Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies (and/or Other A/V): LOOK AROUND YOU

We'll have some lists of other participants' entries in this roundelay tomorrow morning, but my own suggestion for you this week is a BBC parody series, modeled on the 1970s UK equivalents of 3-2-1-Contact! and Mr. Wizard, but particularly the hold-over science instruction programs that were part of the backbone of National Educational Television in the pre-PBS days here, and were similarly seen on BBC2 there.

The first season was relatively limited in format and ambition, but still quite charming (and its opening displays about as much fluency as I ever achieved in BASIC):



But the latter episodes, in 2005, expanded the concept somewhat, with a retained 1970s focus but a cast of recurring presenter characters, and simply an expanded cast:


--and running time, particular in this season-ending episode--sadly available at the moment online only with brief but repetitive ad breaks from Adult Swim, but worth wading through these.

My favorite of the British imports in the "edgy" Adult Swim British block, though I am fond of The Mighty Boosh as well.

12 comments:

K. A. Laity said...

A lot of folks who went on to better things like Peter Serafinowitz (still not as funny as he likes to think), Edgar Wright and the Spaced folks and Olivia Colman. But no comparison to the Boosh! Interesting and occasionally innovative, but the Boosh is genius. But I have a penchant for the surreal.

Todd Mason said...

As you gather, I disagree (slightly), and did so in advance...the dry wit here is at least as savage as something like BETWEEN TWO FERNS, and rarely has to raise a voice to be so, while also affectionate.

No lack of surrealism here, and a fine sense of where not to Lose the Thread.

K. A. Laity said...

I guess I like more freewheeling things. Comedy benefits from a container -- I guess I thought the container here was too much so. I also like characters and they don't really get into characters as much -- it's more "bits" than characters.

Todd Mason said...

I can definitely see what you mean about the rigidity here...but that is also part of what's necessary in this case for the parody. And the very lack of character in the presenters in the second season, except as they let slip, is likewise necessary for the parody of their targets.

Evan Lewis said...

Dry. Extra dry. And almost educational. Sometimes reminiscent of the teachings of Professor Ludwig Von Drake.

Todd Mason said...

To say nothing of SCTV, formative for me...

Todd Mason said...

Bob and Ray-esque, as well.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Good call. I think this is painfully funny. The painfull part being that it reminds me of watching the real thing in the '70s!

Todd Mason said...

Utterly charming to me, at its best. And, of course, a small bit of joy is in realizing that the film rather than video versions of this kind of instruction, at least in the States, frequently came from Crown International Pictures...they were second only to American International in the distribution of lousy biker and similar melodrama to drive-ins and grindhouses, and second only to Encyclopedia Brittanica's film unit in the number of (usually dire) "educational" and classrooms films they coughed up.

Todd Mason said...

Or, even, Britannica. Which had some dire films of its own.

Chuck Esola said...

Thanks, Todd. I've long been fascinated with Crown International for some strange reason but has no idea of their double life as a maker of educational films. I wonder if the schools that bought their short films realized they were coming from the same company that brought the world THE POM POM GIRLS and DRACULA'S DOG?

Todd Mason said...

School boards that would be upset that THE WILD REBELS came from the same folks as WHAT MAKES A GOOD PARTY (now That's a title the feature side of Crown should've utilized) could always be reassured personally by that Nice Mr. Mike Curb...

Looking forward to an Esola choice!