swordznsorcery: (tardis)
( Dec. 1st, 2015 21:08)
1984 was a pretty sucky year, for reasons that I'm not going into. Partly because it was miserable, and partly because I'd get shot if anybody found out I'd been posting about it! But it's not a year that I remember especially fondly. Still some good stuff though. For instance - Manimal! Only eight episodes. There should have been so many more. We also got Blue Thunder that year (cops in a helicopter); Airwolf (vigilantes in a helicopter); and Matt Houston (rich playboy PI with a helicopter). Clearly 1984 was the year of the helicopter. British TV didn't do too badly that year either, although the budgets rarely extended to helicopters. The Bill and Casualty both started that year. Both went on far, far too long, and became ghastly parodies of themselves, but they were both excellent to begin with. Dempsey & Makepeace started, and so did Robin Of Sherwood. Peter Davison ran away when we'd barely got to know his Doctor, and Rentaghost and Crackerjack both ended, probably rather later than they should have done. (And anybody who didn't just yell "Crackerjack!" is being glared at. Just so you know). How did I manage to do anything else, with all this telly-watching?! I think days must have been longer back then. Probably got chopped in half later by the Conservatives, to save money.

Elsewhere, 1984 was the year when my mother decided that, since I never mixed with people my own age, or spoke to anybody ever, I needed to start going to youth club. Oh joy. Consequently, for the best part of a year, I spent an hour every Friday evening in a room full of noisy people. I still didn't talk to anybody, but I suppose I was not talking to them in a different environment, which was possibly at least part of the idea? When she realised that it hadn't worked, she enrolled me in a local Evangelical Bible group instead. What the bloody hell that was supposed to accomplish, I still have no idea. A safe environment, I suppose! Given that the area's three worst problem children had been enrolled as well, presumably in a last ditch attempt to sort them out, it was an experiment quite hilariously doomed to failure. Anyway, we clapped our hands a lot, sang a lot of songs, and I didn't talk to anybody. I'm sensing a pattern. Being the only introvert in a family with seven noisy extroverts takes some careful explaining! Especially when you haven't heard of the word "introvert" yet.

Oh, 1984. You were a problem year. Perhaps that was inevitable, once George Orwell wrote that blasted book!

... )
So, I was watching the final episode of Dempsey & Makepeace, and there they are creeping about in some cellar place, all guns drawn, and in danger of being shot by the bad guy, and suddenly we get this:

And my first thought is "Don't blink!" But in actual fact she's not even looking at the thing, so blinking is the least of her concerns. Turn around, Harry! Quickly! And then, as an added bit of Whoification, the Rani was in the same episode, pretending to be a cop. She got deaded, which was a bit rubbish of her, but I'm assuming she regenerated when they weren't looking. Anyway, it wasn't a very good episode, sadly - rather an unfortunate one to end on, although I'm pretty sure they didn't know at the time that it was the last one - but you know things are bad when a supposedly exciting creep-about-in-the-dark-with-guns, is less exciting than wondering whether a statue might be an evil alien. Hey ho.

Mind you, later on they did loads of stuff filmed in the Natural History Museum, and that was lovely. They had dinosaurs and everything, including a fabulous cross-section through a giant sequoia. They didn't visit my whale though. Still, it's not often that a cop show gives you dinosaurs, so that was good.

Bye then, Dempsey and Makepeace. It's been fun. Now I shall be all Remingtonsteeley for the foreseeable future. No time-travelling alien monster statues in that, at least so far. Tom Baker, but no evil statues. I will report back if one turns up though, have no fear.
So, a mixed weekend in vintage tellyland. Remington Steele gave me an episode written by Brian Clemens, which was nice, and also an episode guest-starring Judy from Lost In Space, and that was nice too. It also had Murray from Riptide in it, and he was a million miles away from being a highly punchable irritant. That was especially nice. Then Dempsey & Makepeace let the side down by flashing Eamonn Walker at me, and then killing him off before the opening credits. I had to glare at them all most fiercely.

Anyway, just to prove once again that I can do it occasionally, I shall now proceed to talk about something that isn't television, in the form of a meme that I ganked off [livejournal.com profile] alec_towser:

1. My username is ____ because ____.
2. My journal is titled ____ because ____.
3. My subtitle is ____ because ____.
4. My friends page is called ____ because ____.
5. My default userpic is ____ because ____.

And it strikes me now that it won't work properly here at DreamWidth, because the page-naming works differently than at LiveJournal. But whatever.

1. My username is swordznsorcery, because it has been for years. Back in 1997, when I first had a webpage, I did it through Geocities, and for that you needed a username. I had always been Xenon online, but I think there was an eight letter minimum. Even if I'm remembering that wrong, somebody else was sure to have already used Xenon. It was a huge, huge community, and I spent ages desperately trying to think of something that hadn't already been used by somebody else! And then eventually came up with this.

2. My journal is titled Xenon's Seventh Circle because, around about the time I joined LJ, there was a meme going around where you answered a bunch of questions to find out which of Dante's circles of hell you belonged in. I belong in the seventh circle, apparently. That's nearly all the way in! Yay me!

3. My subtitle is Light Years Away From The Morning because why not really, I suppose. It's a line from a song I wrote about nine million years ago, and it just kind of goes with... stuff. I don't know, it was probably five o'clock in the morning.

4. My friends page is called Whispers Of An Elsewhere, because I was being highly melodramatic when I named it. It's a line from a song I wrote years ago, and again, it seemed reasonably appropriate. Ish. I was probably in a mood at the time.

5. My default userpic is an icon that, again, stems from my website. It's an alien surrounded by various stars, and I guess represents Xenon. There's also a red ribbon on there of course. It's my logo, of sorts, and has been since, if not quite the nineties, then not far off.

There you go. Several paragraphs, television free! Be impressed. :)
No, not a crossover, sadly. That would probably have been rather fun. Just witless rambling as I continue my rewatch of both. The guest stars continue to be good. David Warner turned up in Remington Steele, which was nice (as a bad guy - now there's a surprise!). And then Paul Reiser! At his youngest and fluffiest, making him the single most obvious red herring ever in a whodunnit. And Dempsey & Makepeace continues to be filled with a barrage of old British TV faces - and then, in the final episode of series one: jackpot! I knew he was in there somewhere; I just couldn't remember which episode it was. Towards the end of the episode, leaping out of a window and smashing up automobiles, as is his wont, whilst sporting some alarmingly yellow hair. Tip Tipping! Look look look!

More beneath )
Sloe gin update! My mother has finally opened her percolating bottle of sloe gin (bottled up some time in mid-November). It's a lovely colour, rather akin to translucent blood. Very thick and slightly gloopy - it's a bit like drinking cough syrup! Too sweet for me, but she seems very pleased with it, which is good. So I can't personally recommend it, but it certainly looks like she would. Two months of brewing was what the recipe she was following called for, and I guess it got a week or so more than that, but I doubt it wanted much less. Apparently it took the sugar a very long time to completely dissolve.

And from thence to telly, 1980s style. I need to start watching Dempsey & Makepeace in order. Between series two and three, Spikings seems to have lost half his body weight, and it's a bit odd jumping about from year to year. It makes him look like an inflatable doll with a valve problem. Also series one is noticeably more serious than the other two, at least to begin with, which causes a bit of a clash of styles. So bizarre to hear Dempsey announce in episode #2 that he doesn't approve of female police officers! That is not the Dempsey even of later in series one, let alone the years that followed. Still, I'm having great fun with it. Aside from a veritable who's who of stuntmen, so far there's been Suzi Quatro and Elizabeth Sladen in the same episode, and both Travises in adjacent ones (though backwards). Also Michael Cashman, although I appreciate that I'm in a fan club of one there. And through it all, Dempsey and Makepeace themselves being utterly splendid. And shooting practically everything. :)

I've been enjoying it all so much that I've also dug out my Remington Steele DVDs. Eighties detectives, hurrah! Steele is one of my all time favourite characters, and I've left it far too long between viewings. Like Dempsey & Makepeace, Remington Steele hasn't aged a day (except for Pierce Brosnan's sometimes rather alarming hair. On occasions it's like some gigantic, lacquered crash helmet), and I really can't recommend it highly enough. I chose an episode completely at random to watch, and it gave me unexpected Julian Glover, which was nice. Also Angharad Rees, but she's not quite as exciting (to me anyway). And then a second episode, which was again chosen completely at random, guest-starred Tom Baker! I had completely forgotten all of this, so clearly it's more than ripe for a rewatch. I'm a bit wary of spending too much time in the eighties, in case I end up with gigantic hair, but I'm doing okay so far. I would argue that a sprinkling of modern TV might serve as something of an antidote there, but neither Sleepy Hollow nor The Musketeers is likely to be of much help. I am surrounded by overly-energetic hair. This could get dangerous, people. Stay alert, I may need help.
The opening credits for series three of Dempsey & Makepeace have lost the bit where the sword goes through the door. Heartbreak! Less swords is never a good thing, people. Yes, I appreciate that nobody but me cares, but still. However, the real reason for posting - episode 3x05, "Extreme Prejudice". Look look look! (Beneath a cut for maximum drama, even though, again, almost nobody will care).

Dramatic cutty thing )
So, today marks the 30th anniversary of the debut on British screens of Dempsey & Makepeace, the gloriously 'splody TV series starring Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber. To celebrate, I have been watching things blow up all evening. Not the debut episode, as I couldn't find the series one boxset, so I had to make do with series two (aw, shame). Which was nice, as it turned out, as I got unexpected Tom Georgeson, a pleasant surprise following my recent Between The Lines rewatch. Also Tom Kelly, ill-fated wannabe member of Blake's Five-and-two-fifths (the one who got shavingcreamed). So that was nice too. Anyway, to ensure that the rest of the world (ha) gets to celebrate more appropriately, here is the pilot movie. Things go boom! Hurrah.

Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary back in November. That's not quite as much fun, perhaps, but it does make rather a nice ending to it all.

PS: Boom!

PPS: Handy playlist!
Day fifteen, your favourite female character. Hmm. That's not an easy question. I don't know if it's a common problem with television in general, or just the shows that I watch, but it does seem that television isn't very good at women. Either they don't bother with them to begin with, or they have them, but ignore them. Or kill them. Or sack them for not being men. Or combinations of the above. So whereas with the guys I was spoilt for choice, with the women... not so much. Not that there aren't good ones, obviously. Victoria from The High Chaparral was awesome, although admittedly she did have to stay at home a lot and let the men have most of the fun. Blake's 7 had some great female characters, although admittedly, of the four of them, only Dayna was ever actually allowed to do anything. Buffy and Angel had a lot of really good female characters between them, although admittedly they seemed to share an alarmingly limited lifespan. Babylon 5 had Ivanova, but I can't choose her on principle, because she ran away and cost us Marcus. So it was going to be a two horse race between Delenn from B5, and CJ from The West Wing. And then I remembered somebody very special.

Back in the eighties, it largely sucked to be female and on the telly. You were mostly there to be rescued by men, or to get dressed up nicely and go out to dinner. Or die on Tenko. But then, suddenly, there was Harriet Makepeace. Dempsey & Makepeace was Britain's answer to American cop shows. It was unutterably ridiculous, and featured fleets of cars smashing into things, frequently whilst airborne; more guns than all other British TV shows combined; and more explosions than was even nearly sensible. (I loved it). And whilst Dempsey did probably win the Blowing Things Up award, Makepeace did a brilliant job of keeping pace. And she fought with swords. Not often, I'll grant you, but a lot more often than the average British police officer manages (or the average female TV character, for that matter). In a world where female characters mostly stood back and let the men have the fun, she wasn't so much a breath of fresh air as a wildly energetic hurricane. So I choose Makepeace. With the obvious exception of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, it's insanely hard to think of another action show with a woman who gets as stuck into the fights and stuff as much as she did. That's really rather sad.



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