Eve Of The War

Obscure U.S. television shows from the Eighties.
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Author:  uber Fenris [ Sun Mar 12, 2006 1:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Obscure U.S. television shows from the Eighties.

The Eighties was a bit of desert as far as genre TV was concerned. Here in the UK we had the Davison/Colin Baker/McCoy years of Doctor Who, but across the pond, all they had in the first half of the decade were various 'crimefighter with a compuerized gimmick' shows: Blue Thunder, Automan, Knight Rider, Airwolf, Street Hawk, The Highwayman, etc. Most of these were produced by Glen A. Larson, and those that weren't might as well have been.

Amongst all these hi-tech shenanigans, Manimal - a show about a crimefighter with a non-computerised gimmick - managed to briefly raise it's head. It was a Larson production, ironically.

And that was pretty much it, until the latter years of the decade, when Paramount single-handedly relaunched US fantasy television by producing Star Trek: Next Generation, War of the Worlds and Friday the 13th: the Series.

However, there were four other U.S. series in the Eighties, all short-lived, which are almost totally forgotten now. Intriguing, all concerned paranormal investigators - a sub-genre which had first appeared in the Seventies with The Sixth Sense, Kolchak: the Night Stalker and Project UFO, and would receive a massive surge in popularity a few years hence, due to The X Files. These shows were;

Shadow Chasers. Dennis Dugan and Trevor Eve (yes, that Trevor Eve) respectively played a tabloid journalist and a college academic, who - at the suggestion of the latter's departmental head (Nina Foch) - teamed up to investigate hauntings. Lasted 13 episodes, some of which hadn't been aired when the axe fell.

Probe. Former Hardy Boy and future Baywatch trunks-wearer Parker Stevenson played a young & eccentric genius inventor, who - aided by his secretary (Ashley Crow) - investigated the paranormal. Seven episodes. Scuppered by writers' strike.

Something is Out There. Spin-off from a popular two part miniseries. LA cop Jack Breslin (Joe Cortese) secretly sheltered a humanoid alien named Ta'ra (Bond babe Maryam D'Ado) who was stranded on Earth, and in return for his help she assisted him in investigating strange and unusual crimes. Lasted eight episodes.

Unsub. It stands for 'Unknown Subject,' and this series was about a Justice Department task-force led by David Soul, which specialised in tracking down serial killers. Other regular cast members included Galactica 80's Kent McCord and Jennifer Hetrick (Vash in Next Gen). At first glance this appears to be a mainstream cop/detective show, but it could be considered a borderline genre entry: by all accounts it was a dark and very creepy series, and one of the team members was a psychic. Lasted eight episodes.

Of the above four shows, I believe only Something is Out There has been screened in the UK (Sky showed it in late 1991). Has anyone seen any of the other three series? If so, what did you think of them?

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:01 pm ]
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I've never heard of any of them. They couldn't have been that good as they were so short lived, WOTWs was crap but even it made it to a second series.

Author:  Loz [ Sun Mar 19, 2006 8:15 pm ]
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Never heard of them.

Author:  Divine [ Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:57 pm ]
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I've been trying to find a series from the late 70's for a while, wonder if you guys can shed any light on it?
I think it probably aired around 78. All I remember is some alien (monster, thing) stalking people. Whenever the camera showed the scene from the perspective of the 'alien' it was always through a red filter. I never actually saw the creature, so it could have been anything potentially.
I recently 'endured' watching Ray Bradbury's 'The Martian Chronicles' thinking that could have been it, to no avail.

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:08 pm ]
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It doesn't ring any bell, was it an American or a British show?

Author:  Divine [ Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:57 pm ]
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I'm really not sure. I can't remember anything but the 'Red Filter.' I've searched the internet for references, even on cult TV sites but always turned up a blank :?

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:14 am ]
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Do you remember roughly what time of day it was televised? before or after the watershed? :-k

Author:  Divine [ Tue Jun 17, 2008 3:27 pm ]
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Probably before the watershed. It's one of those really hazy old memories, For some reason I've always related 'Points Of View' :D (with Barry Took) with it. Whether it was shown shortly before, after or parallel on another channel I'm not sure.
I hope it wasn't my imagination, it was the 70's afterall :?

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:26 pm ]
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Really we need more information, was it a sci/fi or a horror? was it set on Earth? can you remember anything more about the series?
Could it be something like 'Hammer House of Horror' or a rerun of 'The Twilight Zone' or 'The Outer Limits'? although I think most of those were filmed in black & white so no red filters.
If you relate it with 'Points Of View' and Barry Took that would suggest the BBC.
:-k I shall give it some more thought. :-k

Author:  Divine [ Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:08 pm ]
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Yeah, that's all I can remember. I tend to think it was Sci-Fi of some description but I'm not certain. Definately not Hammer House Of Horror, I've seen them all recently. Twighlight Zone/Outer Limits are possibilities though. I'm thinking more along the lines of The Tomorrow People, there was one called Doomwatch too I think. Realistically I suppose it could have even been a Doctor Who episode.
I'm kinda relying on the 'red filter' comment jogging someone's memory. It's a very vivid image I have for something I saw briefly, possibly amost 30 years ago.
I may have another look around some Cult TV sites.

Author:  Loz [ Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:40 pm ]
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Too little info I'm afraid. In the second to last Tom baker Doctor Who story - The Keeper of Traken, the Master was inside a Tardis that looked like a petrified monster. Any evil creature that landed on Traken petrified. So the Master disguised his Tardis as such. It had a red glowing eye visor and when the Master looked out from within, it was red. Maybe this is it. however that is 1981.


Author:  craigr [ Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:52 am ]
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Hey, I remember Probe. It was actually kind of entertaining, the one episode I actually saw. A friend of mine saw the whole series and enjoyed it.
Unsub was from the 80's? I'd heard of it but never saw it & thought it was a 70's cop show.

As for the 'red-filter monster' show, might it have been an episode of Night Gallery? Similar to Twighlight Zone, I guess, though it's from the 70's.

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