Sunday, July 15, 2012

Otherworld (1985)

I have the vaguest memory of this show from when I was a kid.  I thought it sucked because it was a family show & I wanted my sci-fi pretty freaking dark (I was 9, so I’d already seen Road Warrior & Dawn of the Dead).  I don’t know if the rest of America changed the channel for the same reason, but this show was gone pretty quickly.

As an adult, I’m slightly better about mixing genres like sci-fi & comedy & family so I decided to give this show a chance.  This show has some ideas going on.  There’s a family that gets sucked into a vortex & then they are wandering on an alien planet where things are almost normal but not quite, so basically it’s Sliders only with a family.  Every episode seems to be warning against some form of fascism &/or slavery, which is kind of interesting I guess?  I do like that in the episode with androids, mining robots designed themselves into androids with human-like social structure to occupy their downtime to alleviate boredom.  But in general the things that are supposed to be shocking with social commentary are just boring.  Like the state church oppressing rock music (which is the two teenagers covering The Beatles & The Rolling Stones), even at the height of all the Tipper Gore stuff I don’t think it was taken seriously.  But then again I remember around this time a friend of my mom banning her kids from listening to Led Zeppelin because they were satanic (meanwhile my brother blasted Black Sabbath & Judas Priest, shaking the wall between his bedroom & the kitchen in his attempt at teen rebellion that was acceptable behavior in our household), so maybe it was a thing back then.  I don’t know, my mom likes Danzig & Joy Division & I remember one time driving up to Pennsylvania with her listening to Nuclear Assault’s The Plague on repeat for six hours.  I guess kids want to rebel & squashing music is just a metaphor for squashing sex & drugs & poorly thought out ideals.  Maybe it is more interesting if I really try to make it interesting.  There are also a drug episode & a women enslaving men episode & a wealthy enslaving the working class episode & a beauty & the beast episode.  I think the eight episodes made is just about the right number as all of the characters are pretty generic 1980s family straight out of Charles in Charge with no real development.

I do find some of the actors interesting....
The teenage boy is played by Tony O’Dell who went on a few years later to still play a teen (at nearly 30) as the preppy kid that always wore sweater vests in Head of the Class.
Jonathan Banks (Mike from Breaking Bad) plays a fascistic military leader & is probably the most interesting character on here.  He appears in pretty much all of the episodes as a semi-generic number one bad guy.
In one episode Carolyn Seymour from Survivors is on & is kind of awesome & I wonder how she didn’t become a well known character actress.  I recently found out she went on to be a Romulan on some Star Trek thing.
& check out these bad ass clear cymbals from the rock & roll episode.  Did they really make these things?


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