I’ve been getting all nostalgic again. Trying to think back to those serialised shows that actually made it big. The list, especially those from the US, is actually pretty short.
But lets be clear about this. I’m not talking about Star Trek were each episode is a boxed story in itself. I’m also not talking about the X-Files either, that did have some concurrent plot, but nothing you’d call a serial. So here’s my list… while I’m in a list mood.
Murder One was created by Stephen (Hill Street Blues) Bochco and was something of a departure for US television in the mid 90’s.
Ted Hoffman defends Neil Avedon in a murder trial with more twists than a roller-coaster at Alton Towers (US readers should think Six Flags). This show lasted seventeen years (or so it seemed) but ended in something of a damp squib.
After so many weeks of shocking revelations, disturbing disclosures and obsessive obfuscation, it was always going to disappoint. I think the butler did it. Or something along those lines.
Need I say more? If so… what would I say? David Lynch’s (with others) seminal part-surreal, police investigation cum domestic drama from the 90’s surpassed all with it’s “What the bloody hell is going on?” factor.
Laura Palmer’s body washes up on a beach near a small Washington state town of Twin Peaks and FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper is called in to investigate her strange demise.
That’s about all you can say without going into the other elements; people in woods behind red curtains talking backwards, women carrying logs as children, sinister native Americans and what’s all that about the owls!?
Frequently bizarre and with the odd arresting visuals this series had audiences split right down the middle. Is it brilliant or bonkers. Or in my mind, both.
Partly inspired by his own car accident, when he was hit by a truck whilst jogging, Steven King’s Kingdom Hospital crosses both supernatural, psychological and Khafka-esk realms in a what was the most original and outstanding television programs in a decade.
It was of course a Dutch TV miniseries called Regit (aka The Kingdom) by Lars von Trier and Morten Arnfred. King merely adapted and re-developed it for the US market. But quite a lot of the sheer lunacy managed to keep in.
What shock you most is that this series was actually only made in 2004. For some reason it seems so much older.
This 1993 series mimicked the ideas of cyberpunk author William Gibson (who also starred in this mini-series) only set them in a far more recognisable setting.
S. W. Zeat from Holland says this about Wild Palms “LA in the near future, Harry Wykoff accepts a job as presidents of a gigantic TV company. Het is confronted with a total new technology called “The New Reality” where three-dimensional TV animated pictures are projected in living rooms all around the world. Harry launches to the top of the company with his career but once there he is caught in a web of intrigues, betrayal and murder. A game of life and death begins…”
I concur, adding… if your nose bleeds and you hear church bells. It could be time to panic.
Also, it was apparently voted the forth worst US television program of all time by the ‘Broadcast’ magazine. Now, I can’t agree with that.
This list is far from over…. I just ran out of steam.
Next up I want to discuss Rubicon, Flashforward and something I’ve yet to decide 🙂