Back in the first few weeks of the COVID shutdown, back when I still thought I’d be back at work in 8-10 weeks, I did a couple of blog posts about old TV SF, covering my childhood, my teen years, and my 20s. There was nostalgia, there was wistfulness, there was a stirring of the idea to go and visit some of these old friends again.
Well, I’ve recently spent some time tracking down some of those old friends, along with discovering a couple of new ones. Unsurprisingly, I’m a little scattered and eclectic about it. I’ve managed to OD on binge-watching things in the past (and my definition of binge-watching probably isn’t the same as yours), so I’m slowly consuming a number of shows, and I’m going to list them in the order of the season I’m currently watching, from oldest to newest.
The Avengers, Series 4 (1966)
Steed and Mrs. Peel. I discovered The Avengers on TVO as a teenager and loved it, though they only seemed to play from the introduction of Mrs. Peel on. I’ve chosen to start there and see where the journey takes me, likely looping back around to watch the first two series (which I’ve never seen). I remember having a hard time when Steed started wearing brown suits in Series 7 after Mrs. Peel left. It just seemed wrong somehow.
Dr. Who, Series 11 (1974)
And here I’m starting with the very last 3rd Doctor story arc in order to watch the introduction of the 4th Doctor, the one I grew up with, Tom Baker. Then we’ll see. I like several of the other Doctors in the early years, and there are a couple I never watched much of. There are 26 series of Classic Doctor who, though a couple of the earliest seasons no longer exist fully, and 12 now of the modern. The modern show is hour-length where the classics were only half an hour, but you also got fewer commercials in those days, so it isn’t quite twice as long, but comes close to balancing the same overall length in a season. I’ll contend that the writing was mostly better in the older series, though.
The point is, there’s lots to watch here, enough to keep me busy for a long time.
Battlestar Galactica, Season 1 (1978)
Seems a little silly to say Season 1 of a show there was only one season of, but there it is. I started a re-watch of this a couple of years ago, but only got half a dozen episodes in. It’s recent enough that I remember things fairly well, so I’ve picked up where I left off. I remember watching the original movie as we drove across Canada to Dad’s new posting in BC, which means this show has some specific childhood memories associated with it, including time spent acting out episodes and scenarios with lego constructs with a childhood friend. The show itself, pretty cheesy, but full-orchestra, epic theme music brings it all back.
Soul Music, Series 1 (1997)
Terry Pratchett is one of my favourite authors and I’ve been enjoying the Discworld series since I was about 20. A few of the books have been adapted into either cartoon or live action, and Soul Music is one of my favourites. Actually, most of the books where Death features as a prominent character are among my favourites, though I’ve never met a Discworld novel I didn’t at least like. There are only seven episodes, so this might not take long, but there’s a little more to follow at least.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season 6 (1997)
One of the two shows I’m slowly working my way through with my oldest daughter (she’s doing X-Files with mom). Well, one of the two genre shows. We share a similar sense of humour in a lot of ways, so there are other things we’ll watch or that she’ll watch and I’ll join her for. We’ve been on a bit of a hiatus here while she works her way back around, but I’ve promised not to watch ahead without her even though we’re in territory where I’ve only seen about half the episodes. I had a hard time with DS9 first run, dropping it after about a season and a half, and picking it up again during the Dominion War and to the end of the series, but not consistently. Just enough to keep up with the overall story and root for the good guys when appropriate.
Farscape, Season 4 (2002)
The other show I’m watching with her. We’re half a dozen episodes into the last season and can feel the end coming from here. Well, by episode count. There’s no reason to suspect it while watching the show at this point. I’ll have to come up with the mini-series that ties together the loose threads sometime soon.
Stargate SG-1, Season 7 (2003)
The first show I ever really OD’d on. When we finally introduced high speed internet to our house, it opened up a variety of entertainment possibilities and I used to watch an episode before going to bed after getting home from work at 4 or 5 in the morning most days. Since no one else was up, I usually did it while eating “dinner”. But I got a few episodes into Season 7 and just couldn’t anymore. Too much, too fast. And so I stopped watching.
But I kind of want to know how things turned out, so I’ve picked up Season 7, done some plot reviews and watched a couple of key earlier episodes to re-establish the characters in my head, and I’m ready to dip a toe back into the SG water.
Stan Against Evil, Season 1 (2016)
I forget how I actually discovered this one, but since it promised comedic horror (the only kind of horror I’ll watch willingly), and starred the actor who played my favourite character on Scrubs(John C. McGinley), I decide it was worth checking out. And it was. Well, I’m only three episodes in. I suppose I might still change my mind.
The Expanse, Season 3 (2018)
I have no idea why I never got around to the third season (and now there’s a fourth) of The Expanse. Loved the first two seasons. Loved the books; still waiting for the last one. Seems like I should have hunted it down when it moved. Well, I am now.
Star Trek: Lower Decks, Season 1 (2020)
The only other current show I’m actually watching, and my favourite by far of the recent Star Trek offerings (the only one, as far as I’m concerned, that’s actually being true to the heart of Star Trek, but we can fight about that another day).
This one, I’m forced to wait for each Thursday for the new episode, so there’s no possibility of my binging it out of my interest zone, even if there were going to be enough episodes to get me there.
Considering what I have left to watch out of these puts me well over 300 episodes of varying lengths, I should be good for a while. But just in case, I have the original Batman, Space 1999, Blake’s 7, Buck Rogers, Red Dwarf, and Star Trek: Enterprise teed up and ready to go when I am.
What’s everyone else watching?
Stay safe and be well, everyone.by