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Strange Paradise

Jan. 29th, 2016 | 02:48 pm
posted by: mystic_scribe in cult_tv_lounge

I was wondering if anyone has seen the old Canadian supernatural soap opera Strange Paradise? It only ran for about a year between 1969-1970. Initially set on a Carribbean island, it follows the Desmond family and involves deals with the devil, resurrecting the dead, possession, voodoo and other supernatural goings-on. I've found someone who's selling the entire series on DVD-R, but can't decide if I should invest or not. I'm a fan of Dark Shadows and this is, obviously, similar (the DS producer jumped ship to SP, along with a couple of writers). It could be a blast. Should I take the plunge?

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Star Trek - A Piece of the Action

Jan. 28th, 2016 | 01:50 am
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

I've just been watching A Piece of the Action, from season two of the original Star Trek. It really is great fun seeing William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy doing the hardboiled gangster thing! Star Trek at times veered perilously in the direction of silliness but sometimes the silliness worked remarkably well, as it does in this episode. I loved this one!

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cult TV blog updates January 2016

Jan. 27th, 2016 | 09:43 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

Cult TV blog updates January 2016

Fantasy Island, season one (1977) - De plane! De Plane!” Lots of nostalgia here, and the first two TV movies are surprisingly very good.

Ghost Squad, season 2 (1962-63) - surprisingly excellent and quite hard-edged ITC crime/spy series.

Dead of Night (1972) - judging by the three surviving episodes this is a bitterly disappointing BBC horror anthology series.

The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (1956) - enjoyable ITC kids' action adventure series with William Russell buckling his swash in fine style. I believe this was the first ever British TV series filmed in colour (or at least some episodes were in colour).

Lord Peter Wimsey - Five Red Herrings (1975) - Ian Carmichael in fine form plus a pleasingly devious plot.

The Sweeney, season 1 (1975) - simply the best TV cop show ever made.

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my cult TV highlights of 2015

Jan. 1st, 2016 | 10:47 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

I watched a lot of cult television in 2015. In fact 383 episodes’ worth, dating from 1956 to 1976. So what were the particular highlights? It’s not easy to chose from so many episodes but here’s my attempt. They’re in chronological order - I couldn’t possibly attempt to put them in order of merit.

First up was the Killer in Town episode of M Squad from 1957, one of the great 50s crime series and Lee Marvin’s only television series. Despite incredible shooting schedules (they shot each episode in two days) the overall quality of this series was remarkably high. It also had some definite hints of film noir.

Next is A Chorus of Frogs from 1963, universally recognised as the best of the Venus Smith episodes of The Avengers and a very fine episode by any standard.

Colony Three was perhaps the most ambitious of the one-hour Danger Man episodes and was a kind of dry run for The Prisoner.

The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth was the episode that really put The Wild Wild West on its feet after a shaky start.

The Bishop Rides Again was the pilot for one of the most unjustly neglected British comedies of the 60s, All Gas and Gaiters.

The offbeat 1967 British detective series Mr Rose has been one of my most exciting discoveries of the year. Picking a standout episode is almost impossible but if pressed I’ll go for The Jolly Swagman or The Tin God.

All Done With Mirrors may well be the best of all the Tara King episodes of The Avengers but my particular favourite is Look - (stop me if you've heard this one) But There Were These Two Fellers...

This year I rediscovered The Persuaders, and great fun it is too. A Death in the Family, with Roger Moore playing multiple roles, is hard to beat.

Public Eye is an old favourite of mine and Who Wants to Be Told Bad News? sums up the quirkiness of this series extremely well.

I’ve always had a soft spot for The New Avengers. The later Canadian episodes have a poor reputation but Forward Base is actually superb, and it’s classic Avengers stuff - an outrageous plot, bizarre characters and more than a hint of the surreal. The slow-motion swan boat chase is a wonderful touch.

Another major discovery this year has been Paul Temple, a series I will definitely be posting about in the neat future. Cue Murder! is an especially fine episode.

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Christmas with Steed and Mrs Peel

Dec. 25th, 2015 | 05:00 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

I suppose one should make an effort to get into the seasonal spirit, and sharing Christmas with Steed and Mrs Peel seemed like a pretty good way to do just that. In other words I have just revisited one of the most-loved of all episodes of The Avengers, Too Many Christmas Trees, which first went to air in Britain exactly 50 years ago.

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another cult TV blog update

Nov. 25th, 2015 | 06:31 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

another cult TV blog update:

The Samurai, season 3 - Iga Ninjas (1963) - the Japanese cult action adventure series that became a pop culture phenomenon in Australia.

The Saint - The Ex-King of Diamonds (1969) - the episode that served as an unofficial pilot for The Persuaders! And great fun it is.

Charlie's Angels, season one (1976) - plenty of silly fun.

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November Cult TV blog updates

Nov. 3rd, 2015 | 07:46 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

November Cult TV blog updates:

Banacek (season one, 1972) - excellent American mystery series with George Peppard as an insurance investigator solving impossible crimes.

Shadows of Fear (1970-73) - uneven but interesting British psychological thriller/horror anthology TV series.

The Corridor People (1966) - the most bizarre TV series ever made. A surreal British crime/spy/sci-fi series with a weirdness quotient that is off the scale.

The Avengers - Death Dispatch (1962) - the first episode to be filmed featuring Honor Blackman as Mrs Cathy Gale.

Campion - Look to the Lady (1989) - I must say I enjoy this TV series more than Margery Allingham’s novels.

Out of the Unknown, season 2 (1966) - British sci-fi anthology series, variable in quality but worth a look.

The Lawless Years (1959-61) - very good American crime series set during the Roaring Twenties. Covers the same territory as The Untouchables.

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X Files

Sep. 15th, 2015 | 08:37 am
posted by: bi0genic in cult_tv_lounge

A few years ago I started watching the X files with my son, long before there was talk of a series closer (or revival as some are calling it). It was a bit to scary for him, so I gave up on it a while ago only to pick it up again recently.

I can say without a doubt the first season is iconic and a game changer as far as "monster of the week" style stories and series go. However as the alien conspiracy theory took over, I think the show changed for the worse. I have to admit, I enjoyed the show better in syndication; in fact, it was clearly written to be viewed that way. That gives us probably what is the show's weakest point: Scully's constant denial of anything paranormal or unscientific. And sure, I'll give here some of the monsters were explainable through science (as presented in the show), but you'd think it'd also give her a bit more of an open mind. If half human, half slugs can exist, why can't aliens? It's certainly a frustrating part of the show.

I think largely seasons 2.5 (or so)- 6 (that's all i'm up to right now) were weak on the MOTW side, with many stories being mirror images of each others, overused plots and elements lifted right from literature, movies etc. The saving grace I think is how well and how seriously it is produced. While a majority of the MOTW episodes are sliding into simple fan service, it's no where near as goofy as the constant barrage of fantasy styled silliness on shows like Charmed.

What does work is the mythology. Obviously the show as a hit regardless and the flaws are only too apparent when watched sequentially and quickly on DVD or streaming, but I still feel a bit let down that the mythology didn't get more attention. At least there was drive to it and right now where I'm at, The Smoking Man has reversed his position on Mulder, he's out of the X Files, the newly created and revealed as Smoking Man's son Spender is in. After implying that Mulder is also his son, why come out to someone we've never seen before? Why dump Mulder out of the X Files? What was his fall from grace? Smoking man wanted exposure, as his own agenda. Krycex was too a part of the system, he wanted to be a player too much. We don't know spender enough at this point, however he simply wants to be a good boy.

That unseen series of events, that train of thought is what the series should have focused more on, in my opinion. Maybe it will be revealed later, I don't know, I'm just not there yet. However I am frustrated with long running series like these that tend to wander and it just becomes more apparent on DVD. When you're stuck with one episode a week, you don't notice the aberrations as much. And maybe now I'm older, but I also can't understand how anyone can stand the constant knee jerking and yo yo-ing that steven moffat does with doctor who, sherlock etc. He does in six episodes what X files, angel or buffy did in ten years.

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Cult TV blog updates

Sep. 13th, 2015 | 07:58 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

Cult TV blog updates:

The Persuaders! (1971) - one of the most entertaining of the ITC action adventures series with Roger Moore and Tony Curtis in fine form.

The Wild Wild West, season one (1965) - a series that got off to a rocky start but was great steampunk-ish fun once it established itself.

Cool and Lam (1958) - pilot episode for a series that never happened, based on Erle Stanley Gardner's Cool and Lam mysteries.

Uncle Silas (1968) - fine episode of the excellent Mystery and Imagination gothic horror anthology series.

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more Cult TV blog posts

Aug. 25th, 2015 | 11:17 pm
posted by: dfordoom in cult_tv_lounge

More Cult TV blog posts:

The Avengers - the Tara King era, part 1 - in which I express my enthusiasm for the very underrated final season with the very underrated Tara King.

All Gas and Gaiters (1966-71) - very funny, the best of the many British ecclesiastical TV sitcoms.

The Machine Stops (episode 1 of season 2 of Out of the Unknown, 1966) - superb television science fiction from the BBC.

McMillan and Wife, season one (1971) - likeable lighthearted murder mystery series with Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James.

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