Wednesday, March 14, 2012

British Invasion

I absolutely love British television. If history is any indication, TV shows across the pond tend to be more groundbreaking - as writers, production companies, and networks take more chances with their programs. Or, should I say, "programme."

Some of my most favorite shows are from England - and here's just a few that are on my all-time bestest list:

TIM, teleport me to Vegas!
The Tomorrow People. Long before paranormal powers and teens was cool, there was the Tomorrow People.  This awesome show was about a bunch of teenagers who have gone through a "breaking out" phase and developed all kinds of cool powers like telekinesis, ESP, and telepathy. The teens worked in a secret facility underground, and defeated all kinds of villains - including extraterrestrial ones.

They were helped by some supercomputer they called TIM that was not only telepathic, but could actually teleport the kids all over the place.

I remember watching The Tomorrow People on my local public television channel, and the show actually aired in Britain from 1973-79. They brought it back in 1992-95 on Nickelodeon. The newer version was OK, but not as good as the original.

Blake looks fabulous
Blake's 7. Take Star Trek, The Magnificent Seven (among other Westerns), and lots of dystopia, and you've got Blake's 7. In this TV show, a renegade named Roj Blake leads a team of fellow convicts in a rebellious effort to thwart the evil Federation. They flew in a spaceship called The Libertator that was not only super-powerful, but seemed to be alive.

The show completely changed when Roj Blake's character was dropped from the line up after the second season, and the cold-hearted computer genius Kerr Avon took over as the groups leader. This fantastic space opera is probably most well known for it's controversial ending. Blake returns and has a showdown with Avon, and what happens next is still debated to this day.

There's been talk of bringing the show back, but nothing has come out of those discussions.

"Trust me, I'm The Doctor."
Doctor Who. Had to save my absolute favorite for last. This sci-fi gem first aired on November 23rd, 1963 - one day after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It originally ran from 1963-1990. After a bunch of talk, Doctor Who finally came back on the air in 2005, and has been going strong ever since.

The show is about a mysterious Time Lord everyone calls "The Doctor" who travels in time and space in a TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space). His space/time machine has taken the form of a British blue police call box. What's extra cool is when The Doctor is severely injured, his body is able to regenerate - which is why there have been eleven actors to play the lead character. Each incarnation has a completely separate personality, but the one constant is that The Doctor is a scientific genius who is unable to merely observe. His curiosity and desire to help others often gets him into trouble, but in the end, The Doctor saves the day.

The Doctor has made a bunch of enemies during his many adventures including: The Master (a fellow renegade Time Lord), the Cyberman (a race of machines reminiscent of Star Trek's Borgs), and the dreadful Daleks - alien beings encased in armor that reminds me of salt and pepper shakers.

Doctor Who is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running science fiction TV show EVER.


Rusty Webb said...

There you are. I was afraid your new job was going to keep you away forever. My wife loved just about anything produced in the U.K. She mostly likes period pieces and murder mysteries. But still, she will watch just about anything if it says BBC or Sky 1.

Grumpy Bulldog, March Madman said...

You've been tagged to join the Great Star Wars Blogathon! Details here:

Jay Noel said...

Rusty: I've been doing a lot of traveling and spending a bunch of time on the road with training. It's been rough, but I'm happy to have a good job. I like other UK shows - Sherlock Holmes and Red Dwarf are also great. Along with "The Young Ones."

Grumpy: That sounds like fun!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I haven't watched much in the way of British shows. My hubby used to like Benny Hill, but that humor wasn't my cup of tea. There was another comic, though.... I THINK he was named David Allen ... and his humor was cutting edge, totally non-PC. We both enjoyed that show.

Kelley said...

I have heard SO MUCH about Dr. Who lately. I'm gonna have to take a peek :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What's sad is when an American version is created, because it's usually inferior. The British Top Gear is awesome while the American version is lame.

David P. King said...

Aah! No Red Dwarf love? Fantastic list, btw. There's so much of the good Doctor, we don't know if we'll ever catch up. :)

The Desert Rocks said...

I have no idea what you're talking about. Hope you still like me if I'm still stuck at Fawlty Towers. LOL

Jay Noel said...

Susan: I grew up watching Benny Hill. Probably explains a lot

Kelley: Yes! You need to watch it on Netflix. You would really like it.

Alex: I know. And think about all the shows they brought over here, like Being Human and The Office. They do TV right over there.

David: Red Dward is #4 on my list!

Eve: You'd like Doctor Who. I'm pretty sure.

Emily R. King said...

I haven't seen any of these shows, but I do watch Top Gear religiously. I love cars!

Aguilar Elliot said...

haven't seen any of these. the tomorrow people sounds most intriguing to me.

Milo James Fowler said...

I remember watching the original Dr. Who when I was in kindergarten; it freaked me out -- in a good way. Did you watch Survivors a couple years back? It never really ended, but the first two seasons were pretty good.

Dafeenah said...

I'm sorry to say I've not heard of any of them :( but I've never been a TV/movie person. That's what happens when you grow up so far out in the country the only channels you get are fuzzy public access lol Hope your training and new job is going well. I've been super busy so have been falling behind on keeping up with everyone.

Ciara said...

I loved the British version of Torchwood but didn't like the American one at all.

Jay Noel said...

Emily: I LOVE Top Gear too. Forgot about that one.

Aguilar: I miss that show. Makes me want to hunt down the episodes on Amazon or something.

Milo: The opening title sequence freaked me out as a kid, but I grew up watching the show late on Sunday nights. Made for terrible Monday mornings.

Dafeenah: Yeah, super busy with the new job. It's pretty high profile too, so it just doesn't leave time for much throughout the day. I hope to catch up with everyone!

Ciara: Hated the American one too. Captain Jack is awesome.

Miranda Hardy said...

I've never seen one of these shows, can you believe it? The first one sounds amazing. Right up my alley.

M Pax said...

I like British shows, too. I adore Torchwood and Downton Abbey.

Jay Noel said...

Miranda: You need to check out the Tomorrow People. I wish they' bring it back.

Mary: There's many more out there, but I love Torchwood too. Wish the American version was halfway decent.

Melissa Bradley said...

Love, love the Doctor. Tom Baker is my fave followed by David Tennant. Haven't warmed to the latest guy, either. I loved the spin-off Torchwood, but I was heart broken when they killed off Ianto. I adored him and Jack together.

And I have to say that Sarah Jane was my favorite companion and I am so sad that she is no longer with us.

Jay Noel said...

Tom Baker was my first Doctor, so he's always going to be my favorite.

Yeah, I was shocked to hear that Elizabeth Sladen died. So young.

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