Thriller (1973–1976)

TV Series  -   -  Crime | Mystery | Thriller
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Anthology series of self-contained episodes with the genres ranging from murder mystery to suspense to psychological and supernatural horror.

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6   5   4   3   2   1  
1976   1975   1974   1973  
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Chrissie / ... (3 episodes, 1973-1975)
...
 Dave Adams / ... (3 episodes, 1974-1976)
...
 Paul Tanner / ... (2 episodes, 1973-1974)
...
 Abby Stevens / ... (2 episodes, 1974-1975)
...
 Jody Baxter / ... (2 episodes, 1974-1975)
...
 Gary Stevens / ... (2 episodes, 1975)
John Carson ...
 Arthur Lewis / ... (2 episodes, 1973-1974)
...
 Mark Walker / ... (2 episodes, 1973-1974)
...
 Doonan (3) / ... (2 episodes, 1975)
...
 Frampton / ... (2 episodes, 1973-1976)
Dinsdale Landen ...
 Matthew Earp (2 episodes, 1973-1974)
...
 George Newton / ... (2 episodes, 1974-1976)
Edward Judd ...
 Bill Lewis / ... (2 episodes, 1974-1975)
Geoffrey Chater ...
 Graham / ... (2 episodes, 1973-1975)
...
 Baverstock / ... (2 episodes, 1973-1974)
Derek Francis ...
 Sam / ... (2 episodes, 1974-1975)
Linda Liles ...
 Ann Curry / ... (2 episodes, 1975-1976)
Susan Dury ...
 Babs Bryant / ... (2 episodes, 1975)
John Moreno ...
 Filton / ... (2 episodes, 1973-1975)
...
 Ben Kroom / ... (2 episodes, 1974-1976)
Suzanne Neve ...
 Beryl Wittaker / ... (2 episodes, 1974-1975)
John Flanagan ...
 Michael Player / ... (2 episodes, 1975-1976)
Ian Redford ...
 Barnstapple / ... (2 episodes, 1975-1976)
Ronald Mayer ...
 Dr. Lambert / ... (2 episodes, 1973-1974)
Anthony Dawes ...
 Car Salesman / ... (2 episodes, 1974-1976)
Ray Marioni ...
 Croupier / ... (2 episodes, 1974-1975)
Peter Hill ...
 Filing Clerk / ... (2 episodes, 1975-1976)
...
 First Man in Pub / ... (2 episodes, 1974-1975)
...
 Constable Breck / ... (2 episodes, 1975)
Peter Mackriel ...
 Mr. Taylor / ... (2 episodes, 1974-1975)
Harold Bennett ...
 2nd Old Man / ... (2 episodes, 1973-1976)
Patrick Magee ...
 Prof. Marcus Carnaby (2 episodes, 1974-1975)
...
 Carson / ... (2 episodes, 1975)
Michael Stainton ...
 Brent / ... (2 episodes, 1973-1975)
Annette Woollett ...
 Penny / ... (2 episodes, 1974-1975)
Reg Lye ...
 Caretaker (2 episodes, 1973-1975)
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Storyline

Anthology series of self-contained episodes with the genres ranging from murder mystery to suspense to psychological and supernatural horror.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

anthology | fear | surprise ending | See All (3) »


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 January 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tensión  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(43 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Connections

Referenced in Dennis Spooner: Wanna Write a Television Series? (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

True To Its Name
13 April 2003 | by (Lancashire, England) – See all my reviews

A truly-exceptional series that has largely disappeared into obscurity. This is despite it achieving considerable critical and popular approval when broadcast in the 1970's. It is one of the few British series to have achieved success in the USA and it is not difficult to see why it achieved such popularity.

Unlike most series, "Thriller" was an anthology of separate stories, without recurring characters or situations. This allowed great flexibility in terms of style and story-writing but unfortunately made it more difficult to achieve a long-term identity.When broadcast in the USA and given a rare repeat in the UK in the 1980's it was billed as discrete movies, further eroding its identity.

The show had a very unusual length of just over an hour of action. This allowed more chance to develop stories and explore characters, to great effect. However it also created scheduling problems and has probably helped to kill the chance of further repeats. Unlike better-remembered but unquestionably inferior productions of the time, it was shot on video-tape. Once again artistically this was a great success. It made the action darker and more claustrophobic. Unfortunately this also made repeats less likely with filmed action usually seen as more likely to win wider viewer-approval.

Most credit must go to Brian Clemens. He created the series, wrote most episodes entirely and provided the outlines for all of them. His writing was first-class, and well-supported by guest writers such as Terence Feely. He produced highly intriguing, unsettling, often frightening stories. Astutely, violence was largely kept off-screen and the exact motives of characters were frequently well-hidden. Viewers were forced to use their imaginations, making for deeper and more satisfied viewing. Characterisations were very sophisticated but suitably enigmatic. Most stories featured extraordinary twists and some terrifying scenes.

Direction could still have set things back but was immensely strong. A small team of directors kept true to Clemens's intentions and added great atmosphere. Laurie Johnson's music was perfect - extremely chilling and unnerving - and cranked up the tension spendidly. However the producers also knew when to use silence to powerful effect. They were utterly aware that less is often more.

Acting was very fine. The British performers included many of the leading lights of the 1970's and beyond. Unusually almost every story featured an American actor. Although this was almost definitely to help American sales, it brought an extra dimension. The Americans were able to offer more stylish and classless displays than their more traditional and austere (but still exceptional) British counterparts.

There were inevitably some limitations. The depiction of women was very old-fashioned and often patronising, with far too many references to grown women as "girls". There was an over-emphasis upon portraying women as pretty but helpless, dependent on men to save them. However there were some strong, perceptive and assertive female characters. Generally the view of England is very traditional and deferential, focusing on affluent figures in ostensibly idyllic surroundings. Its world-view was more of the 1950's than the 1970's.

Story-development is a little formulaic. For example, many episodes end with men cradling distressed women. However it should be remembered that "Thriller" was intended for a popular audience and not for the avant-garde, and some predictability goes with the territory and is often part of the fun.

The American versions feature filmed titles and music added long after original production by different companies. The music is sometimes very effective but the titles are unnecessarily long, often amateurish or crass, and alien to the main episodes.

However these are minor points. "Thriller" triumphs irrespective of these reservations, and no production is perfect. Any sophisticated viewer lucky enough to see an episode should be hugely impressed with what is seen. One hopes that stories will appear on DVD or video or receive a repeat broadcast so everyone can see what they have been missing!


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