Month: January 2017

Space 1999 – Star Trek – Voyager – The Simpsons – The Final Cut – tape 2055

First on this tape, Space 1999. In The Last Enemy The Alphans approach two planets. “It’d be nice to have a choice” says Dr Russell.

There’s some nice matte painting going on here.

Matte Painting

And some more great spaceship models.

Space 1999 Dione's ship

The two planets orbit opposite each other, so they can’t directly attack each other – because of course they’re at war. So one of them sends a weapons platform to the moon to start firing on their enemy. It doesn’t end well.

Kevin Stoney plays the leader of one of the planets.

Kevin Stoney

After this, recording continues for a short time with the start of Jason King.

Then recording switches to Sky and an episode of Star Trek Voyager called Time and Again. Going by the usual Star Trek naming conventions, I suspect time travel, or time loops.

The ship encounters the shock wave of a massive explosion on a planet which has destroyed all life. Kes has the look of someone who will impart important plot information at some point.

Kes Thinking

Sure enough, while the away team is discovering that the whole planet used a dangerous form of energy to power their whole planet, Kes is telling Neelix that she could see the disaster happening on the planet. She’s basically the Guinan in this version of Yesterday’s Enterprise.

On the planet, Paris starts seeing visions of the planet as it was, and he and Janeway are suddenly pulled back to the day before the explosion destroyed the planet.

As with so many Star Trek planet, costume homogeneity is a given, with everyone dressed in the same basic clothes.

Costume Homogeneity

Janeway and Paris need to find a way back to the present day, and because of the prime directive, they aren’t allowed to prevent the explosion. Until Janeway realises that it’s their presence in the past that caused the catastrophe somehow.

It’s a nice story, although, as with most time travel stories, it doesn’t fully hold up, causally speaking.

After this, recording continues with some WWF.

Then, recording switches to The Simpsons and Treehouse of Horror VI which has the stories Attack of the 50ft EyesoresNightmare on Evergreen Terrace and the classic Homer3

Homer 3

Which ends with Homer entering our world.

Erotic Cakes

After this, recording switches again, to the end of Keeping Up Appearances.

Then, Episode One of The Final Cut, the last part of Andrew Davies’ adaptation of Michael Dobbs’ political drama. This episode opens with Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson) shooting his own dog. I presume this is inspired by the story of Michael Heseltine having his dog put down after it bit him

Shoot the Dog

Then it continues with the funeral of Margaret Thatcher. Urquhart is not a fan.

“I want to do something about Europe before I go” he says. Maybe he should have a referendum.

There are some famous faces in Urquhart’s cabinet. Paul Freeman (Belloq in Raiders).

Paul Freeman

Nickolas Grace

Nickolas Grace

Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes

The main plot here involves negotiations with Cyprus over a peace deal with Greece, and underhand dealings over possible oil fields. But Urquhart has flashbacks to a younger time when he was in Cyprus, and probably not behaving witht he utmost moral sobriety. And I’m not talking about all night raves.

Young Urquhart

BBC Genome: BBC One – 5th November 1995 – 21:00

After this, recording continues with the news, and coverage of the assassination of Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, shot by a Jewish extremist shortly after addressing a peace rally.

Plus, the discovery in Parkhurst Prison of the impressions of two security keys, found “in the pastry of a pie.”

Here’s the whole bulletin, plus the weather and some trailers at the end as a bonus.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 5th November 1995 – 21:50

After this, the tape runs out during an episode of Angus Deayton’s In Search of Happiness.

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Michael Moore’s TV Nation – Film 95 – The Thin Blue Line – Amazing Stories – tape 2097

This tape opens with the end of an episode of The X Files, a trailer for the Friday Night Comedy Zone, and for Kicking and Screaming.

Then, an episode of Michael Moore’s TV Nation. Michael meets Dr Jack Kevorkian and finds out what he likes to do on his day off.

Jack Kevorkian and Michael Moore

There’s a piece on a gated community near Chicago.

Louis Theroux finds out about Cops for Christ.

Louis Theroux and Bob Erler

There’s a report on using smells to improve workspace and productivity. And a piece comparing Healthcare in the US, Canada and Cuba that Moore would eventually remake as a feature documentary, Sicko.

There’s the weatherman who was fired because he wouldn’t give a (false) good forecast for the day the town was hosting a Rush Limbaugh picnic.

And it wraps up with some clips from previous shows.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 9th October 1995 – 21:45

After this, recording switches to an episode of Film 95, wherein Barry Norman passes judgement on:

Tom Brook has a report on To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. Lots of questions about “Did it worry you playing a drag queen?” Patrick Swayze actually says “We’re not asking the world to fall in love with drag queens, we’re asking the world to fall in love with the human spirit.”

There’s also a look back at 1982 as part of the Century of Cinema.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 9th October 1995 – 23:30

After this, recording switches and we get the end of Omnibus on Gore Vidal. There’s a very ebullient trailer for Roughnecks.

Then, back to Film 95, where Barry Norman looks at the following films:

There’s a location report on Goldeneye.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 16th October 1995 – 23:35

After this episode, recording switches again, and there’s the end of Eastenders. A trail for Due South. Then a trailer for The Vicar of Dibley.

Then, The Thin Blue Line and an episode called The Queen’s Birthday Present.

There’s a guest appearance by Stephen Moore.

Stephen Moore

Good grief. It’s 1995 and Ben Elton, of all people, writes a whole scene about how Rowan Atkinson’s wife is unable to cook breakfast. Or, indeed, make a cup of coffee.

And James Dreyfuss, in an attempt to look cool, tells off a young black man for ‘jaywalking’ which isn’t even an offence in this country.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 13th November 1995 – 20:30

After this, there’s a trailer for Children In Need and their Smellovision scratch & Sniff promotion.

There’s also a trailer for Panorama on divorce.

Then there’s the start of the Nine O’Clock News leading with a major bomb attack on an American base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Recording then switches to the end of Omnibus on Norman Foster.

There’s a trailer for Roughnecks.

Then, Film 95 and reviews of:

There’s an interview with Kenneth Branagh about In The Bleak Midwinter.

There’s also a tribute to the late Robert Stephens.

Then, Barry looks back at 1977 – the year of Star Wars. Nice to have a clip of Carrie Fisher.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 13th November 1995 – 23:30

After this, a trailer for Due South.

Then, an episode of Amazing Stories. in The Eternal Mind Jeffrey Jones is doing experiments on a monkey. They’re trying to tap into the mind of the monkey and visualise its memories.

Jeffrey Jones

When the projecct timescale is compressed, he decides to use himself as the subject of a full brain transfer. He’s dying, so he wants his mind to live on, So it’s basically the plot of Transcendence.

The next part is Go To The Head of the Class starring Christopher Lloyd as a teacher. It’s directed by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale and Mick Garris are writers.

Two of Lloyd’s pupils decide to use the instructions they’ve found by playing a heavy metal record backwards to cast a spell on him.

It goes a bit wrong, and he spends the rest of the story running after them with his head off his shoulders.

Christopher Lloyd's Head

It’s really not very interesting.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 14th November 1995 – 00:00

After this, there’s a trailer for Roughnecks, and a 999 Special on drinking and driving.

There’s a weather forecast, then a public information film, with ominous music, about looking out for old neighbours when it’s cold. Then BBC1 closes down, with Patrick Walker wishing us a very good night.

Star Trek – Deep Space Nine – tape 2050

A few more Deep Space Nine episodes on this tape, starting with The Die Is Cast. Continuing from the previous episode, Garak has rejoined a Cardassian spy, and has taken Odo for an assault on the Founders/Changelings planet. Garak interrogates Odo, keeping him from returning to his liquid form.

Interrogation

 

The next episode is Through the Looking Glass. Sisko is kidnapped by O’Brien, but it’s the O’Brien from an alternate universe. He wants Sisko to persuade a scientist to join their cause. Their version of Sisko is dead. The wrinkle is that the scientist is his wife Jennifer, dead in the regular universe, but alive here.

Jennifer Sisko

I must confess that I don’t particularly like these mirror universe stories. The evil versions of the regulars are just too ridiculously evil. But the emotional twist of Sisko reunited with his wife works well in this one.

Not enough goatees or eyepatches, though. Someone didn’t get the memo about alternate universe stories. But at least Kira was a bit gay in this one.

The next episode here is Explorers. And wouldn’t you know it, one episode too late, Sisko has only gone and grown a goatee. Wait – does this mean that this Sisko is the evil one?

Sisko's Goatee

The episode opens with Bashir leching desperately with a woman who comes to him with ‘a cough’. Now, this scene brings up so many problems. Now I know Bashir is a desperate flirt, and I would presume that people on the station know that too. So why would a young woman have to approach him pretending to have a cough? Doesn’t this make her his patient, and therefore, morally, out of bounds? Why doesn’t she just, I don’t know, sit down next to him at the bar? Given Bashir’s libido, that would be enough for him to hit on her. (I’m assuming here that the woman in question was herself flirting with him, and wasn’t genuinely in need of treatment,)

Sisko comes back from his trip not only with new facial hair, but also a new hobby. He wants to build a copy of an ancient interstellar sailboat, to see if ancient Bajoran legends are true, and the Bajorans flew such a ship to Cardassia. It’s all gone a bit Thor Heyerdal.

Sisko the explorer

Bashir learns that a woman he went to academy with is visiting. She was top of the class, he was second, and because he’s grotesquely insecure, he’s swotting up before she comes.

Sisko and Jake take the sailboat on a voyage, to see if the trip is possible. The sailboat looks nice, shades of the TRON solar sailor.

Sailboat

This was a quiet episode, but really quite lovely. When Sisko and Jake are met at the edge of Cardassian space, after proving the journey was indeed possible (thanks to a handy spacial anomaly, saviour of so many Star Trek episodes) the Cardassians even let off some space fireworks.

Space Fireworks

Credit spot: Computer Animation John Knoll. I’m guessing that’s for the solar sailor sails. I think DS9 still mostly used motion-controlled model photography, so it hadn’t yet started using CGI for everything. Babylon 5 was running at the same time, which gives you an idea as to what TV CGI was like – it couldn’t quite replicate the look of miniatures for another couple of years.

Computer Animation John Knoll

The last episode here is Family Business. After some good episodes, we’re back to Ferengi bollocks. Quark has to answer for the crimes of his mother. Which include wearing clothes, apparently.

Quark's Mother

Everything about the Ferengi is awful and creepy. They are the worst.

But at least Sisko gets to go on a date with Penny Johnson Jerald (Sherry Palmer from 24). During which we learn that nobody’s played baseball for 200 years. Maybe that explains why Bashir and O’Brien can’t play darts. Perhaps all sport died out during the pre-federation dark ages.

Penny Johnson Jerald

After this, the recording stops, and underneath there’s a short bit of LA Law before the tape runs out.

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Star Trek – Deep Space Nine – tape 2046

More episodes of Deep Space Nine. First, Heart of Stone. Kira and Odo are travelling back from a conference. They pick up a distress signal, and follow it to a nearby planet. Kira gets trapped in some kind of crystal that’s growing round her leg.

Boot Clamp

It grows higher and higher, and things look bleak. Odo can’t find a way to free her. And as they discuss life and mortality, Odo admits that he loves Kira, and even more surprisingly, she admits she’s in love with him. It’s this that tips Odo that this isn’t Kira – it’s a changeling, after more information on Odo and why he’s staying with ‘the solids’.

This episode is also where Nog first announces his desire to enter Starfleet, and it’s actually quite touching.

The next episode is Destiny. Cardassian scientists are expected to arrive on the station, and nobody is happy about it. Particularly Vedek Yarka (Erick Avari), who announces that the station will be destroyed if the Cardassians are allowed on the station, according to an ancient Bajoran prophecy.

Vedek Yarka

The two scientists seem to be very friendly.

Cardassian Scientists

But as the experiments take place, more and more things seem to match with the old prophecy.

It all works out in the end, though.

After this episode, recording continues with an episode of Renegade, the cop show with two of the most amazing hairstyles from the two male leads, and (as pointed out by friend of the blog Victor Field) the main villain is played by TV writer extraordinaire Stephen J Cannell.

Stephen J Cannell

This episode is The Trial of Reno Raines. Even the names are great. Reno Raines and Bobby Sixkiller.

But I’m not watching it. Sorry.

After this, an episode of The Kennedys – We Are All Mortal.

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Earth 2 – tape 2099

More random episodes of Earth 2. They’re still banging on about Virtual Reality – it’s the only way to make a particularly dreary looking series have a bit of visual diversity. Today they’re playing Westworld.

Earth 2 does Westworld

By the way, it’s nice to see that Earth 2’s VR system was using the same brown colour palette that most 3D games seemed to have in the 90s.

Watching these out of order doesn’t help me with the ongoing plot. such as there is. The group’s doctor, Julia Heller, is in contact with Terry O’Quinn, who’s one of the evil Earth council who want to colonise the planet, and they want to use the little boy, Ulysses, for their purposes because he has some sort of bond with the native intelligent aliens. But she’s reluctant to help him.

From the way this episode features her voiceover, I wonder if this is the first time her background has been revealed in the show.

She decides to extract Ulysses’ DNA and iject it into her to see if it will turn her into a contact with the aliens. Apparently, this means she has to take a sample of spinal fluid – not sure why a mouth swab isn’t enough.

But the experiments are having some effect…

Meet the Neighbours

In the end, the group decide to leave her behind. A bit harsh.

This episode is called The Enemy Within, which is one of the most generic episode titles there is. used in a huge number of TV series ranging from Star Trek to Peak Practice.

The next episode is Redemption, and surprisingly, they haven’t just forgotten about the previous episode. They’re still debating whether leaving Julia Heller behind was the right thing to do.

One of the group goes back for her – lucky he does because as soon as they get back, someone shoots at the group from a long way away. It’s a Z.E.D. – a sort of super-soldier sniper who had been deported to the planet.

 

The next episode is Moon Cross. Winter is coming, and young Ulysses somehow knows about an old camp near where they’ve stopped, which he calls Mary’s Garden.

Mary is a human woman who’s been living with the Terrians.

Mary

This is all happening during a time called Moon Cross when the two moons cross each other in the sky. For reasons which would seem to defy a rational explanation, at the point at which they just start or stop crossing, there’s a burst of light. I have no idea where this might be coming from. Looks cool, I suppose.

Moon Cross

The ending is all a bit holding hands together singing Kum Ba Ya, though.

The last episode on this tape is the first in a two-parter, Better Living Through Morganite. There’s some kind of earthquake at the camp. They find some glowing rocks, and Morgan wants to stake a claim. Good grief, this is the same plot as that Sequest episode with the blue glowy rocks.

They have a Geo Lock, a device which ‘petrifies’ an area of ground. This has something to do with prospecting, but I’m not sure what. I think it’s mostly a macguffin to inject jeopardy later in the episode.

Meanwhile, the Cyborg Yale appears to be malfunctioning, acting aggressively.

Yale Cyborg

And Morgan sets his Geo Lock to a large radius, not knowing that his wife was in the tunnels. This doesn’t seem like a safe piece of equipment that someone should just randomly own.

I’m still rather bored by this whole series, if I’m honest.

After this, there’s the start of an episode of Picket Fences, and the tape ends.

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  • trail: The Christmas Blast

Frasier – Clive Anderson Talks Back – tape 2105

First, Frasier, and The Show Where Sam Shows Up. Sam is in town interviewing for a coaching job, so there’s loads of reminiscing about the old gang at cheers. Written by Cheers regular writers Ken Levine and David Isaacs.

Sam then reveals that he was actually in town getting married, but ran out of the church.

His fiancée is Tea Leoni.

Tea Leoni and Ted Danson

Next, Clive Anderson Talks Back with guests Frank Skinner and David Baddiel.

Frank Skinner and David Baddiel

Paula Yates

Paula Yates

And Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal

After this, recording continues, with Passengers, a sorts of yoof-themed travel-inflected programme.

Of interest in this programme (to me anyway) is a piece on Robert Rodriguez’ Desperado.

Robert Rodriguez

Of less interest, the reports on Japanese teen biker girl gangs, and Ibiza.

After this, there’s NBA Basketball.

Adverts:

  • Burton
  • National Lottery Instants
  • And They’re Off
  • Mazda
  • Royal Insurance
  • No7
  • Weetabix
  • trail: Hollyoaks – inaugural trailer
  • trail: Clive Anderson Talks Back
  • Yellow Pages
  • Fruitang
  • Peperami
  • Shell
  • Commercial Union
  • trail: NBA
  • Simply Red – Life
  • Tic Tac
  • Nissan Almeira
  • Sun Alliance
  • Safeway
  • Energy Saving
  • trail: Cutting Edge: Deception
  • trail: Damage
  • Gerry Rafferty – One More Dream
  • Vauxhall Vectra
  • Lego
  • Observer
  • Boursin
  • Domestos
  • The Best of Lou Reed
  • Without Walls
  • trail: Dark and Deadly
  • Luther Vandross Greatest Hits
  • M&Ms
  • Poeme
  • Total
  • Flex
  • Land Rover Discovery
  • Always
  • Nine Months in cinemas
  • Ultimate Soul Collection
  • M&Ms
  • trail: Crapston Villas
  • Harley Davidson
  • Shell
  • Kidney Donor
  • London Motor Show
  • Lion Bar
  • Playstation
  • Renault Clio
  • Salon Selectives
  • Bacardi
  • Star Wars Trilogy on video
  • VW Golf
  • The Best of Lou Reed
  • Boursin
  • The London Motor Show
  • Heineken Export
  • trail: Get Up Stand Up
  • trail: Takeover TV – Adam Buxton

  • Peugeot 306
  • Pizza Hut
  • Kit Kat
  • Peugeot 306
  • Channel Four Film Challenge
  • Vauxhall Vectra
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Daily Telegraph
  • Chatback
  • Swallow Hotels
  • Lloyd’s Bank
  • Our Price
  • Ford Mondeo
  • Harley Davidson
  • The Equitable Life
  • Mortal Kombat in cinemas
  • Swallow Hotels
  • Gerry Rafferty – One More Dream
  • trail: Hollyoaks

The X Files – Space Precinct – Michael Moore’s TV Nation – tape 2103

To BBC2 now, and a tape which starts with the end of The Travel Show with Jonathan Ross in Seattle, trying a bit of ‘wheatgrass detox’.

There’s a trailer for Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood. And a trailer for Love Bites: Ruffian Hearts.

Then, an episode of The X Files, Duane Barry. I’ve already looked at this on a previous tape, but check it out if you want to see Mulder in Speedos.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 25th September 1995 – 21:00

Recording switches to BBC2, and Nick Ross in Brighton for the Labour Party Conference. The scheduled programme, Floyd on Italy was postponed until tomorrow.

There’s a trail for Picture This, then a look at programmes from 6 on BBC2.

Programmes from 6 on 2

Then, an episode of Space Precinct called Time To Kill. Rather oddly, it’s also another episode I’ve watched on another tape, so go ov er there for some more details.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 2nd October 1995 – 18:00

After this, recording continues with a very dramatic trailer for Deep Space Nine scored with Mozart’s Requiem. There’s a less dramatic trailer for Chris Evans’ breakfast show.

Then, The O Zone starts, and a startlingly young Jayne Middlemiss talks to the equally young PJ & Duncan, aka Ant ‘n Dec. They’re already doing the ‘stand in name order’ thing even here.

Ant n Dec

After a few minutes of this, recording switches to the end of The Travel Show. There’s a trailer for the series of plays, Performance.

Then, more X Files with Ascension, the follow-up to Duane Barry, and also already reviewed previously.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 2nd October 1995 – 21:00

There’s a trailer for Shooting Stars.

Then, Michael Moore’s TV Nation, and it’s Bully Reunion Night.

Bully Reunion Night

There’s a report from the UK, where the puzzled Americans find out why you have to have a TV Licence to watch TV.

It features Licence Officers, who actually use a handheld TV detector.

TV Detector

It also talks to women who have been jailed for non-payment of the Licence Fee and subsequent fines. Women are (or were) disproportionately affected by enforcement of the Licence Fee. I’m a big supporter of the BBC, and I happily pay the Licence Fee, but this part of it (which is not administered by the BBC itself, it’s a government department) makes me very uncomfortable. There’s a ridiculous bit of buck passing here where the BBC say it’s a matter for government, and the government says it’s the BBC’s responsibility.

But this item is notable for being a rare instance of showing the inside of one of the almost mythical TV Detector Vans.

Inside a detector van

Here’s the report.

In a segment on Catholic Confession, they manage to misspell reporter Janeane Garofalo’s name.

Janeane Garofalo

Louis Theroux meets his school bully, who’s now living in a buddhist monastery in Scotland.

Louis Theroux and Bully

Next “a piece our American network would not allow us to air” on Savings and Loans.

Then, Crackers the Corporate Crimefighting Chicken looks at media mergers.

Crackers the Corporate Crimefighting Chicken

The final segment sees the show’s own KGB spy looking at why the democratic party is in decline.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 2nd October 1995 – 21:45

After this, a trailer for Timewatch: Evidence of Vikings. And a trailer for Assingment: The Baby Trade.

There’s also a caption trail for Face to Face with John Berger, who died earlier this month. Another one for the Death Watch.

John Berger

Then the tape runs out during Newsnight, at the Labour Conference.