"The Professionals remade by the producers of Inspector Morse. Excited yet?"
A year ago, that's how I would have started this Lost Gem for Saracen, a 1989 show which never got repeated, released on DVD, uploaded to YouTube or made available to the public in any way since its first broadcast nearly 21 years ago*.
Saracen, launched on the back of a pilot movie the previous year called The Zero Option, centred around the operatives of Saracen Systems, a private security company that exclusively hires ex-special forces soldiers for its protection work around the world.
Starring British actor Christian Burgess and American actor Patrick James Clarke as the ex-SAS David Barber and the ex-Delta Tom Duffy (B&D - Bodie and Doyle anyone?), it was an action-packed but thoughtful show that looked at geopolitical issues, the morality of various industries (including the security and weapons businesses) and the armed forces.
And I remembered it as being a bit dull, honestly. It has great music by Barrington Pheloung (Inspector Morse) and I had it on VHS for a long time, but I ditched my copies in the mid 90s on the general grounds that it wasn't all that.
But Network DVD are nice enough to be releasing all 13 episodes and the pilot movie on DVD on Monday and in a nice reversal of the usual "memory cheats" syndrome (that is, you remember something from when you were younger as being good but it turns out when you re-watch it that it's rubbish), Saracen turns out to be actually a very good show indeed that my poor little 17-year-old brain couldn't take. It takes a little time to find its feet and work out how to balance smartness and action, but it does manage it.
It also help that Ingrid Lacey from Drop the Dead Donkey is in it.
Here's the introduction from the first four episodes that explains the set-up, together with a bit of action from the first episode. I've also added for nostalgia freaks a trailer with the series highlights that originally aired on ITV back in the day that I've been saving up for over a year - that's how far in advance I prepare some of these things. Impressed much? Thought not.