Marcie, Reet and Thomas are three children who are stunned when for some unknown reason each kid at their school is given a really powerful computer and that the class swot is turned into a... See full summary »
Marcie, Reet and Thomas are three children who are stunned when for some unknown reason each kid at their school is given a really powerful computer and that the class swot is turned into a mutant by the computers and it's controller Mr. Eldritch. Investigating the three discover that the computers are a part of a plan to rule the world but they need to find Professor Polzinski. With the aid of the Professor, Eldritch is stopped. Later on, a team made up of blonde women dig up the school field to find a wartime computer Behemoth with the power to destroy the world. Super-intelligent Marcie and Eldritch battle against each other for control of the world and in another round in the age-old war of good vs evil... Written by
Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>
I've wanted to see this series for years and finally a kind friend provided me a copy. Written by Russell T Davies before everyone knew his name thanks to "Queer As Folk". Starring Kate Winslet long before "Titanic" but already demonstrating star quality.
I came to the series with heightened expectations and after a while I realized that I had to remember that this is a superior children's TV series, rather than a major peak-time adult drama. Yet as the serial unwrapped itself across its six 25 minute episodes, it revealed unusual and cliche busting depths. The three young heroes are personable without being bratty whilst their teacher ally, a marvelous performance by Brigit Forsythe, emerges as a drily amusing, complicated woman trying to do her best, rather than a caricature. These are people who rarely appear in SF drama. "Dark Season" is a satisfying British programme in its attitudes. It doesn't feel the need to compete with US fantasies; instead it draws direct from the works of John Christopher, HG Wells and John Wyndham, filtering them through the then popular theories of millennium angst. It's exciting, subversive and just a bit weird.
Another uniquely British touch is its main heroine Marcie, sharply played by Victoria Lambert. It's hard to imagine a plain, bossy, abrasive and cynical fourteen year old being the lead in a US series. They'd have probably wanted a kooky Melissa Joan Hart type or would have relegated her to a sidekick and made Kate Winslet's Reet character the star. But here we have a deeply flawed character who nevertheless wins through thanks to her intelligence and honesty. Marcie doesn't like the world, she thinks everyone else is stupid and the place is a mess, and yet she fights to save the Earth. It's touches like that give the storyline its poignancy and shades of grey.
It's great to see Jacqueline Pearce back in action as the evil Miss Pendragon, camping it up like a good'un. But she's matched sneer for sneer by Max Headroom-alike Eldritch played by Grant Parsons, who seems to have stepped straight out of a Japanese anime. He's a great melodramatic villain.
The cliffhangers are terrific, particularly the emergence of Behemouth and its here that the series recalls the "Doctor Who" spirit the most. Davies' dialogue is smart and vinegary whilst his ideas are hugely entertaining. The only frustration is that the series finishes after two mini adventures when there was clearly plenty of potential for more. Certainly there are hints of a greater plotline unfolding whilst the characters and their relationships had lots of mileage left in them. It would be a good series for someone to release on DVD, alongside its stablemate "Century Falls". Recommended.
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