My son and I have started a new weekend routine: enjoying Dr Who together.
I haven’t watched the programme since the days of Colin Baker but the Saturday evening drill* is familiar: snuggle up on the sofa with snacks. Clutch each other tight when the daleks look as though they’re going to triumph. Jiggle along to the spooky theme tune, then get excited all over again at the teaser of next week’s show.
The remake of Dr Who, with today’s special effects, makes for splendid viewing. It’s also an easy win where ratings are concerned, with youngsters being coaxed into watching the show by nostalgic parents.
But why stop there?
I’ve been telling my son about some of the other old TV shows I used to watch at the weekend, when I was around his age. There are a few I think they really ought to bring back:
Ok, she dressed like the wet dream of every 16-year-old male graphic novel fan. But, underneath that nationalistic costume and push-up bra, she knew how to kick ass, deflect bullets, and beat those villains. A new, up-to-date Wonderwoman, beamed to our screens every Saturday, could be a good role model. Most fancy-dress parties we go to these days are populated by Batman, Superman or Spiderman…..and a sea of pinky froth. It seems only fair for girls to have an alternative to the Elsa dress, to make it look more realistic when they trounce the little boys in a game of tag.
Ok, I know the Hulk has already been remade into films. But the weekly show, with its haunting music and hero who drifts from place to place, has stayed with me like nothing else. Perhaps it has something to do with the pathos of David Banner’s life: he means well, but his fatal flaw (ie turning into a huge, green, angry monster with raggedy shorts, every time someone crosses him) makes him screw everything up, over and over again. At the end of every show, he has to leave – in disgrace – a place that he’d arrived at so hopefully. Sometimes he even has to bid adieu to a nice new lady, and the promise of some romantic action.
A good lesson in anger management, if ever I saw one. And in making sure your kecks are clean in case a moment of fury causes you to burst out of your clothes.
Another roving loner, only this time cute and furry. He helped the sick, needy and bereft through their times of trouble; made sure that all was well; then moved on. The Hobo would be a good companion piece to The Hulk. London the dog is the perfect cleaner-upper after The Hulk’s rampages of destruction. And the programme could be a neat way to show children that, sometimes, you can trust in the help of strangers (even the ones with big teeth and big claws….)
I was explaining this show to my son the other night. It went something like this: ‘It’s about a team of men, who drive around, fighting baddies and helping people. Hannibal is the clever one, who thinks up all the plans. BA is big and strong. He scares the baddies, and fights them. Face has very good manners; he charms people into helping them. And Murdock….errr well, he’s the silly funny one**. Every group needs a person that makes them laugh.’
This show would need an overhaul to get rid of all the racism, sexism and other drivel that peppers each show. And it could benefit from featuring female characters who weren’t covered in gloss, and plonked there just to massage Hannibal, or let Face show off his schmoozing skills.
But, as a child born in 1975, I LOVED it. Bring it back, BA Baracus.
I recently re-watched a snippet of this Japanese TV show, and found it completely baffling. Perhaps there’s something about the Chinese philosophy that gets lost in translation (or in the terrible dubbing, which I hadn’t noticed when I first watched the show).
But it was hands-down my favourite childhood show. I still have a vivid memory of sobbing inconsolably when a series came to an end. I even developed a crush on the character Pigsy for a while. Perhaps there’s something about Monkey, with his expanding stick, floating cloud-taxi and fierce chattering voice that speaks only to primary school kids. My son was hopping up and down with excitement when he watched it. Monkey….come back!
Which shows do you think ought to be brought back?
*admittedly, we’re actually watching a recorded version on Sundays, as Dr Who is screened past Austin’s bedtime. But that gives me a chance to vet the show for spookiness
** I googled The A-Team after this chat, and was reminded that Murdock was actually supposed to be a mentally ill person. I’m not quite sure what Rethink, MIND and the others would make of this portrayal. Probably nothing good. But to me, as a primary school child, he was just the jester of the bunch