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Archive for the ‘TV – Teens’ Category

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Posted by Big Boo on April 28th, 2009

macgyverNow I have to admit I never really watched MacGyver, which I find amazing since its the kind of show that would normally be right up my street.  I think it was probably because it was on at an awkward time for me, because if memory serves me right it was shown early Saturday evenings whilst we were having our evening meal.  Apparently the show ran for 7 seasons but I don’t remember it being on that much in the UK, so I’m guessing we never got to see every episode?

Another reason I would expect the show to appeal to me is that the title role of Angus MacGyver was played by Richard Dean Anderson, better known to me as Jack O’Neill from Stargate SG1.  I really like Jack in SG1, so I’m sure I would like MacGyver, although it worries me slightly that two of MacGyver’s biggest fans are Patty and Selma Bouvier, the sisters of Marge Simpson.

Anyway, to the show itself.  Angus MacGyver was a secret agent working for the Phoenix Foundation, who was sent in to solve various types of situations in as non-violent a manner as possible.  Unlike Jack O’Neil, MacGyver never carried a gun, but was armed with his trusty Swiss Army Knife, a tool which came in very useful at various points during his adventures to help him build or kinds of gubbins and thing-a-me-bobs out of every day objects.  A bit like the A Team, MacGyver could have created a laser out of a torch, some toffee papers, two elastic bands and an old newspaper.

MacGyver’s ability to make something to get himself out of tricky situations soon became used in the series by other members of the cast to explain to others how they had got out of a scrape.  “Oh, he MacGyvered a solution” was all that needed to be said for people to know that the impossible had been achieved.  This phrase was even used by Sam Carter in an episode of SG1 as a little tongue in cheek nod to Richard Dean Anderson’s past role.

The show ran from 1985 to 1992 and also spawned a couple of TV movies, Lost Treasure of Atlantis and Trail to Doomsday.  There are currently plans for a new big budget film, but whether Richard Dean Anderson will return to the role of Angus MacGyver is not yet certain.  In the meantime, here are the opening credits to the show, where you can marvel at the size of MacGyver’s amazing Mullet hair style.  Maybe that’s where he kept all those objects he used to make his gadgets?

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Posted by Big Boo on April 23rd, 2009

v lizard alienI remember being very excited when I first heard about the original V mini-series.  I was 10 at the time and they kept playing adverts for it with lots of spaceships in so my curiosity was peaked.  The only trouble was that it was going to be shown late at night (which was probably only 10pm, but to a 10 year old that was late) so I begged Dad to set the video recorder up for me so I could watch it, which he did.

So we settled down to watch the first episode and sure enough there were loads of spaceships.  Massive ones which came to rest over all the big cities in the world, illustrated as you might expect with a thumping great flying saucer hovering over some famous world landmarks.  The aliens make their first appearance, and things were a bit disappointing.  The aliens may have been dressed in bright red jump suits but they were depressingly human.  They did have strange sounding voices though, so I kept watching.

We were introduced to John, the leader of the aliens (who became known as The Visitors), and Diana, his second in command.  I didn’t really pay much attention to this particular bit so I was convinced that Diana must be in charge as she was the one giving all the orders and was obviously quite evil.  Something about her just radiated nastiness…

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Posted by Big Boo on March 13th, 2009

kids from fameThere are some TV shows and films which somehow manage to seep into the public consciousness, whether you ever watched them or not.  A good example of this is Fame, a film (and later TV show) that was about the staff and pupils at New York City High School for the Performing Arts, and which was around for most of the 1980’s.

Now, I fit firmly into the “didn’t watch” group, yet somehow I still remember a fair bit about the show.  OK, I probably saw the odd bit of an episode here and there, but I never actually purposely watched it, so how come it sticks in my mind so well?

I think there are many reasons, most of which come from the TV series rather than the film, but I’ll start with the biggest reason, the theme music.  The title track, called simply Fame, was originally sung by Irene Cara for the film, and later by Erica Gimpel,  for the TV series.  Gimpel played the part of Coco Hernandez in the TV show.  This song was a highly bouncy and energetic song with the chorus proclaiming “Fame!  I want to live for ever, I want to learn how to fly!“, words which will no doubt be familiar to many as the track performed well in the charts at the time.

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Record Breakers

Posted by Big Boo on March 5th, 2009

Record Breakers is another BBC childrens TV show like Blue Peter, that tries to be a little more intelligent than most children’s shows, and that ran for years and years (although it fell far short of Blue Peter).  It started airing in 1972, and came to a close in 2001, so it was on our screens for nearly 30 years!

The name that is most associated with Record Breakers is Roy Castle, who was the host of the show from the beginning until 1994 when he sadly died of lung cancer, which as a non smoker he attributed to years of playing the trumpet in smokey jazz clubs.  Roy was a variety artist through and through and was an accomplished trumpet player and tap dancer, though he could turn his hand to just about anything entertainment related.

The show was co-hosted by twins Norris McWhirter and Ross McWhirter.  I must say I never remembered Ross, he was a bit before my time, but I certainly remember Norris.  Both brothers were editors of The Guinness Book of Records for many years, and both had photographic memories.  There was a segment on the show where kids could ask the brothers questions about world records, and they could always answer them!  I remember one time a boy in the audience called Norris out on a question about the biggest diamond (I think).  Turns out the little upstart was wrong and Norris was correct!

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Posted by Big Boo on January 29th, 2009

hitchhikers guide to the galaxyThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a special book for me as it is the first non-childrens book I ever read.  I remember finding a copy in the school library at primary school (which still amazes me today) and lapped it up.  The image accompanying this post is the front cover of that book, although if you buy it today it’s completely different artwork.

I mention the book first as this was my first encounter with Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s universe, but as you can tell by the number of category icons this post has assigned the story has been adapted for many types of media.  Indeed, there really should be another icon up there for “Radio” as that was where it all started!

Douglas Adams, once script editor for Doctor Who (when Tom Baker was the Doctor) originally created The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in 1978 as a radio play for the BBC.  In the story every day Earth man Arthur Dent awakes to find that his house is about to be demolished to build a bypass.  Whilst attempting to stop this by lying in front of the bulldozers his friend Ford Prefect turns up, and tells him there are bigger problems and that he should go to the pub with him.

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Posted by Big Boo on November 11th, 2008

Manimal is an obscure TV show from 1983 about a man who could change into animals, hence the amazingly clever (not!) title.  I remember watching this when I was about ten years old and thinking it was one of the coolest shows on TV.  Imagine being able to transform into any animal you wanted, sounds pretty cool doesn’t it?

I think the reality is that the show may not have been as good as I remember it, which given that aside from the transformation sequences I don’t really remember much else about the series is probably likely to be the case.  The show never even made it to a full season before it was cancelled after 13 episodes, so that’s another indicator that my childhood instincts were probably off the mark.

The show revolved around Dr Jonathan Chase (played by Simon MacCorkindale) who had the ability to transform into animals, a gift that ran in his family.  He was a wealthy college professor (presumably an expert in animals) but his ability was discovered by Brooke Mackenzie, a young police woman, so he ends up helping her in solving various crimes.

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The Young Ones

Posted by Big Boo on November 10th, 2008

I distinctly remember The Young Ones starting on BBC2 thanks to the trailer they made to advertise it before the first episode was shown. The four main members of the cast were sat in a line, and one of them (Rick I think) leant forward and said “This is a trailer for The Young Ones”, whilst holding a little toy car trailer with the title inked on the side. I’m sure there was more to it than that, but I certainly recall that bit.

The Young Ones was a comedy about four students sharing a house, and it made household names out of the aspiring young comedians who starred in it. It was unlike anything else on TV at the time due to its anarchic nature and over the top innuendos. Many sitcoms resorted to the odd double entendre to raise a laugh, but The Young Ones managed to take it to a new level, with many of the saucy quips actually punching the required subtlety for such jokes in the face by just being outright plain rude.

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Posted by Big Boo on October 22nd, 2008

Good old CHiPs, it was one of those dependable early Saturday evening shows that the whole family could watch.  The up beat theme tune set the tone perfectly for a series that never really took itself completely seriously, although it wasn’t really a comedy either.

The show gets its name from the abbreviation CHP (short for California Highway Patrol) and is about the adventures of two motorcycle cops who keep law and order on the Californian streets.  This was a great show for depicting the laid back California life style, with constant beautiful sunshine and beautiful people.

Our heroes were Francis “Ponch” Poncherello (Erik Estrada) and Jonathan “Jon” Baker (Larry Wilcox) who drove around on their gleaming motorcycles keeping the peace.  That is Jon generally kept the piece, whilst show off Ponch was often more interested in chatting up the bikini clad girls who the duo were talking to for information about some crime that had been commited.

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