Friday, 10 February 2017

TV Weird

Like a lot of people, I have something of a love for Sci-Fi and weirdness and am always drawn to these sorts of shows on TV. Nowadays they are ten a penny and indeed right now, and without me bothering to look at the schedules the following shows are currently available, 'Grimm', 'Earth - final conflict', 'Stargate - Atlantis', 'Red Dwarf', 'Special Unit 2', 'Supernatural', and indeed several more (I am ignoring the Vampire and Zombie sub series). They are now a couple of popular genres for TV companies and so a niche market is probably not really a niche market any more.

The Time Tunnel Travellers Were Lost In Space

However that wasn't always the case. Back in the day, it was slim pickings for those of us who liked the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres. We used to hug these shows to our chests like long lost brothers whenever they turned up ..... always aware that they were likely to be just dropped from the schedules at any moment .... For instance I remember that I was in shock, when the eponymous time travellers in 'The Time Tunnel' were left there, stranded in the past, after the US TV company just dropped the show mid season (The BBC recently did much the same with 'Atlantis').

Obviously the X Files was a big factor from 1993 onwards (I still watch that show now on free-view), but does anyone else remember 'Eerie Indiana' from the very early 1990's? It actually ended its small run before the X Files had even been aired. Of course there were other shows before the X Files really kick started all the other shows that have followed.

It Was Always Eerie in Indiana ....

I am not old enough to recall 'Quatermass', so I guess for me, apart from kids puppet shows such as 'Fireball XL5' etc, it started with 'Dr Who' (1963 - to-date) ..... then, in date order it would have been 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' (1964-68), 'Lost in Space'(1965), 'Star Trek' (1966- different spin-offs), 'The Time Tunnel' (1966-67), 'Land of the Giants' (1968-69 - currently on free-view again), 'The Prisoner' (1967-1968), 'UFO' (1970), 'The Six Million Dollar Man' (1973-78), 'Space 1999' (1975), 'Survivors'(1975), 'Blakes Seven' (1978-81) and then ..... not sure.

Cheap Sets But A Good Plot Set Blakes Seven Apart From US Shows

There then seems to have been a complete wipe out of these types of show. I just don't recall many of them (apart from Star Trek repeats, and an increasingly spasmodic Dr Who), being shown. There is in my mind a warp size gap in me recalling many Sci-Fi shows being shown in the UK from 1981 onwards - I recall that 'V' in 1984 was pretty good. There was also 'Alien Nation' and 'Quantum Leap', but both were in 1989.

It was a sad decade, with 'Red Dwarf' in 1988 almost standing alone in the UK for home produced shows and disregarding the Star Trek spin-off franchises starting up, not much until the end of the decade.

The 1990's were the start of the current trend, with many productions rolling out as the decade went on (My favourites from the 1990's were the anarchic / subversive 'Lexx' starting in 1997, and Farscape in 1999). So, if like me the TV weird trend of the last two decades means that you never have to watch mainstream BBC1 or ITV, and can revel in TV on the free-view channels. Then count your blessings, and remember that there were darker times in the weird TV world.


  1. The only other sci-fi that made an impression on me, apart from Dr.Who was The Tomorrow People, oh and The Champions. I never liked The Prisoner very much, too weird for me.

    1. I had forgotten about Alexandra Bastedo and The Champions .... I did watch that as well in its surprisingly small 30 episode run between 1968–1969. Thanks for jogging my memory.

  2. Here in the US we got a lot more choice of Sci fi shows than you but they often suffered from being dropped mid season or with no resolution.

    So maybe we were not really that better off.

    1. I still think we missed out. But thanks for the comment.


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