Children of the Dog Star (TV Mini-Series 1984) Poster

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Ohgress22 March 2006
It is truly, absolutely fascinating to read the other comments for this series, for they say the same, and I can do neither. I have had a weak but clear memory of this show since I saw when I was 9, but no one else has recognized it when I've told about it and I didn't remember the name of the series. Frustation! Until yesterday when I put out a question at a community and a guy answered and told me it was this series. It feels wonderful to know that my weak memory of this wasn't just in my head! I was also completely absorbed by this show. But the only thing I can remember is that mysterious lamp on roof and it scared the hell out of me. :) Anyway, I think my fascination for sci-fi and astronomy started with this show too. It's great to read that other have experienced the same. Aah, that youth... :)
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one of the best of its type for the time
scandrett20005 September 2003
I saw this show back in 87 at the tender age of 11 and was hooked from the beginning to the end. Okay so the effects are laughable by todays standard but this liitle low budget show had the one thing that almost all since have lacked, a good story and if you have that all else is forgivable.

The score was amazing and the plot gripped like a vice. Its a shame that there have been no repeats of this show for at least ten years, I would love to sit and watch it again. I won't give too much of the story away for the people who never got to see the last episode(s) but needless to say it was very, very cool!
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Mycomments are about how the show impacted my life.
brian-weekes21 September 2004
I remember every Monday morning the class would be bursting with energy as everyone, guys and girls alike, came rushing back to school after the weekend to discuss the most recent episode of this show. I can still hear the opening music in my head after all these years. What I would do for a copy of this series on DVD. This series started my interest in the space program and even today after so long the star Sirius, blazing away in the night sky, is still one of my all time favourites. Thanks COTDS for starting my passion for the stars and planets. Thanks NASA for the Terrestrial Planet Finder that will take it into the next decade. Currently I am chasing around trying to find copies of this series. If anyone has any copies please let me know as I would like to ad them to my collection. Despite the low ranking. (Why I don't know) this is a great series. Like I said, the entire class was addicted to it and considering the low quality of shows that came out at that time I think the producers did great. No wonder they won a golden globe for it.)
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Memorable Children's Adventure Serial
Muldwych31 January 2010
When budding astronomer Gretchen Kierney goes to stay at her uncle's farm for the holidays, she finds herself embroiled in an adventure that began a thousand years ago and which leads all the way to the white dwarf star Sirius B.

Many children of the 80s will vaguely remember a TV serial having something to do with a strange weathervane on top of an old barn and the presence of aliens. This was 'Children Of The Dog Star', tying in Marcel Griaule's interpretation of Dogon mythology, Maori culture, and modern sci-fi storytelling, all of which come together to produce a highly-enjoyable miniseries that uses rural New Zealand as its backdrop. It came to our screens at a time when intelligently-written speculative fiction on children's television was the norm, from 'Chocky' to 'The Tripods' and 'Under The Mountain' - the latter sharing screenwriter Ken Catran and director Chris Bailey, by now practiced hands at the genre. While 'Children Of The Dog Star' differs from these others in not being adapted from a novel, it does take much of its inspiration from Robert K.G Temple's 1976 book, 'The Sirius Mystery', sparking of a period of intense debate over how the Dogon could possibly have known the brightest star in the heavens had a small white dwarf orbiting it without modern astronomical equipment. Could we have been guided by aliens in the past?

While child performers Sarah Dunn, Jeison Wallace and Hamish Bartle did not appear to build a career out of acting, they give a decent first performance here, for which some credit must go to Bailey, already a skilled hand at getting the most out of young newcomers. The production's adult cast ranges from seasoned veterans like Roy Billing and Catherine Wilkin to lesser-known actors like Anzac Wallace, who also has a cameo in the classic sci-fi film 'The Quiet Earth'. The special effects are pre-cgi and of their time, but hold up enough for all but the most demanding of audiences. Matthew Brown provides a memorable theme tune and his incidental music is both fitting and never overused. Perhaps the biggest compliment I could give the production is that I still enjoyed it very much as an adult. While it has '1984' stamped all over it, time has not been especially unkind in the areas that count.

2009 saw 'Children Of The Dog Star' finally make it to DVD. Alas, TVNZ made no effort to clean up their print or produce even the most minimal of extras. I bet Catran and Bailey for example, would have liked to have produced a commentary, and we'd all have enjoyed hearing it. Nonetheless, the serial is finally available, and will hopefully be a nice nostalgia trip for older fans, and better still, entertain a new generation of children.
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An excellent kids sci-fi series
rjpurves5 September 2001
Wow! I've finally found a mention of this program on the internet! I thought I was the only person who knew about it!

Anyway, I first saw this program when I was about four years old so that would make it about 1983 or so. I remember being transfixed with it but then many other children's programs did the same to me at that age.

Quite a few years later, I caught it again and got the last few episodes on tape. That was 1990 and it was still just as good then.

So without giving too much of the plot away, this is a series that managed to mix astronomy, alien contact and real world issues together while making it easy for children to follow. Add some extremely creepy music and events and you're in for a fun escaping ride.

I'm a student filmmaker at the moment and this program has done more to influence my style of film making than any other. The scene where Gretchen's character with the Daisy Rod walks into the old civil defence bunker is proof of this. The blinding light may be a bit of a cliche but hey, it works and works well.

If you can find the tapes, buy it. The 70's fashions aren't brightly coloured monstrosities so this show has aged extremely well and the science is still current.
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Disturbing and evocative
johanstiel2 December 2012
This show aired in Sweden in 1985. I was seven then and my older sister read the subtitles for me (she used to do that so frequently that when I went to bed she would forget to stop reading them out loud). I remember that I thought it was disturbing that you never see the alien activity, yet the invisible alien presence has an impact on these kids. Their parents don't understand and can't believe in what the kids experience, as the unnatural force is invisible and can only be sensed when coming close to it or in nightmares. It was very similar to the British series Chocky, the adaptation of Wyndham's book which premiered in Sweden at the end of 84. Chocky was about an unseen force channeling its thoughts to a boy, giving him all the right answers in school, discussing things with him though no one but him can hear it, which, like The Invisible Man, was quite a disturbing concept for a seven- year-old to process. In Children of the Dog Star, the protagonist is similarly influenced, yet mostly when asleep. I remember the characters as easy to sympathize with, smart, free-thinking and autonomous. There are few series from my childhood I remember this vividly. Though I can't rate it, as I haven't seen it as an adult, the fact that I have such vivid images of it tells me the show was evocative, thought-provoking, spooky and probably made for older kids.
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Still Like it
Casey Morrison (Maxamus)21 December 2009
I was like four or five when I saw this on TV. Used to try and watch it but sometimes was too scary. Think it was because the music the played when the showed Daisy The Weather Vane and the shape of it was like something that was going to hurt me. Just got it on DVD and still love it Gretchen is like me always wanting to play with mechanical and technical things and sometime felt left out because people I knew didn't understand or didn't like what I liked to do. It was cool how spaceys(video games) were 20c to. I think Children Of the Dog Star is better then what kids are watching to day. Thanks to TVNZ for letting me relive this classic.
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1984 actually
Brendon Cameron19 February 2005
Being a kiwi (before moving to OZ) and therefore growing up in New Zealand I distinctly remember when this first screened. I was around 10 at the time and was really absorbed by it. There were 6 episodes in the series if I remember correctly. Think I rated this series slightly above the other NZ Science Fiction series I remember as a kid (Under the Mountain) which was created in 1981 if memory serves me. Amazing I found it on the web! I wish I could remember more about it. The daisy wheel pressed tin star is a prominent memory as does uncovering the "spaceship" in a forest of some sort. I believe it was filmed in New Zealand although I couldn't tell you where (North Island I imagine). Being a child of course you are easily influenced and like so many other things in life - revisiting such material would no doubt leave a very different impression upon me. Damn rational thinking, age and wisdom! I can't recall much of the special effects but being over 20 years old now and filmed in little old New Zealand as a children's feature on probably a minuscule budget would probably have not aged this well. Wish I could find a copy somewhere and revisit some lost innocence.
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