials needed to repair their craft, the crew and passengers - which included an heiress, an engineering tychoon, and the requisite orphan boy - found their efforts further hampered by Kurt Kasznar's mysterious passenger Alexander Fitzugh, introduced to be the equivalent of the Jonathan Harris Zachary Smith from Lost in Space, in other words the show's resident villain.

With a budget of $250,000 per episode, most of which was directed to the special photographic effects and large scale props, Land of the Giants proved to be the costliest series made to date during its two-year run, and became the last show in Irwin Allen's science fantasy quartet that had begun with Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

 

REGULAR CAST
Gary Conway as Steve Burton
Don Marshall as Dan Erickson
Stefan Arngrim as Barry Lockridge
Don Matheson as Mark Wilson
Deanna Lund as Valerie Scott
Heather Young as Betty Hamilton
Kurt Kasznar as Alexander Fitzugh

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