Friday, May 13, 2011

Cosmos - A Tribute to Carl Sagan

Do you remember the classic television programme, Cosmos? It ran in the 1980s, and had a huge impact on the imagination of many, myself included.

It was a TV series that was monumental in its scope, emotional in its descriptions, unforgettable in its depiction of our Universe.

The television series, and in particular, its presenter, Carl Sagan , astronomer, astrophsysicist and Professor at Cornell University at the time, was instrumental in inspiring countless people of different generations throughout the world.

My all time favourite movie, Contact, was written and co- produced by Carl Sagan. Unfortunately he died just before the movie was due to be released, never having seen the movie. The movie was dedicated to him.

Many astronomers and astrophsyicists today have also stated Professor Carl Sagan as being influential in their career, including Professor Stephen Hawking and Professor Brian Cox.

I recently attended Uncaged Monkeys a very enjoyable night of science and intelligent humour (though anyone from Norfolk may not have found it quite as funny, with references to N.F.N. appearing during Adam Rutherford's part). It ended with a clip that I have included below. Known as the Pale Blue Dot, it was a photograph requested by Carl Sagan, taken by Voyager 1 at the end of its mission.

In the great man's words:

"The spacecraft was a long way from home. I thought it would be a good idea, just after Saturn, to have them take one last glance homeward. From Saturn, the Earth would appear too small for Voyager to make out any detail. Our planet would be just a point of light, a lonely pixel hardly distinguishable from the other points of light Voyager would see: nearby planets, far off suns. But precisely because of the obscurity of our world thus revealed, such a picture might be worth having."

"It had been well understood by the scientists and philosophers of classical antiquity that the Earth was a mere point in a vast, encompassing cosmos -- but no one had ever seen it as such. Here was our first chance, and perhaps also our last."  Thanks to torbad for this quote.

And here is the Pale Blue Dot clip, I hope Carl Sagan inspires and moves you as he did me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Memorable TV catch phrases - do you remember these?

Picture from :
I was reminiscing with friends today, discussing memorable phrases on classic TV programmes. It's amazing what people remember, programmes and linesI had forgotten about completely but as soon as I heard them, it all came flooding back.

Below were the most memorable ones we came up with, can you think of any others?

1. A-Team- “I pity the fool”/ “I love it when a plan comes together"
2. Different Strokes - “Whach you talkin about Willis?”
3. Hawaii Five-0 - “Book ‘em Danno”
4. Star Trek (original) - “Beam me up Scottie”/ “Live long and prosper”
5. Star Trek Next Generation- “Make it so”/ “Engage”
6. Happy Days – “Aaaaay...”
7. X files – “Trust no one”
8. Kojak, "Who loves you, baby?"
9. Get Smart – “Smart thinking 99”
10. Welcome back, Kotter - "Up your nose with a rubber hose"
11. The Waltons - "Good night, John boy"
12. Fat Albert – “Hey hey hey its Fat Albert”
13. Scooby Doo – “If it wasn’t for those pesky kids”
14. Columbo - "Just one more thing ..."
15. Play Your Cards Right - "Nice to see you , to see you nice"
16. Blackadder- "I have a cunning plan"
17. ‘Allo ‘Allo- “I shall say this only once”/ “'Tis I, Leclair”
18. Lone Ranger- "Hi ho Silver, away!"
19. Wonder Twins- “Wonder twin powers, activate!”
20. Fantasy Island – “It’s de plane boss, de plane”

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Classic Television Memories

Memories of my childhood are often peppered with what are now considered classic television programmes. There are many experiences where I can recall in some form or other an association with a television programme I loved or disliked. Many people I talk to often remark on the same thing, though sometimes the stories we swap, and in particular, the TV shows we reminisce on are different. Mainly that is because I grew up in Australia but now live in the UK, where most of my friends live. Australian TV scheduling was, and I think still is, far more American than UK TV.

For example, one of my first great TV programme memories was The Love Boat. I haven't met anyone yet in the UK that remembers or watched the Love Boat. Cheesy the programme was, it's true, but a pivotal point in my growing up. It was always shown at 7.30pm, half an hour after my bed time. I still remember the first time I was allowed to stay up to watch it. I felt so grown up. The next day I went to school and recounted the adventures of Denise, Captain Stubbing, Isaac and Vicky. My firends thought I was so cool because I was the first of my group to be allowed to stay up that late.

Knight Rider ushered in my love of cars and appealed to my sense of fantasy and adventure. Unfortunately, yes, I confess, I also had a childhood crush on David Hasselhoff - shh! Don't tell anyone!

Science fiction became a new love of mine with the introduction of Buck Rogers in the 25th century and Battlestar Galactica, 1999 and of course, Star Trek, (The Original,  TNG and DS9) , all watched avidly with my sister. This was the time when I began collecting memorabilia- particularly Star Trek. Yes I became a Trekkie, without the costume! I was even dreaming about attending the Star Trek conventions in the States ( I was only young!) and collected every ST episode on video, which you can now buy on DVD from just about any online retailer such as Play, Amazon, ebay and more. I notice that they also have a huge selection of t-shirts, games, books, phasers and other memorabilia.
So what are your greatest TV memories?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The return of the classic TV programme

Has anyone noticed the sudden rise of the classic TV remake on television?

Recently TV is full of classic television programmes that either I loved as a child, have missed considerably or I recall being huge when I was a child but was too young to watch or understand. Television programmes that reached cult status in their hey day now find themselves resurrected in a new form, to fill the void of original and exciting new ideas that TV and film producers seem to be experiencing. Some modern attempts have been more successful than others. TV shows such as The Prisoner, Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, The Fugitive, Beverly Hills 90210, Battlestar Galactica, V, Knight Rider, to name but a few, have all been revised and televised.

Take the classic TV programme Hawaii Five-0 for instance. An American cop show that was a huge hit when I was a child growing up in Australia. According to IMDb,  the original and absolute classic TV series, Hawaii Five-0, ran from 1968 to 1980. I remember watching it when very young, and every time the theme tune began, I would get up and dance to it, pretending to row in a Hawaiian canoe and catch a wave on a pretend surfboard, while the classic theme tune played in the background. It was so influential when we were growing up that when my sister and I went on our first holiday together without the parents, it was to the golden sands of Hawaii we headed, because it was our idea of the perfect tropical, laid back holiday destination, thanks in part to the role the TV show played. Once there we couldn't help crying "Book 'em Danno!" - three words made immortal by Hawaii Five-0 - whenever we felt it appropriate. Always followed by peals of laughter. Tourists!

In fact this TV programme was so massively popular that the theme tune is still recognisable today, even by those who have never seen the show; some of the most recent generation don't even realise its a theme tune for a television series. If you, like me, have fond memories of the series and  the soundtrack, the theme tune is available now for download from places such as Amazon and iTunes. I couldn't resist and downloaded it as a ringtone for my iPhone. You can even get memorabilia and the DVDs to watch over and over again on Amazon and ebay.

Now this classic television programme has been re-made into a new, hip TV series, replete with laid back surfers, big waves, golden beaches, Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Laughlin) and Danny 'Danno' Williams (Scott Caan). The main difference that immediately springs to mind is that some of the roles are now played by women - a positive change. Particularly the Governor and Kono.

I watched the pilot with some trepidation - remakes are often poor imitations of the original (for example, The Prisoner and Bionic Woman), but this one brought back all the old excitement I felt as a child. They kept true to the original classic theme tune (though according to IMDb it was almost changed until the makers saw the light), and in a fit of giggles, I found myself doing the same childhood dance with the mock rowing, surfing and hip wiggles, much to my husband's amusement.

It was good to see Grace Park taking on a prominent role as Kono, originally played by Zulu. I am not sure what Five-0 purists would think to that however. Interestingly, Grace also played a role in another TV re-make, Battlestar Galactica, and here too she also played a role that was originally filled by a man.
The Hawaii Five-0 remake has been a hit with many who originally watched the classic television programme, and it warms the heart to think that there may be a whole new generation of people that will love it as I loved the original.

The cult Hawaii Five-0 lasted twelve years. That is a long, distinguished TV career. Will the re-make, originally intended to be a sequel rather than a re-make, do the same?

Have you seen the classic programme? Perhaps you have seen the modern remake? If you haven't had a chance yet, it is shown on Sky One on Sundays at 9pm in the UK and you can watch trailers on the CBS website or IMDb, and of course, YouTube, like the one I have shared with you here. I would love to hear what you think on the whole topic of re-making classic television programmes - successful or not?