"Donna, I have to hand it to you and your Grampy," Carol said. "That massive prison break went like clockwork."

"Of course it went like clockwork!" Grampy Erik said.

"No offense meant," Carol said. "It's just that you see prison breaks on TV, you read about them in the paper, and it seems like there's usually some exciting incident during the escape that raises the tension and drama."

"Not with me in charge!" Erik said, squaring his skinny shoulders beneath his brown cardigan.

Donna nodded in satisfaction as she looked around the assembled Pavilionites. They were all there – mostly the ones whose names she couldn't remember, but also a very uncertain looking Laura Cho, and Axel Platzoff who was still strapped into his Hannibal Lechter gurney, in spite of being catatonic.

"Zorbar still have doubts about Zorbar's role in whole affair," Zorbar said, adjusting his silk ballgown.

"If your plan A is good, you don't really need a plan B," Erik said. "And yet, a sensible man still has a plan B ready to go. You were plan B. If the guards had found that gun made of soap that I baked into the cake, or noticed any of those bedsheets I made out of rope, you would have had to make the warden fall in love with you, then drug him and steal the keys."

"But there several actual attractive women in our group, so why Zorbar dressed…"

"So did we get everyone?" Donna said. It was good getting the whole Pavilion together, but on the other hand she knew it would surely lead to a vast uptick in the number of rambling conversations that didn't really drive events.

Carol and Zorbar began counting everyone. It looked like it was going to take a while, because Zorbar's counting skills were a little rudimentary. But it gave Donna time to think. ...continue reading "Clocks and Boxes — Part 28: Accompli"

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We open on a shot of a cross on a hill, presumably swiped from an old biblical movie. We move on to crowds lining up to see the shroud itself. But, surprisingly, we're also introduced to a 'young skeptic' who has a non-miraculous theory on the shroud.

In Search of S04E07 The Shroud of Turin
This is an actual screenshot of this episode, presented without any editing on my part.

There's some quite interesting footage of the carnival atmosphere outside of Turin cathedral. Nimoy compares people buying religious souveneirs to medaeval pilgrims. Then we look at the shroud itself, looming up out of darkness into closeup. Nimoy's beautiful narration carries this part, as the shroud itself is visually kind of unimpressive.

We interview the Rev Francis Philas (sp?) an American Catholic theologian. He talks with great enthusiasm about the shroud, and how it looks so much better in person and from a distance than you do from up close. If true, this explains a lot of the rather unimpressive shots of the shroud. Francis was part of a team that examined the shroud, subjecting it to 'many tests'. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S04E07 The Shroud of Turin"

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We open on a reenactmentpolooza as a bunch of people dressed Elizabethan-era English colonists do old timey chores. It's the Lost Colony of Roanoke, a genuine historical! Just how did a settlement of woefully underpre

The Lost Colony of Roanoke In Search Of s04e06
The Colony Gets Lost

pared people with little support from their government fail to flourish?

No seriously, it's a mystery. There were so many ways it could have gone wrong, so which one was it? ...continue reading "In Search Of… S04E06 The Lost Colony of Roanoke"

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We open on a) music with a driving rhythm and b) frikkin' sharks. Nimoy gives a super buildup to the great white sharks, and sharks don't even need a buildup. It's very cool. The visuals are a little ropey by today's standards, but not bad for its time.

Also: sharks.

In Search Of S04E05 Immortal Sharks
Dun... duh. Dun... duh. Dun duh dun duh dun dun duh dun DUH duh duh duh DUH duh duh duh.

Basically, this episode is a documentary on Sharks, sandwiched between the episode on Australian flying saucers and the episode on the lost colony of Roanoke. A lot of it is shot in Western Australia, making me wonder if the producers were trying to get their money's worth when they sent a crew to Australia for the UFO episode. ...continue reading "In Search Of…S04E04 Immortal Sharks"

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Now this one is just adorable. Basically, the episode investigates the 'true story' that the movie 'The Amityville Horror' was based on and somehow comes up with something even crappier than the film 'The Amityville Horror'.

Leonard Nimoy In Search Of s04e03 The Amityville Horror
And that's in spite of this shot.

We start with Nimoy narrating over a clip from the movie assuring us that this ghost story is real. Then we go talk to the actual people who claimed their house was haunted, George and Cathy Lutz. They talk about how nice the house was, even though it was the setting of a recent multiple homicide.

The re-enactment of the families eating, hanging a crucifix on the wall and having a priest bless the house are beautifully crappy. I tell you, when a show can make re-enactment of mundane tasks look this awkward, it makes me look forward to the more interesting re-enactments. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S04E03 The Amityville Horror"

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UFOs down under! Let's put a shrimp* on the barbie** and listen to everybody's t'hai'la*** Leonard 'Spocko' Nimoy talk about Antipodean UFOs and mispronounce the word 'Melbourne' ****

In Search Of s04e04 Australian UFOs
A UFO! Run!

We open on a literal white dot on a black screen, which proves UFOs. This is in some way connected to a re-enactment of a pilot in flight. Super spooky music, though. Got to give it that.

And then we get into the episode proper. Nimoy wonders if UFOs have been sighted over Australia and New Zealand. There's some lovely old timey photos of flying saucers, and what looks like some leftover footage of the last In Search Of… UFO episode. But this is just to whet out apitites and kill screen time. Standing in front of a radio telescope, his Season 4 moustache still in the picture. Nimoy tells us that most UFO sightings have been in the southern hemisphere.

News to me. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S04E04: Australian UFOs"

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I've said it before and I'll say it now: In Search Of… is a very weird show. In between an episode about tidal waves and an one about the Amityville Horror comes an episode about Carlos the Jackal. There's some dodgy reenactments but otherwise it's a topic that could have appeared on any legit news/current affairs show of the late 1970s.

In Search Of Carlos the most wanted man in the world s04e02
Bang! Bang! Duh duh duh duh! Bang!

To the viewer watching now, it's a bit of an interesting historical oddity. Carlos basically was a terrorist mastermind of the 1970s. Basically, he's portrayed in this episode as a slightly crap supervillain, which is not so far from the truth. These days, terrorists are basically one-shot weapons. They do what they do and either die or get caught doing it. Carlos comes from a day when a single terrorist might strike several times. As such, a terrorist might actually gather a bit of cred in his career. Rather than just being forgotten when the next murderous idiot comes down the pike. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S04E02 Carlos: the Most Wanted Man in the World"

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Hello again, my tens of listeners! My life's taken a busy turn of late and so my In Search Of updates have been a little sporadic. But they're back, with a new, shorter format.

Yay and so on.

In Search Of Tidal Waves s04e01
Don't panic, folks. This idyllic beach scene is a simulation only, repeat, a simulation. It's where Truman and Neo go boogie boarding.

I've been looking forward to this one. It's one of the episodes that I remember most strongly from when I watched this show as a kid. At the time, like a lot of Australian youngsters, I spent a great deal of time at the beach. Unlike the shows about Bigfoot or hurricanes, the idea that tsunami could get me seemed real. I actually remember completing a sandcastle one time and looking nervously out to sea, wondering if an underwater earthquake might mess it up. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S04E01 Tidal Waves"

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We begin with a little bumper about Tutankhamun, and then a little travelogue of Egypt. We intercut between people farming and shots of the pyramids. Shots of accountancy firms in Cairo or industrial laundries in Alexandria never seem to get a look in during these things.

Leonard Nimoy's In Search of King Tut
In Search of King Tut

The footage is pretty nice, but it comes right out of the “1970s Stock Egyptology Footage” drawer. Nimoy in a white suit gives again a very standard spiel about Egypt, British Empire, Rosetta Stone… Not very interesting so far. There’s some ropey looking reenactments of the court of Tutankhamun shot through a blurry lens for some reason.

Now the standard story of Howard Carter and Lord Carnarveon… Lots of shots of Egyptians carrying stuff through the desert. Same blurry lens. Nothing here that wasn’t in the earlier Tut episode. Disappointing. Music surprisingly pleasant… Opening the tomb… “I see wonderful things”…

Not sure yet what the point of this episode is. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S03E24 King Tut"

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When I first decided to review these shows, I began rewatching them for the first time in years. I remembered some of the themes – cryptozoology, disaster porn, missing person, sensationalised anthropology. But I completely forgot the whole Biblical archaeology theme that runs through the show. Why? Well for a start, it's boring. Like, massively, massively boring. Even the dull ghost stories are better than this.

In Search Of sodom and gomorrah leonard nimoy
Literally the most interesting shot in this episode.

I'm going to skip my usual blow by blow account of the episode and get down to the key – indeed, the only point – the episode makes. Archaeologists found a non-Biblical source that names two cities called Sodom and Gomorrah. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S03E23 Sodom and Gomorrah"

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