I could go on talking about the 80’s and its wonderful television program and creative films, but I’m afraid I could go on forever. So I’ll talk about only a few of my favorite shows and films. When I was a kid, I used to dream about aliens, the stars, technology, and anything supernatural.
The Last Starfighter is one of my favorite 80’s films. It’s a story about a kid whose videogame talent led him to reach the stars, literally, and become a hero he was meant to be. Alex Rogan, played Lance Guest, who uses his innocent yet strong willed personality to open his mind to the idea that there is life in outer space. This film used the new technology during that time known as CGI (Computer Generated Imaging) to create ground-breaking special effects when building environments, spaceships, and the space battles. It was so cool to watch these images on the screen battle in space using computer technology. You feel like you are Alex Rogan, a teenager that gets suckered into a space war by the wonderful Robert Preston, Centuri. Alex gets recruited by the Rylar Star League to battle the evil Ko-Dan Empire because of his fighting skills playing The Starfighter video game. If playing a videogame can simply transport you to another galaxy or dimension, then sign me up. I would love to be somewhere else. What was funny about this story is that they thought by putting an android that looks exactly like yourself in your place to pretend that everything would be alright. Beta was its name, it looked like Alex, talked like Alex, but the one thing they forgot; his girlfriend Maggie, played by Catherine Mary Stuart. You can never fool a girlfriend. The acting in this film is somewhat amateurish, with the exception Robert Preston, I didn’t like it for it’s dialogue and acting, but it’s message that no matter where you are, no matter who you are, you decide to make your life worthwhile. Alex decided to play the hero, and get the girl, just by opening his eyes to something greater. It had a happy ending, and I loved the fact it had everything I always wanted in space action movie.
Believe it or not, my other favorite movie in 1984 is The NeverEnding Story. When I first saw this film, it was magical. You have to understand, I was only 11 years old and my childhood was made up of cartoons, world of fiction, and my imagination. The movie had a boy name Bastion who was bullied in school, so he dove into books for escape from the real world. I felt a connection to this character, even though I wasn’t bullied, I didn’t have a lot friends, so I escaped into the world of television and movies. The story begins with Bastion reading a rather large and old book that was filled with wondrous creatures like a Luck Dragon, rock giants, and racing snails. It had a beautiful young childlike Empress, a brave young warrior, and an enemy so terrifying that it gave me nightmares for quite awhile, again…me…11years old. I was transported to a land called Fantasia, where everything survives on the power of books and its readers. In the real world, books feed the creativity and the imagination of children and in return feed Fantasia, however if the children of the world don’t read books then the world won’t survive, that is where The Nothing was born. The Nothing was a symbol of the real world forgetting all the wonderful stories told in books. It draws attention to us that we need books and great storytelling to keep the youth inside you alive. The action scenes were cool, not to mention most of the cinematography was spectacular. Even right now, if it comes on the air again, I would watch it and thoroughly enjoy it once more.
The small screen had its fair share of wonderful science fiction programs to tickle my brain. V the television series that aired from 1984 to 1985 is one my favorites. It is the continuation story from the original Miniseries in 1983. It is a wonderful franchise that thrilled audiences with other-worldly mother ships that carried a race of reptilian-like aliens with human suits. They called themselves the Visitors and they claim to come in peace asking for our help in replenishing their resources. The show was filled with action, intrigue and some reptile-human relationships, everything a boy could ask for in a television show! The characters were well developed and their cause to rebel was something you could relate to. The story takes place one year after the first invasion of the visitor where the aliens were defeated by a virus called Red Dust. The leader Diana was brought on trial for crimes against humanity, but escapes. Donovan and his former freedom fighters try to stop Diana from summoning the rest of the Visitors fleet to Earth. The series follows Mike and his newly formed Resistance to battle Diana and the power hungry corporations to bring peace to Earth and rid of the Visitors once and for all. Each week I watched this show with great admiration with the special effects and the storyline. People always love the underdog fighting their oppressors. That even though the television show didn’t last no more than two seasons, it left a permanent mark in the science fiction community. They even tried to revive it in 2009. I loved that series as well, Morena Baccarin played the Supreme Leader of the Visitor where she played Anna, Diana’s daughter. The original series, the miniseries, the TV movie ( V, The Final Battle) gives us a blueprint as to how a alien invasion story should be told, no one can beat that.
Probably one of the best televisions series that didn’t get its feet wet, was the short lived show Automan. With computer technology, you can generate a car, a plane, and a helicopter just by using a floating computer polyhedron is very cool. The solid neon lights outlining each vehicle dazzled my senses; I thought it was the craziest thing I ever saw. The show focused on a police officer, and a computer programmer Walter Nebicher, played by Desi Arnez Jr, who created the crime fighting computer program able to leave the computer world and into the real world to fight crime. The computer programmer and the program were able to merge into one being, Automan and fight crime together. Using the inspiration from TRON, a floating shifting polyhedron called Cursor, has the ability to transform itself into a car, a plane, or a helicopter, able to defy all the laws of physics. Developed by the same man who brought us Knight Rider, Glen A Larsen, who passed away recently, brought Automan to television to be the pioneer concept of computer technology interacting with humans. I loved this show, I thought it was ground-breaking, but it didn’t last long.
We need televisions shows and films like these to broaden the minds of the audience. Shows like Knight Rider, Miami Vice, The Equalizer, and Fantasy Island paved the way for movies and the TV shows we watch today. We can not forget the less known shows and films that also inspired the generation of viewers like Automan, The Last Starfighter, The Neverending Story, V, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Captain Powers and the Soldiers of the Future, and The Highwaymen. I could go on, but I’ll be here forever. My childhood was filled with wonders and excitement from watching these films and TV programs. Never forget the 80’s, I know I won’t.