Wednesday, December 24, 2008

An Are You Being Served? Christmas!

As a writing exercise, it is important to me to keep up this blog. I want to document my thoughts on the programs I watch and enjoy. I know not that many people view this blog and of the people who visit, I am not sure how many people actually read it. I just want to practice writing and trying to formulate some thought on what I am viewing every week. It is a kind of experiment for me.
Why am I going into such detail? Because I am sick. I have a high temperature and am achy all over. It’s Christmas Eve and probably will not have a chance to write up about last week’s viewing especially as I plan to write up a review of The Next Doctor over the next couple of days. So this will be short. Yay!
After a couple of weeks of watching pseudo Christmas episodes of programs I randomly pciked, this week I watched two bona fide Christmas editions of Are You Being Served?: Christmas Crackers and The Father Christmas Affair. Just like mentioned in last week’s article on Keeping Up Appearances, all of the Christmas specials for Are You Being Served? were taken out of the episode syndication package with the rest of the series and held separately generally only available for December viewing.
I could imagine that these episodes could have been really exciting for regular viewers in 1975 and 1976 respectively since they aired so long after the previous series ended. It would have made it feel really special. For Christmas Crackers, Series 3 ended in April of 1975 and The Father Christmas Affair would have aired after Series 4 would have finished broadcasting in May of 1976. So there was a sizable gap between regular series and specials.
Christmas Crackers starts off as a meeting with the Grace Brother staff trying to figure out how to get more people into the store over Christmas. It was soon discovered that Young Mr. Grace decided the staff will dress up in Christmas style costumes and serve the customers this way. Apart from a slight interlude with a Christmas lunch that goes horribly wrong in the canteen, the whole episode ends in song. One thing that really stuck out at me while watching this was that the timing in the episode was off by some of the main cast. Frank Thornton steps on a couple of the other actor’s lines and even jokes. Trevor Bannister does very much the same. The entire rhythm of the episode seemed way off. I am not privy to production dates for Are You Being Served? as I am with other series so I am not sure if this was recorded as part of the third series or was this done closer to its Christmas broadcast. Generally, I have never liked any of the musical numbers in Are You Being Served? I think John Inman, Larry Martyn, Nicholas Smith can carry a tune quite well but trying to understand Arthur Brough is impossible and listening to Wendy Richards is just plain uncomfortable to my poor ears. The biggest cringe-worthy moment of the episode to me is watching poor Trevor Bannister nearly fall down the stairs coming out of the lift in his pirate costume with him only able to use one leg; he nearly looses his balance. You could see the look of horror on his face and you could also hear some gasps from the audience. It is not quite as big of a deal as I make out but it is certainly noticeable.
The Father Christmas Affair is much more enjoyable viewing. Apart from one of the funniest gags in the series involving a mechanical Father Christmas opening up its arms to reveal it is wearing nothing under it’s cloak while saying “Ho, Ho, Ho little boy, have I got a surprise for you!”, it is just a fun, enjoyable episode. It’s intentionally over the top and silly. Mr. Grainger needs to update his yearly act he gives to the old people’s home. Instead of doing his Winston Churchill impression, Mr. Humphries suggests Grainger tries to mimic the Al Jolson number Mammy including the use of blackface. While this is happening Young Mr. Grace is offering £50 to the person he chooses to play Father Christmas in the store. Since Grainger can’t get the grease paint off his face, he auditions for the Father Christmas role with it on. Luckily for him, Young Mr. Grace brings along a little black boy who immediately identifies with Grainger and thus Grainger gets the role. It’s a fun episode with another musical number of sorts. This time it’s Mr. Humphries and Mr. Lucas trying to teach the very immobile and rigid Mr. Grainger a simple dance routine for the song Mammy. Unlike Christmas Crackers, The Father Christmas Affair doesn’t try to do too much in the episode and lets the story play out and focus more on the characters. This is hardly surprising to me as I find many of the episodes of that series to be superb such as Fifty Years On and Oh, What A Tangled Web.
I viewed these episodes from the R1 releases. The quality is much better than the copies shown on our PBS station. The colors are vibrant and there is not much in the way of tape drop out. There are some but nothing like the copies we had seen here before which were from copies bicycled around the country. I like to generally get any British series as R2 PAL releases as much as possible but I am glad I didn’t with this. The R1 release included a couple of discs of extras plus even more importantly, none of the episodes on these sets are cut in any way. The same can not be said about the R2 releases.
Next Week: A Tribute to Producer and Director Bob Spiers who passed away on 12/8. I will be watching some of the programs he worked on including The Comic Strip Presents, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Dad’s Army, Come Back Mrs. Noah, Fawlty Towers, (Maybe the Australian version!), Bottom, and Absolutely Fabulous. I know he has done a lot more work than this but those are the only things I have in my collection that he had any involvement.
Coming Soon: I occasionally do pseudo reviews. I call them pseudo because I don’t have any business reviewing anything! I plan on posting reviews for Doctor Who episode, The Next Doctor and the DVD for Doctor Who: Battlefield soon.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Keeping Up Appearances

“The Bouquet residence, the lady of the house speaking!” Not really Bouquet is it? It’s Bucket. This is a handful of series shown on my PBS station in the 1990’s that I absolutely loved. Keeping Up Appearances. The series about a woman who goes through incredible lengths to have others believe she is in a higher social standing than she really is. To be able to pull this off, she often hides the family members she embarrassed of from other people, plays up her own social standing, assumes that other people of higher standing knows her and should acknowledge her, and talks up her husband as someone who is more important than he is much to his embarrassment.
This week I look at 2 *Holiday* specials from the series. These were Sea Fever and Historical Pageant. Going into it and picking the episodes to watch, I knew that they were not yuletide spirited choices and I didn’t care. Christmas was still a few weeks off so it didn’t bother me too much. They originally aired on BBC1 on 12/25/94 and 12/24/95 respectively. Historical Pageant is actually the last episode of the series and I have never seen it before.
The PBS station in my area show these series continually but the way that BBC Worldwide Americas offer the series, they will take out the Christmas specials from the rotation and the stations will need to purchase these episodes separately. This is why watching this series on PBS one will never see it straight through from beginning to end. Generally, the Christmas specials will show up in December (hardly a radical idea) but will be also placed in that month because that is when those stations have pledge drives to try and get money out of viewers to support the programs. This is supported by my BBC Worldwide Americas syndication information about Keeping Up Appearances where a station can purchase series 1-5 sans Christmas specials. It does separately point out 4 specials for purchase. This would also possibly explain why I never seen Historical Pageant as I just simply missed any of the Christmas specials when broadcast on my PBS station.
To be honest, I have only seen 1 of the 4 listed specials on my PBS station, The Father Christmas Suit. Sea Fever and Angel Gabriel Blue I owned the pre-recorded video.
I chose Sea Fever because I always liked it. I liked how it got all the regulars (minus Daddy) into the special but also allowed them to not be in the entire special. Emmet and Elizabeth are in the early part of the special. Rose is seen for a little bit but the episode revolves around Hyacinth and Richard going on a cruise on the QEII. It takes them forever to get to the ship including them actually missing its departure and catching up with it elsewhere. This is all due to Hyacinth thinking she can navigate Richard to the QEII better than Richard’s own directions. Once they finally get on board ship, Hyacinth sees Onslow and Daisy on the ship and Hyacinth immediately believes that they are stow-aways. The truth is that Onslow and Daisy won the cruise and did not want to tell Hyacinth in case it made her jealous. The best scene of the episode is when Onslow and Daisy start the dance at the end of the episode and Hyacinth breaks in and dances with Onslow. Now that is at the end of the episode, what about everything in between?
I like much of the episode because it gets the characters out of their normal surroundings. What is annoying though is Hyacinth. I know her character is meant to be annoying and rubs people the wrong way. This time, she just bugs me. Hyacinth in the series is a strong and tough woman. She can deal with any crisis in often amusing ways. In Sea Fever, she gives up too easily. She is reduced to tears too often. That just doesn’t feel right for her character. Once she finds out that Onslow and Daisy are on board after winning the trip, that’s different. She is just jealous and it is funny. When she is crying because she missed getting on the QEII the first time just does not feel right to me. Of course, as an American Football fan, see her searching the ship for Onslow and Daisy in a Minnesota Vikings hat is a treat. After all, I come from Minnesota. I also thought this episode was a little timely because the QEII made its last voyage this year to be docked in Dubai to be turned into a luxury hotel.

I enjoyed Historical Pageant a little more. Often, I see that with Christmas Specials from the UK that episodes are kind of pantomime in nature. Are You Being Served? does it as did Doctor Who Voyage of the Damned. Oh, that wasn’t meant to be pantomime? Anyway, Historical Pageant is about Hyacinth organizing a pageant for the church. She is to play the Queen in the pageant and she is looking forward to all the volunteers to help her put this pageant together. Of course, once everyone in the parish realizes that Hyacinth is running the pageant, no one shows up to help. Hyacinth needs to get her family involved including Onslow. The Vicar is set to see the play but immediately considers it to be unacceptable and asks for the curtain to be lowered based on Hyacinth’s appearance as the Queen. As it is lowered, it hits Hyacinth on the head sending her to the hospital. This is a one of a handful of occasions we see Hyacinth’s sister Violet and her husband Bruce who are always fighting and talking about divorce.
As this was the final episode of the series and that I have never seen it before, I had seriously wondered if Elizabeth dropping the curtain on Hyacinth’s head would kill her. It actually makes sense since Elizabeth is so clumsy she breaks Hyacinth’s cups in every episode. Hyacinth also bullies Elizabeth too. This would have been a satisfactory ending to the series for me. I like to think that on her way to the hospital she quietly passes away. Well, she could have done so!
After 5 years of the “Hello Mrs. Bucket, I mean Bouquet!” joke it was time for the series to end. I have stuck up for the series after people thought it should have been done after 1 series of the same type of humor. I have always loved it but it is clear by this episode, the ideas have run out of steam. Too many unfunny pieces to it including Daddy and the dance instructor dancing continuously through different parts of the story. Though, it was fun to see Una Stubbs make an appearance.

I watched this from the BBC R1 set. I thought the episodes looked softer than they should. Most of the other BBC comedies on DVD look great. I was not sure if that was because some were recorded on 2” quad tape which would give a stronger picture vs. 1” tape. I am not sure what Keeping Up Appearances would have been recorded on but it is possible to start off in 1” and end up on D3. I also have the R1 release of Grace and Favour which looks real good and was done at around the same time of Keeping Up Appearances. It is possible the episodes for the Keeping Up Appearances release was sourced from the BBC Worldwide Americas analog tape library. I have not seen the R2 Playback release of the series though all my ‘Allo ‘Allo! discs are from the R2 Playback collection and look good.
When I first went through all of the episodes for Keeping Up Appearances, I always thought Richard was going to get a backbone, have enough and leave Hyacinth to go off with Elizabeth. Now that I have finally seen the final episode, I know that is not the case….sadly.
A quick shout out: One of the few BBC comedy series I have never seen episodes of is Last of the Summer Wine. I just want to give my condolences to the family of Kathy Staff who died last week. I have wanted to check it out but am a little unsure of watching 29 series of something right now.
Next Week: True Christmas episodes of the classic series of Are You Being Served? with Christmas Crackers and The Father Christmas Affair.

For more information on Keeping Up Appearance, please check out:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Benny Hill

One of my first memories of British television goes back to the early 1980’s. Most people had seen British television on PBS with such series as Fawlty Towers or Good Neighbors (The Good Life) but my earliest memory goes back to our CBS affiliate WCCO with the one and only Benny Hill. WCCO would broadcast Benny Hill Sunday nights at 10:35 after the news. I would sit and watch it with my mom. Of course being of a young age, most of the sexual innuendo would fly right over my head. Come to think of it, it probably flew over my mother’s head. Why would she let me watch it at such a young age? I would look forward to the bit every week where Benny would run after the women or the women would run after Benny to the tune of Yakety Sax which was basically the theme tune for the series. For commercial stations such as WCCO, Benny Hill must have been syndicated in half hour episodes with commercial breaks. We certainly did not get whole episodes.
As it is December, when I randomly chose Benny Hill, I decided to try to find something with some Holiday flair. I only have about 22 episodes of the series in my collection. Most sourced from the A&E DVD releases. So I looked through my database to see what would be appropriate and found from Disc 1 Episode 2 which was broadcast on December 25th 1969. Seemed to be a good choice!

Watching the episode was like stepping back through time. The humor is both simple and complex. Benny Hill uses word play very well. I do know that later on, Benny gets a little more overt in trying to get the ladies but here he is quite subdued. My favorite sketch of the episode is ‘The Short Happy Life of Maurice Dribble’. It’s about a man’s whole life, from birth to death, sped up over a matter of 10 minutes. Within the sketch, there is some great music which I instantly recognized yet can barely describe. It is like sped up music which sounds like it is being played backwards yet had an old time feel to it. I am sure anyone who is a fan of Benny Hill will know what I am talking about. There is also Benny’s Bloopers. This week part of the bloopers, which are not real bloopers but fabricated as bloopers or screw ups, focuses around shooting a western in a saloon. Benny comes in as a cowboy, asks for a beer at the far end of the bar. The bartender is at the other end and should slide the beer down to Benny to catch. Obviously, we know what is going to happen. We know what is going to happen when Benny walks into the saloon. Hell, we know what is going to happen when we even see the saloon set. It’s still funny! The bartender slides the beer down to Benny who gets distracted at the moment he should grab the beer and of course the beer slides off the bar onto the floor. Over the course of this segment, it happens probably about 6 times. Maybe because I am simple, I laughed at it every single time.

I think the only thing that bored me to tears and stuck out like a sore thumb in this episode were the musical numbers. Now, I have seen my fair share of Benny Hill episodes. I have seen him sing many songs, which have never really done much for me but in this episode he had musical numbers from 2 musicians. The Ladybirds and Miss Ira Heath. After doing a little research, apparently The Ladybirds did over sixty appearances on the show over the years. I have never seen them before prior to watching this episode. Regardless, the musical numbers have always bored me even though The Ladybirds did a decent rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”. It was respectable but I had absolutely no interest in Miss Ira Heath singing “Wedding Cake”.

The last sketch, before the obligatory chase scene, was a take off on “This Is Your Life”. Like many of Benny’s sketches, this was overly long (kind of like my blog) but had warmth and charm about it (unlike my blog) which made it worthwhile to watch. I am not sure what was up with this sketch as it felt like the presenter (Nicholas Parsons) just had, for his script, a list of questions and Benny would make up the answers of the spot as he went a long. There were some truly excellent quips to this as Benny was not the subject of the “This Is Your Life” style program but played the different parts of the people who the subject of the program knew from over the years. When the subject realized it was about his life, he received a small box of chocolate from the presenter. Every time Benny came out as a different character he would be interviewed by the presenter and leave when he was finished. As he was leaving the set, you could see if was taking off his costume only to put on a new one before coming back out on stage. My favorite bit from this scene is that he is dressed as a lady for one of the characters. Before he leaves on this occasion, he asks for a piece of candy from the guy who this program is about. Benny takes the piece, pops it in his mouth, and goes off stage to change. When he comes back, as a different character I think as a band leader, he says to the guy he took the candy from as a different character still chewing it, “You didn’t tell me it was a caramel!” Well… made me laugh! I thought the DVD was presentation was quite nice. As I mentioned earlier, this is the A&E release and not the PAL Network release. I know the first thing that we are not going to get since it is a R1 release are ad caps. It’s too bad since these make the program complete and can often lead to nasty editing jobs. This wasn’t too bad though. I thought the quality of the episode was great. Obviously a mixture of film and video from a 2” tape converted to NTSC, I though it looked fine. I did think some of the sequences of the episode were out of sync in terms of audio. I wasn’t sure if it was my system or the DVDs. Another thing I really liked about the DVD sets is that each episode is chaptered by skits or musical numbers. I know I should expect that as it is the only smart thing to do but I just feel you never know what to expect from these companies. The smart things isn’t always the thing they choose to do.
I remember many occasions over the years telling people I really enjoy British television and their response being, “Do you mean like Benny Hill? I don’t like him!” This always made me sad for 2 reasons. Number one is obviously not all programs are like Benny Hill and secondly, why do people not like Benny Hill? From what little research I did, Benny even gets a cool reaction in the UK. He was attacked by grave robbers less than six months after he was buried. Give the guy a break! I have watched Benny Hill on and off over the last twenty years and will always remember him best as when I was watching him get chased to the tune of Yakety Sax! More people should do the same!
Next week: More Christmas goodness with a couple of episodes of Keeping Appearances. Sea Fever and Historical Pageant.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Doctor Who 45th Anniversary

Last Sunday was the 45th anniversary of Doctor Who. It’s hard to believe that Doctor Who has been around for so long. When I started to watch it Peter Davison was the Doctor and once I got into the series, I was mesmerized. I was/am fascinated by virtually everything about the series. If I may indulge in how I became a fan of this series, it goes all the way back to 1984.
I knew of Doctor Who for much of my life but I was a Star Wars fan. I saw Star Wars in theaters in 1977 at the very young age of 3. My parents brought me to see it. Obviously, visually it was astounding. It was fast paced and everything was perfect for am impressionable you to watch. It made me think anything was possible. The ideas behind the story was vast and on a massive scale. That was my benchmark in watching anything that was remotely labeled as science fiction. Doctor Who was shown on our PBS station KTCA in the early 80s running the Tom Baker episodes on a Mon-Fri schedule. I think at 5:30pm every night. I say I think because I never watched it. I know the bully at my school watched it as he would mention it while he was pushing me to the ground. That might be another reason why I never watched it. That and also because when I turned it on one day I caught a glimpse of it and it looked extremely cheap and did not hold my interest. It just made me turn the channel.
Jump forward a couple of years and on one Friday August night, (September I would enter the fifth grade) I am at home and my Mom calls me into the kitchen where she was watching TV. I started to watch this really fun program with her. The show already started but it was a science fiction/fantasy affair that was based in seventeenth century London. It caught my Mom’s attention because she thought the costumes were colorful and somehow appealed to her. Amongst all of these strange characters, there was a colorful android which would dress in a black robe and where a skull mask and there was another guy who wore a beige/cream colored outfit with a coat that had red piping and for some reason (which I really still do not buy to this day) wore what looked like celery on his lapel.

Obviously, I am talking about Doctor Who. The story was The Visitation. At this point in the broadcast history of KTCA showing the series, Doctor Who moved on from daily broadcasts to once a week now as a movie version broadcast. While watching the story, I thought to myself this must be Doctor Who even though I didn’t really know what Doctor Who was. Somehow I just sensed this even though I hardly ever seen it. I knew the character Doctor Who that wore a long scarf and had floppy curly hair but I didn’t know about this new different guy. So, when my suspicions were confirmed that I was watching Doctor Who, I just assumed that it meant that there were two actors who had played Doctor Who at this point. Good old KTCA soon set me straight.

Goodness me there are five of them now!
About a month after I started to watch Doctor Who on a regular basis, KTCA broadcast The Five Doctors. From what little I cobbled together of the series based on the few episodes I had seen up to this point had been completed blown out of the water. It was a complete shock that there were five Doctors and that they were all meant to be the same character. Also, it was a massive surprise to me to learn the series had been running for twenty years!

I greatly enjoyed the story but the one thing that grabbed my interest more than any treacherous Time Lords, Raston Robots, or Mind Probes was the opening sequence with William Hartnell. I knew the series was old but it came as quite a shock to see that short sequence when everything else I had ever seen of Doctor Who was of a younger man playing the title role as well as stories shown in color. It was like this distant message that broke through from some other dimension. It was magical. When The Five Doctors started with that short excerpt from Flashpoint, it’s like I knew I was going to be a fan for a long time and I wanted to see as much of the series as I possibly could.
Over the years I met many fans. I been to many conventions, worked on many conventions and even ran a couple. I ran fan clubs, viewing societies, and panels. I met and personally know actors and actresses who have appeared in Doctor Who. Friends of mine who were fans have gone through phases where they stopped watching for a while and eventually came back. I never stopped watching. I enjoy Doctor Who as much now as I did when I saw The Visitation all those years ago.
I did my own personal celebration Sunday November 23rd watching the documentary Doctor Who: Origins, An Unearthly Child, and Journey’s End. It was a very enjoyable evening.
This week is Thanksgiving and as I have Friday off, I will be spending the day watching more Doctor Who. To me, I will always associate Doctor Who with the Thanksgiving holiday. I am probably not the only fan who feels this way but, that’s another story…..

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Secret Service

What on Earth is Supermarionation? It’s funny because Gerry Anderson throws around that term as if it is a way of filmmaking such as Cinemascope. Though, I suppose that is exactly what it is! Instead of filming television series using boring old wooden human actors, Gerry Anderson chose to create television series using wooden marionettes. OK, maybe not so wooden. The thing is that it is more than filmmaking; it is truly an art form. The first Supermarionation program was in 1960 with a program call Four Feather Falls and by the time we get to The Secret Service in 1969, the Supermarionation process was quite refined. The original supermarionated (if that is even a word) figure is, to me, was almost grotesque and creepy. They have big bulge eyes and over exaggerated features. The general reason for this is that the apparatus in the head that automatically opens the figure’s mouth to sync up with the pre-recorded dialogue was in its infancy and was quite large. By the time Gerry Anderson, or more accurately Century 21 productions, made The Secret Service the apparatus in the marionettes head was small enough to make the head be in scale with the rest of the body. This is one of the things which make watching The Secret Service so appealing is the miniatures of the cast and sets with all of its minute detail.

This DVD set has been in my library for some time but I never really got around to watching it. So as this was pulled from the mysterious envelope as the program I would be watching this week, I decided to look at the first two episodes.

A Case for the Bishop
Basically, this is what the Secret Service is about: the series followed the adventures of Father Stanley Unwin, a priest who moonlights as a secret agent for an organization called B.I.S.H.O.P. (British Intelligence Service Headquarters, Operation Priest). Answering to a man known as "The Bishop", Unwin is partnered with Matthew Harding, who works as his gardener as cover for his espionage work (Wikipedia.2007). The first episode is about the the Healy KX20 mini computer being stolen from the UK government by Dreisenberg agents. Father Unwin is called into action to get it back with the help of Mathew. To be honest, this was a disapointing first episode for me. One of the hallmarks of a Gerry Anderson series is that sometimes when a character needs to switch a light on or is trying to open a door, we will see a shot of a real hand up close doing those things. As my wife and I call it, a “Real Hand Alert” because it is so intrusive to what we were just watching. It’s actually kind of charming and I understand the reasons for doing it. In the case of this episode of The Secret Service, this use of real people for certain shots go well beyond just a hand on the screen. I would say about 20% of the episode was real people walking around, lots of close ups of hands, and real buildings. Real cars drive up and down real streets as well as real airplanes are in the…er…..real air. My thought, as I was watching it, was why bother with the marionettes? You might as well just make a TV series with live action people. Well, Gerry did do just that later that year with UFO but that’s another story. The plot for this episode was uneventful and was not as interesting as I had hoped. I was not interest in what the Dreisenberg agents stole and by the time they were trying to escape, I was hoping they would just so the episode would end. As that episode ended, I was a little concerned about watching the second one.

A Question of Miracles
Rule #1 in a Gerry Anderson production: if there is a cool looking model of an airplane, building or whatever, you should expect it to blow up with a lot of flames. Derek Meddings who had been responsible for all the minature buildings and special effects since the earliest of Gerry Anderson productions, had a staff who build some incredible miniatures. With each series they would get better and more detailed. This episode starts off with a shot of a British-designed desalination plant that explodes after 250 hours of operation. Is it a faulty design or is it sabotage? Father Unwin is brought in to figure out what is going on. It is clear that these episodes follow a certain structure. Part of this structure is that Father Unwin needs to rendezvous with Mathew at some point in the episode but ends up getting delayed by someone trying to talk with the priest. In the first episode it was a policeman and in the second it is someone who liked Unwin’s car. The Father then starts speaking in gibberish to confuse the person he is talking with to the point where the other person just gives up. This is known as Unwinese. Father Unwin was played or rather voiced by Comedian Stanley Unwin. Part of his act was this form of speaking which is called Unwinese. Apparently, it was popular when he did it; it annoyed me. It also annoyed Lew Grade from ITC who thought Unwin’s language would not work for American audiences to whom he was trying to sell the program. Grade cancelled it. Only 13 episodes were made of The Secret Service. I personally found the second episode to be much better than the first. As with most of the Supermarionation series I have seen, there is not a defined first episode in terms of introductions of character, situation or anything like that. You could generally run the fifteenth episode in place of the first and no one would who had not seen the program before would be the wiser. Therefore, I think this episode would have been a better first episode. To start with, there is more Supermarionation and less shots of live action people. Also, the plot is more interesting and has some fun plot devices. For example, an agent is sent to the desalination plant just as a device in Father Unwin’s plan to allow the Father access to the plant without blowing his cover. It’s ingenious, far-fetched, and fun all at the same time. Actually, I think that sums up Supermarionation perfectly.
I viewed these episodes from the A&E NTSC R1 DVD set that was released in 2003. I personally have enjoyed the quality of the all of the Gerry Anderson releases. The film looks in good condition and the sound is crisp. I know that The Thunderbirds have been released on Blue-Ray in the UK but I am not on the HD bandwagon yet. I have an HD TV but do not plan to get Blue-Ray for some time.
Next week: Frankenstein (1931) Universal. Sourced from the Legacy Collection DVD set.
If you want to know more about The Secret Service, check out these links:

It's Been A While...

So, it has been over a year since I made my welcome post explaining all the exciting things I was going to do with this blog. As you can imagine, it was going to be amazing. Well, as you can see nothing happened with it over the last year and a half. Luckily, I do not have anyone who even knows this blog exists or I may be in danger of having someone read it. Over the past few years, I have been back in school. First getting my bachelors degree and going onto my masters.
Although I may not have written in this blog, I had been doing what this blog was all about. Dipping into my library of television and films and watching the really cool stuff. Over the last year, I have been watching stuff such as I Claudius, Sapphire and Steel, Hancock’s Half Hour, The Quatermass Experiment and As Time Goes By. Well I did say it was random!
Although this blog may be me just writing to myself, I am going to try and update it on a regular basis. I want to practice writing and share my passion and enjoyment of the stuff I have in my library. This blog journey starts with the Gerry Anderson production, The Secret Service.