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Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


December 9, 2010

Old gems: Honey West (1965-66)/The Girl From UNCLE (1966-67)

Posted on December 9, 2010 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Honey West

The Girl From UNCLE

In a way that almost seems like I plan these things, this week we're going to explore two trends I mentioned not so long ago: "Me, too!" and "More please!"

Back in the 60s, spies were the rage in both the UK and the US. Pre-eminent on TV in the US was The Man from UNCLE, with other shows like I, Spy vying for attention. Top of the pile in the UK was The Avengers, originally starring Ian Hendry and Patrick Macnee, but soon dropping Hendry for a bevy of feminist action heroines including Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale and Diana Rigg as Emma Peel.

Of course, success breeds "Me, too!" and "More please!" and soon networks in both the UK and the US were looking to replicate the successes of these shows.

Cue the obvious Avengers/Cathy Gale knock-off, the judo-performing Honey West, and The Man From UNCLE spin-off The Girl From UNCLE and their relatively average 60s title sequences.

Continue reading "Old gems: Honey West (1965-66)/The Girl From UNCLE (1966-67)"

November 20, 2010

Review and competition: The Karate Kid (2010)

Posted on November 20, 2010 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid (2010) double play DVD and Blu-Ray boxsetStarring: Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith and Taraji P. Henson
Writers: Christopher Murphey (screenplay), Robert Mark Kamen (story)
Director: Harald Zwart
Price: £24.99 (Amazon price: £15.93)
Released: November 15th 2010

It's competition time on the blog, as it's your chance to win the remake of The Karate Kid starring Jackie Chan on Blu-Ray and DVD.

Review and competition details after the trailer.

Continue reading "Review and competition: The Karate Kid (2010)"

November 19, 2010

Old Gems: Robin of Sherwood (1984-1986)

Posted on November 19, 2010 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Robin of Sherwood

So Robin of Sherwood isn't lost - it's coming out on Blu-Ray very soon, has been available on DVD for ages, has been repeated on ITV3 ad infinitum and you can watch big chunks of it on YouTube. Neither has it a weird title sequence - it's just Robin Hood running through the woods to the immortal sounds of Clannad.

But I don't care. I loved Robin of Sherwood as a kid and I still do, so I've spent all of 10 seconds thinking really hard to come up with the new "Old Gems" category for shows that I can't even come up with a thinly veiled excuse for covering beyond the fact that I liked them.

Now, Robin Hood is one of those stories - like Sherlock Holmes - that gets remade every few years with a new spin. We've just had Russell Crowe's thinly veiled Iraq war version, and the BBC recently had a three-series, low budget, slightly rubbish version starring - among others - our very own Richard Armitage. Go back to the 50s and one of the most popular shows on TV was ITC's The Adventures of Robin Hood, which I just about remember seeing bits of at primary school, bizarrely enough (no, I'm not that old).

But back in the 80s was the version that for many people is still the definitive version - Robin of Sherwood. This took the old stories familiar to anyone who knew the legends of Robin Hood - Alan-a-Dale, the silver arrow, Maid Marion, the return of King Richard, Little John and the fight at the river, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet, Much the Miller's Son, et al - and added a couple of new sensibilities: a desire for authenticity married, paradoxically, with swords and sorcery.

But it also added a lot more: a Saracen called Nasir who integrated in so well, the makers of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves included one of their own in the movie as a result. And it also managed to include both versions of the Robin Hood myth: the Robin/Robert of Loxley myth and the Robert of Huntingdon myth, in which Robin is either a peasant who gets uppity or he's a nobleman who decides to fight for the poor. How did it do that? Simple - it killed Robin Hood.

Cue the perfectly normal title sequence and a nice big clip of John Rhys Davies as King Richard as the "Chevalier déguisé".

Continue reading "Old Gems: Robin of Sherwood (1984-1986)"

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