Life,  Television

The TV SF of my formative years – Pre-1980s

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By which I mean shows made before the 1980s, although a couple of them spill over a bit. A couple of these, I didn’t actually discover until about 1990 and living on my own in second year university.

I made an offhand comment on Facebook a couple of days ago that I was searching out the “greatest SF television of my formative years” for stretched out binge watching during the shutdown. (As previously noted on more than one occasion, I’m not wired to be able to do standard binge-watching. I can’t do one thing for that long at a time.)

I even listed the shows I was after, most of which I’ve come up with. I’ll add one, which will surprise no one. Star Trek The Original Series.

I’ve been a Star Trek fan for literally as long as I can remember. One of my first memories is sitting in my father’s lap watching a rerun of “The Immunity Syndrome”. That’s the one with the giant space amoeba. Not all of it has aged well, but some of it holds up as excellent storytelling and more of it is culturally relevant today than most people would suspect from a distance.

The rest of the list:

I remember watching the TV movie of Battlestar Galactica in a hotel room somewhere during the drive across Canada when Dad was posted to the west coast. It only ran one season, plus a 10-episode spin off series that picked up a generation later, and it was cheesy with inconsistent writing, but it was fun, had mostly clear lines between good and evil, and swear words you can still use today if you want to.

Buck Rogers was produced just after the first season of BG with the same creative team and, I suspect from the shared FX, the same company. The writing wasn’t as good, but the cheese factor ramped up and the idea of a fun space adventure was front and centre.

Blake’s 7 follows the story of a group of criminals and semi-anarchists as they fight a guerrilla war against the Terran Federation, a totalitarian government that tries to control everything its citizens do and think. Something to keep in mind: 1970s BBC SF production values.

You never forget your first Doctor, as the saying goes, and Tom Baker was mine, discovered on a local TVO station in the convenient after the bus dropped me off time slot. I watched as often as I could, but even now I don’t think I’ve seen all of the Tom Baker episodes. Time to change that.

I discovered the Avengers during second year on a bored Sunday afternoon at about the beginning of the Diana Rigg run. Hooked immediately, it’s still the Steed/Peel relationship that defines the show for me even though I’ve seen most of the rest, before and after Ms. Rigg’s time on the show. Worth noting that the first half of her run was in black and white. It was the 60s and things were still transitioning.

I actually have the Space 1999 theme on my phone as part of a small play list of SF themes, along with a couple of other themes from this list. Ah, that guitar. I used to love this show as a kid, and while I don’t think I’ve watched an episode in a couple of decades, I have fond memories. Fun but a little darker than a lot of stuff happening at the time, and with the FX ramped up as close to realism as could be produced in the 70s. Probably the biggest SF show of the decade next to The Six Million Dollar Man.

So there’s my list of potential binge watches for the next little while. There are a few other things that might have made the list, but these are what I’m going with.

Did I miss anyone’s favourite?

Be well, everyone.

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