When I was very young, I'd sometimes hear the others in my family talking about a long departed show called Man From Atlantis. It sounded tailor-made for me - a man who breathes underwater! Undersea adventures! Action, adventure and the ocean. It couldn't very well have been more perfect. And then, some thirty-plus years on, I finally got to see it. And it was awful. Not entertainingly awful - not even amusingly awful. Just awful. Lesson learned.
When I first got on the internet, there was a TV series that I'd sometimes hear America talking about: Counterstrike, a spy drama starring Christopher Plummer and Simon MacCorkindale. Simon MacCorkindale! As a fan of the long defunct Manimal, this seemed like a very good prospect. Didn't seem likely that I'd ever get to see it though. And then, a couple of days ago, I found it on YouTube. And, yes, it's terrible. Not the fault of Christopher Plummer or Simon Mac - they're doing the best they can with it. But everybody else in the cast? And the writers? And the directors? Oh boy. Lesson, once again, learned.
It's not going to go into the long term memory though, let's face it. Somehow these things never do.
In other news, I was given a 1978 Battlestar Galactica annual for Christmas, which I've just got around to reading (I wanted to finish something else first). It's in the finest annual tradition of having an appalling grasp of the premise and characters of the TV show, and the artwork borders on hilarious - but Battlestar Galactica! The annual! It made me smile throughout. I particularly like the fabulously jolly interview with Lorne Greene, that suggests BSG might last as long as Bonanza did, and be his next big hit. Hmm. Bonanza ran for fourteen seasons. Battlestar Galactica... didn't. But it was nice of them to try. The stories in the annual have some of the best titles ever, clearly written by writers who got a bit carried away with the whole SF thing. Presumably they usually had to write stories for Grange Hill or The Waltons or something. Amazons Of Space!; Chess-Players Of Space!; Hijack In Space!. When in doubt, always stick "Of/In Space!" at the end of your title. You'll be amazed at what a difference it makes. It's a bit sad actually, when they talk to the various stars about their hopes for the future. Everybody seems all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and sure that this is their great stepping-stone to wonderful things. Yeah. Don't hold your breath, guys. The only one whose long-term plan turned out the way he'd hoped was Dirk Benedict, who said that he'd like to act for a few years, then slip away into relative anonymity, live in the middle of nowhere, and write. Which is precisely what happened. Lucky sod!
And speaking of actors who write, in other other news, I've just started reading a book called Once A Crooked Man, by David McCallum (mostly because Amazon were selling it for two quid on Kindle. Sorry Illya, but I can't afford costly book experiments!) I wasn't sure about it at first, as it had a slightly rocky beginning, but the Kindle tells me I'm 25% in now, and I'm enjoying it. It relies very much on people doing things that they probably wouldn't in the real world (the whole story is basically the hero doing this), but it's engaging enough, and I like the scene setting. Some of the prose is a bit clumsy here and there (first book-itis - it's largely inescapable), but the descriptive passages are nicely done, the plot seems strong, and the characters are well drawn. I quite recommend it, if you're in the mood for a contemporary thriller. Mind you, I am only 25% in, so it could all go wrong yet.
(Sorry. I think Counterstrike just murdered my optimism).