SF OBSCURE: BeastMaster

BeastMaster_logo

BeastMaster the TV series ran from 1999-2002 for three seasons. It’s listed as an American/Canadian/Australian series. It was broadcast on Canadian TV initially and filmed mainly in Australia. I’m not clear who owns it. It was loosely based on the 1982 movie The Beastmaster . (Which also has some low budget sequels)

The series centers around Dar (David Goddard) who can talk to animals and protects them as well as saving villagers from various threats. His has a friend Tao (Jackson Rain) a healer whom he travels with. They are later joined by Arina (Marjean Holden) a warrior. Marjean Holden later played the medical doctor on the Babylon 5 spin-off series Crusade.

This is a sword and sorcery world. There are many scattered tribes, lots of lost cities and ruins, and of course, magic. Some of the episodes are action/adventure-with Dar and Tao taking on evil tribal leaders and saving villagers. Others focus on the nature aspect and Dar’s ability to communicate with animals. Later on we learn more about Dar’s past, legacy, prophecy…that kind of thing. There are lots and lots of sorcerers. Most of them are women with perfect make-up and fabulous hair who control some sort of natural object (birds, fire, etc.).

As much as it’s easy to tease it’s not a bad show. There is nothing particularly innovative in the sword and sorcery genre, but it delivers what most people expect of that kind of show. Dar and Tao grow on you; Arina is a cool warrior woman; and it’s general family fare. I started to really enjoy watching it. I can’t say I’d binge watch all three seasons, but it’s a cute show. It reminds me of Xena, Hercules, even Legend of the Seeker. I haven’t seen many shows of that type recently. I tried to watch a few episodes of The Shannara Chronicles, but the young adult hipster elves relationship problems tend to grate at me. I’m just too old for it.

Advertisements

SF Obscure: Cleopatra 2525

250px-cleopatra2525logo

Hi out there!

Winter approaches…and so does holiday movie season.  Rogue One! Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! Heck, maybe I’ll even go out and watch Dr. Strange. I finally got to see Star Trek Beyond and really enjoyed it. I think it’s the most traditional Trek of the reboot movies. Karl Urban really, really does an excellent job as McCoy. And it was nice to add a tribute to both Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin.

So for this week’s post I decided to cover the half hour, SF/action show CLEOPATRA 2525.

The year is, uh, 2525. Humanity has been driven underground because the surface is controlled by giant floating robot armchairs (That’s what it looks like anyway) called Baileys.  Two fighters Hel(Gina Torres) and Sarge (Victoria Pratt) are resistance fighters who battle the robot overlords. helped by a mysterious voice called ‘Voice’ that taps into Hel’s brain. Anyway, Sarge gets hurt and needs a kidney so they go and get one at the local buy-a-body-part depot. Thus, the meet Cleo (Jennifer Sky), a women cryo-frozen in 2001 when her breast augmentation surgery went awry and she was stored until humanity had the tools to save her life. I am not making this up.

There’s a sexy, android guy who shows off his abs and makes stuff and Sarge is all hot and bothered for him. Hel, Sarge, and Cleo fight for humanity by hanging out in bars with cyborgs a lot. Occasionally, the go to the surface and fight some more Bailey’s. Cleo chips in with 90’s movie references. A  psycho telepath shows up to cramp their style. There is a more involved plot involving a guy named Creegan and the origin of the Bailey’s but this is not a complex show so don’t expect too much on that front.
01bdd32f22d5b49fc5d9d0cc2714e392
Despite all this, I like Cleopatra 2525 mainly because it never takes itself too seriously. It knows exactly what it is…30 minutes of futuristic looking entertainment. The in jokes actually make you chuckle; the costumes have be seen to be believed; and there is a sense of fun about it. The main characters Hel, Sarge, and Cleo are likeable. At the very least, you look at Gina Torres and Victoria Pratt and think, ‘hey, I need to spend more time at the gym.’  And even though it’s often a silly show, I kept watching episode after episode. Maybe part of me wished I could run around with weapons and sexy male bimbo androids fighting aliens. At least, it would be fun for a week or so.

 

SF Obscure: Children of the Stones

250px-children_of_the_stones

Children of the Stones is a 1977 television drama for children produced by ITV network. I know of this show mainly because of the late Gareth Thomas. So, I decided to watch it because I had heard good things about it.

Astrophysicist Adam Brake and his son Matthew go to a village called Millbury which has a megalithic circle of stones in the middle of it. (It’s filmed on the prehistoric monument of Avebury) Things get strange as soon as they arrive. First of all, the housekeeper and neighbors all seem abnormally happy. Matthew has strange feelings of evil and is immediately hostile towards the new neighbor. His father chides him, but Matthew can’t help but feel something is wrong. We later learn that Matthew has some psychic abilities and this is why he reacts the way he does.

children_of_the_stones-xlarge_transeo_i_u9apj8ruoebjoaht0k9u7hhrjvuo-zlengruma

When Matthew goes to school he soon discovers the other children are doing high level science and math well beyond the school years. Matthew makes a few friends at school who are still ‘normal’ like him. They warn him that the  neighbors are slowly being changed and this is connected to the stones and the mysterious town leader. There is a heady mix of black holes, time paradoxes, and weird paranormal history in a short miniseries. At time, Children of the Stones is frightening. There are only seven episodes but I had a good time watching it.

Sure, it’s rather low budget, (yeah, the clothes are dated) but it’s well-acted and the writing is solid. Plus, this is a show that treats children as if they are capable of understanding complex ideas. There is no dumbing down to sell something. At the same time, the father-son relationship is convincingly done.

There is also a novelization of the story which you can find in paperback and e-book.

SF Obscure: Electra Woman and Dyna Girl

ElectraWomanDynaGirl

So, the new trailer is out for the Wonder Woman movie. I plan to see it. I never saw Superman vs Batman and Gal Gadot’s turn as Wonder Woman in it, so I am anxious to see what she does with the character. I am told she was a bright spot in a movie with a rather lukewarm reception. Henry Cavill is a good looking Superman, though I’m still on the fence about the rebooted Clark Kent on the whole. Anyway, thought of superheroes made me think of the original 1976 series Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.

The Krofft Supershow was a variety show aimed at children for saturday mornings. In the 1970’s variety shows were a big thing-for adults they featured comedy skits and musical performances. The Krofft Supershow featured fifteen minute live action shows of which Electra Woman and Dyna Girl was one.These shows were   low-budget, paint by the numbers projects. Cheap costumes. Wooden acting. Cardboard sets. Silly plot lines.  All there in ready abundance.
bfwbtit

Take for example, Bigfoot and Wildboy.  It’s about- you guessed it- Bigfoot who adopts a boy, “Wildboy” and thus they go on adventures. And by adventures, I mean each episode is clearly filmed with a handful of limited sets, one of which looks like a local public park. Bigfoot is obviously a man in a  costume.

Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, to be fair, was intended to be a parody. It was a homage  to the original Batman and Robin-and once you know that it does make it more entertaining than the other Kroftt Supershow shows. The premise focuses on two journalists, Lori/Electra Woman (Deidre Hall) and Judy/Dyna Girl (Judy Strangis) who investigate stories and as a result, must turn into their superheroine alter egos Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. The fight villains with names like Spider Lady and the Empress of Evil. They also have a really groovy song.

“Electra Woman and Dyna Girl / Fighting all evil deeds. / Each writes for a magazine / Hiding the life she leads. — Electra Woman and Dyna Girl — Summoned to Electra-base / By Electra-comps they wear. / Lori and Judy dare to face / Any criminal anywhere. — Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.”

I would tell you more about the shows except there really isn’t anything to tell. The plots are not terribly deep and only last fifteen minutes. It’s not building up to much, but it’s fun to watch them run around in costumes and use their ElectraComs. The ElectraComs are multifunctional devices Electra Woman and Dyna Girl wear on their wrists to give them special powers. (Electra-Vison, Electra-Vibe, Electra-Beam etc.)

Electra Woman and Dyna Girl have somewhat of a cult following. There was an attempt to reboot the series in 2001 with an unaired pilot you can easily find online. There are also the 2016 webisodes  starring Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart.

 

SF Obscure: Space 1999

Smart Girls love SciFi

250px-Space1999_Year1_TitleSpace 1999 is one of those shows its taken me a while to write about because it’s taken me a a while to go through all the episodes. Don’t get me wrong- I don’t dislike it; as a matter of fact there are many things about it to like. Martin Landau. Maya is Season 2. The music. Lots of guest stars that have been on other series.

I have a great deal of respect for Gerry Anderson’s ground breaking SF work. “Supermarionation” the marionette style that is used in Anderson show is legend. I know people who swear by The Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlett.  I also covered Space Precinct which is, admittedly, campy but had some moments and an interesting concept even if the execution didn’t turn out so well.

But back to Space 1999.

Space 1999 is a British SF show from 1975 set in the high tech…

View original post 365 more words