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  1. #1
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    Default S18 contemporary sci-fi

    I decided to spin this off from the contemporary TV thread.

    I remember 1980 feeling very much like a golden age for sci-fi, esp from the BBC. Looking up some TV drama that I kind of remember being on around about the time on S18, I found a lot of things I remember from the 1980-1 era.

    Most noticably ...

    Hitch-hikers Guide comes to BBC2!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hit...28TV_series%29



    Just as Warrior's Gate was playing out along came Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy the TV series was shown on TV.

    I remember just being in awe of this series, and the humour really appealed to me. It was a kind of unconventional start to begin the series with the Earth blown up - and looking back I think it was a mistake of Douglas Adams how he kept bringing the Earth back. Yup the Vogans suceeded where Daleks, the Borg, and countless Pertwee era aliens failed.

    The Nightmare Man

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nightmare_Man



    This one had a lot of complaints at the time for it's horror in a late evening slot. People on a remote Scottish island discover remnants of some strange craft ... and there is something escaped from it attacking it's enhabitants, tearing them limb from limb.

    Scary stuff at the time - but probably tame by today's standards.

    The Flipside of Dominick Hide

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fli..._Dominick_Hide



    I didn't get to see this until 2006, however I really recommend it for a very interesting sci-fi drama.

    Dominick Hide is a time traveller from the future who is supposed to visit the 1980s in his flying saucer to observe 20th Century traffic patterns. He's supposed to observe but not be observed, and never land.

    He decides one day to land, and finds the world of 1980 a very different one from the sterile future he knows.

    BBC's play for the day taking a chance with some intelligent sci-fi.

    Blake's 7

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...sodes#Series_C



    A few months before S18 began the Liberator had blown up in the climactic end of Terminal.
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    It's kind of wierd to think of all that sci-fi output from the BBC - a channel which much later in the 80s and through to the 90s would pretty much abandon all sci-fi under it's Michael Grade tennure. So much so we all jumped at Invasion Earth when it was released in the late 90s.

    A lot could be put on the "Star Wars effect" of making sci-fi more popular to a mainstream audience. However the BBC had taken the gamble with a few series like Quatermass and Doctor Who itself over its lifespan. The idea with the Flipside of Dominic Hide that you do a drama with sci-fi trappings as part of Play for the Day. I don't think you'd have the mix of genres anymore - it'd be like doing an alien first contact story in Eastenders.

    At the moment the BBC seem to be much keener to try their hand at the odd sci-fi/fantasy - I think partly thanks to the "Buffy effect". Although a fair few of these are just "Doctor Who spin offs" - I know there's been a couple of ghost series (Sea of Souls, and another forgettable one) as well as the excellent Being Human, and the lamentable Hyperdrive.

    Is it here to stay at the Beeb? Or will one damp squib return us to more realty TV and Jane Austin period pieces?

    P.S. I think the Beeb is missing a trick not doing a War of the Worlds story using it's original Victorian setting - a period piece sci-fi!!!
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    You can't have a tv sci-fi thread without mentioning Doctor Who's big ITV rival from that season, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century. It may not have stood the test of time, but it was fun to watch on original broadcast and the series certainly had its highpoints...



    1980 was also the year that Battlestar Galactica finally found Earth...

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    And we can't forget the big screen either, can we? Sci-Fi movie releases of this year included The Empire Strikes Back, The Final Countdown, Saturn 3 and Battle Beyond The Stars...

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    Flipside of Dominic Hide was broadcast on my birthday! THat was nice of them. 'cept it was on too late for me to watch (my mum did and regailed me with the plot line the next day!)
    Creator of Doctor WHeasel and sometime political radical

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    I didn't see any of them at the time, but I've caught up since. Well actually that's not quite true- I used to see the start of Buck Rogers before Doctor Who started.

    Si xx

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

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    I'm glad to see Mac mention ESB. With all due respect to Who, the most exciting sci-fi event of the year for me in 1980 was the release of The Empire Strikes Back. I got the book of the film a month or so before the UK release, and of course read it avidly, so that by the time the film came along I already had a good knowledge of the plot.

    I recall the build up being very exciting - a clip (Luke wandering the Cloud City corridors) featuring at the end of a Sunday night documentary early that year had the whole class talking at School next day. And although Film 80 was on very late at night (or at least too late for an 8 year old me on a School night) Dad recorded it - audio that is, we didn't have a VCR. The clip used was the "scoundrel" scene, and I played it again and again trying to guess where the scene took place, how it looked, etc. Even now when I hear the music at the start of that little scene it makes me tingle.

    It really was, and is, a great film - and without wanting to spoil it for anyone Darth Vader is Luke's father. Betcha didn't see that coming didya!!

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    It seemed to be a big summer for Sci Fi - we were packed off around this time almost every week to the cinema to see the latest Sci-Fi movie ... so we had ones like The Humanoid, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Black Hole, Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica had cinema releases.

    Battle Beyond The Stars was quite memorable, and still stands up - mainly cos it's based on a great story Seven Samurai, with each character having a different reason to join the fight.

    And of course Empire Strikes Back towered over all in terms of it's production - and I came out certain Darth Vader was lying ...
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    I may have been to see Empire Strikes Back at the cinema - I certainly saw it at some point when I was little. I also clearly remember watching Buck Rogers and playing with the fighter from the series. The toy had a big bar across the front of it to stop it being almost entirely lethal in enthusiastic young hands.



    ...became...



    Battlestar Galactica must've been repeated a few years later because I definitely remember weekly temper tantrums when I insisted on watching BSG and Pops wasn't allowed to watch American football on Channel 4. Though I might've got that the wrong way round.
    Dennis, Francois, Melba and Smasher are competing to see who can wine and dine Lola Whitecastle and win the contract to write her memoirs. Can Dennis learn how to be charming? Can Francois concentrate on anything else when food is on the table? Will Smasher keep his temper under control?

    If only the 28th century didn't keep popping up to get in Dennis's way...

    #dammitbrent



    The eleventh annual Brenty Four serial is another Planet Skaro exclusive. A new episode each day until Christmas in the Brenty Four-um.

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    You're right - BSG wasn't shown in the UK until about a year or two later. I had the Grandways M&S book on the film, but had to wait years to actually see it.
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    Wasn't Star Trek 1979 rather than 1980? I seem to recall going to the flicks to watch that, but it being a long time before ESB.

    and I came out certain Darth Vader was lying ...
    I'm glad to hear you say that Mike. It seems to me that nowadays people tend to refer to it as a fact, which obviously ROTJ confirmed it was - but at the time I'm sure we spent the years between 1980 and 1983 debating whether it was true or not.

    Mind you, I was certain Admiral Piett was "the other" that Yoda refers to, so it may just be me...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Curnow View Post
    Wasn't Star Trek 1979 rather than 1980? I seem to recall going to the flicks to watch that, but it being a long time before ESB.
    As was The Black Hole - although I meant to add that my memory doesn't target specific year - just a vagueness between 1979-1981ishness. But also our local cinema used to do matinees where they reran slightly older films (esp Star Wars) as well. So it's hard to really pick anything out with certainty.

    Another thing I remember as well is that a film would release in America, and would open over in London much later one - often several months later. But then they'd be released to the rest of the country much slower. It's like movies would slowly work their way to us in Burton on Trent.

    I remember for instance when Star Trek 2 came out I remember reading a review about it in London and how Spock died. But it was actually 4-6 months before it showed at our local Odeon.

    Of course these days you don't even have separate releases in London before the rest of the country, it's all distributed nationwide in one go, but this wasn't always the case. I guess as a lot of folk are from around London you'll not have noticed the lag like in a backwater like Burton.
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    I've just been checking adverts from some old comics of the time. Star Trek TMP was advertised as being released December 1979; to be precise "From 15th December, Leicester Square Empire, Late Shows Friday & Saturday. From Dec 20th at ABC and other leading cinemas around the country."

    So more than likely it would have been well into 1980 before I got a chance to see it as well, I remember waiting for what seemed ages to see it.

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    Oh of course, from March 1981, BBC Radio 4 started to broadcast it's acclaimed series for the Lord of the Ring!
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    I'm pretty furious about this ... how can we forget the Adventure Game?

    This was an absolute classic at the time. In fact to be honest I think the "easy as Pi(e)" room from the Five Doctors was pretty much lifted lock, stock and barrel ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventure_Game

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okRea54TE_w





    The whole thing had a very Doctor Who / Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy feel to it.

    Gronda, gronda ...
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    I loved the Adventure Game at the time - it was fast, funny, colourful, clever and amazingly realistic. This was what life would be in the future if the Krypton Factor came to power.

    I saw a bit of an episode not that long ago and it was not quite as good as I remembered.
    Dennis, Francois, Melba and Smasher are competing to see who can wine and dine Lola Whitecastle and win the contract to write her memoirs. Can Dennis learn how to be charming? Can Francois concentrate on anything else when food is on the table? Will Smasher keep his temper under control?

    If only the 28th century didn't keep popping up to get in Dennis's way...

    #dammitbrent



    The eleventh annual Brenty Four serial is another Planet Skaro exclusive. A new episode each day until Christmas in the Brenty Four-um.

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    Really? I saw it on YouTube and enjoyed it for what it was. Worryingly it probably set up the Crystal Maze ...
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    We used to avidly watch it - I suspect its high-tech feel will have faded over the years though.

    The one I always remember was where some guy, an American I think, was playing the final game - can't remember the name, but the one where they were up against some kind of invisible thingy and they had to move from point to point on a sort of framework suspended over deep space (aka a COS starry background). The point of the game, from memory, was that they took it in turns to move, but the contestants could not see the opponent, so sometimes they would cross onto the next point and be vaporised by it.

    Anyway (get to the point Curnow) this guy had picked up a sandwich during his travels, and faced with a choice of two ways to go he chucked the sandwich onto one point to test it.

    In hindsight that's not actually all that exciting is it? Ah, simpler times...

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    I remember that - the guy using the sandwich. It was called the Vortex.

    But then again didn't Hurndalls Doctor do pretty much the same with coins in the Five Doctors?

    I am still trying to work out how the path across the floor was "easy as Pi".
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    The Vortex, that's the name I was grasping for. I kept wanting to type 'the Matrix' in my earlier post, but just knew that wasn't it. Thanks Mike!

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