Roger and the Rotten Trolls

What makes a good kids show? How about one that you can still laugh at now. A show which includes spitting image style puppets, "Jim Jam Ya Ha" and the guy from "Men Behaving Badly" -  the one that isn't "Bob the Builder". Let me introduce you to "Roger and the Rotten Trolls". One of the funniest children's shows since "Maid Marian and Her Merry Men".

Written by Tim Firth who recently wrote the script for Blackball and Calendar Girls. The first series won the 1997 Bafta for "Best Children's Entertainment Show" - indecently beating the "Ant and Dec show". I bought the videos at university when VHS was still the in thing.  We really were spoiled for great TV back when I was a kid.

Anyway sit back, relax and enjoy the first episode.

Finders Keepers, The Girl From Tomorrow and The Odyssey

I was recently having a chat with my mum about Children's television. I was basically watching some of the toss that kids these days get peddled, and I said that I didn't remember TV being this bad when I was young.

And it wasn't. So I went out and found the proof.

I'm now going to show you some you of the shows that got me in to Sci-fi and made me the man I am today.

The Finder, also known as Finder Keepers.

This was on Channel 4 really early on a Saturday...or was it a Sunday morning? I forget now. However I was very young but I remember getting up really early to watch it every weekend. I'm not sure if I quite grasped the concept because I would have been around 8 years old.

Anyway this kid gets invited to participate in a game show in another dimension - nice huh? He has to find objects from the parallel world that have been lost in ours - to be in with a chance of winning a million pounds.

He has to cross something called the time barrier which is the thing that separates their would with ours. Clocks weaken the barrier and allow people to cross over. The strange one in the shopping centre seems to have weakened it the most because that's where all this shit goes down.

If you read some of the comments on youtube, a lot of people thought that they had dreamt this show. I thought I had too, apparently not though as here is episode 1, it's worth a watch. It really is a great bit of Sci-fi.

(Part 1)

(Part 2)

The Girl From Tomorrow

This was a BBC program. Watching it now; the special effects are terrible, but that doesn't really matter as it was made in 1990 which would have made me 7 for the people that are bothered.

In the year 3000 the world is recovering from 'the great disaster'. To better understand it they are travelling back in time to find out what happened. However a Mad Max style Criminal from the 2500 steals a time capsule when they come to visit in order to try and take over the future. He travels to the year 3000 but fails miserably and escapes with Alana - the main character - to the year 1990...woah. Considering I was 7 I can't believe I got this.

Alana must steal back the time machine from the Mad Max guy before it automatically travels back to the future without her.

The Odyssey

This is a fact I think I 'm going to try and find this on DVD.

This was another Channel4 early morning special. I love the concept of the show. I really want it to be remade, it could even be a film. Ok - I have hyped it enough - lets go:

Jay, the main character falls from a tree house and lapses in to a coma.

In the coma, Jay finds himself in another world. A world where none of the kids ever reach the age of 16. There are no adults so the kids have shaped the world on their own. I seem to remember that it resembled a fascist police state for some reason.

All the people from Jays life appear in his dream even his dad who he has decided he has to find, and is the key for Jay to get home.

Mean while in the real world his mum and his friends try to help him regain consciousness which sometimes results in the merging of the two worlds.

I found the first episode on lovely lovely Youtube.

(Part 1) 

(Part 2)

(Part 3)

I have missed a good few more out of this list on purpose because I'm going to do another post when I have the time.

Generation Toss: The Death of Invention

It’s dissatisfying watching Dragon’s Den on Dave Ja Vu all day for two crucial reasons. The first being that instead of having a job and earning some money myself, I’m wasting my time watching the most sour-faced turds on the face of this stupid planet scowling and grumbling despite the fact that if one of them developed a brain tumor the size of a watermelon and put all their money on Eddie Van Halen winning the Grand National, they’d still be in a far stronger financial situation than me by tea time thanks to a life time of clever investments.

The second reason it’s sad is that all the romance has gone from the world of invention. I’m sure when Dragon’s Den was developed and in pre-production, everyone imagined that the contestants would be eccentric, white bearded old men who stink of piss, waddling up to the dragons to pitch their idea for a lizard powered bicycle that will carry a team of astro-men to Proximus Centauri and back in seven seconds. Well that’s what I thought it would be like anyway and it’s not. Every time a proper old school inventor does make an appearance from his shed to pitch a rain-proof washing line or gadget made from cogs and pulley’s they invariably get told to piss off back to the stone age and die.

The only ideas that get taken seriously are those conceived by some greasy little computer programmes student in a shit shirt who’s built a micro chip that counts money taken by slot machines or a micro chip that prevents file sharing or a micro chip that stops helicopters exploding in a ball of hilarious flames. The problem is that this is progress. We need all these boring little chips and programmes and the probably make the world – certainly the one we’ve created – a better place. It’s progress and it’s ever so dull.

So let us salute the mad old inventors who achieve absolutely nothing in their sheds and basements for soon they shall be a thing of the past like penny-farthing’s and codpieces.

Oh and one more thing. Dragons live in a ‘lair’. Lions live in a "den" - Pricks.

The Death of Guybrush Threepwood

The rule used to be that you couldn't die in a Lucasarts' game (this was before the onslaught of Star Wars games). After completing the latest installment of the Tales of Monkey Island I have come to the conclusion that maybe Telltale Games don't play be the same rules. You see in the latest chapter, our hero (Mr Threepwood) gets stabbed in the chest with a sword. Pretty dramatic huh? I know that me and half the Telltale forums were a bit surprised. Yes this episode has been another cracker. We are back on Flotsam Island and this time it's night time; or as I like to call it: Monkey Time as most of the best Monkey Island games had a great night section. Guybrush is on Trial, that crazy French guy is still around and Elaine has gone pox-mad.

                                                                              (oh yeah Stan is back)

Anyway it made me think back to the other Monkey games and how they dealt with Guybrush dying - because he did, in everyone I think. Here is an example from the Curse of Monkey Island. Never mix medicine and alcohol, except if you are a lovable computer game character that is.

Then this slightly older example from Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. I like this version because a lot of people forget that your just listening to a retelling of the story.

So proof that you can't die; well proof that you can find comedy ways out of it.

I would hazard a guess that Guybrush will be making a return and a miraculous recovery in the final chapter of what has been a really fantastic game. Because Monkey Island is still a Lucasarts franchise and I would doubt they would be pleased if one of their most popular non Star Wars character got nailed in the penultimate episode. However with a name like Tales of Monkey Island: Rise of the Pirate God; He may just be returning with some strange new powers.

Lastly, I would like to add that the episodic content format is working incredibly well for this genre of gaming. It really is something to look forward to every month. I hope it really kicks off, and a few more companies decide to start doing content like this. And maybe adventure games might have a revival; although some may argue that 2009 has been a very good year for the genre.

Which is has been, no argument here...for a change.