015 Speculative Fiction – Old
Words cannot describe how much I love Claybourne, the 96-part story made in New Zealand by Andrew Dubber and Belinda Todd and written by and starring Jim McLarty and William Davis. I adore its blend of soap opera, sci fi mystery, fantasy, and New Zealand travelogue (at least as told by Thompson as he blunders through local customs). The short format is perfect for an infinite number of cliffhangers, which they exploit brilliantly, and for building character. The story starts out simply and quickly becomes infinitely more complex: Thompson, an American engineer, is on vacation in New Zealand when he is called to the remote north island by his company, Koestler’s, to investigate some odd happenings near the town of Claybourne. There he meets Maori elder Mata, Mata’s nephew Mike, Frank Buchanan, an Australian who wants to open up the theme park Maori World, not to mention Karen, and they discover what parts they have to play in a mysterious and complex saga. All the characters surprise and delight, from the jazz-listening, latte-drinking mysterious computer engineer Clive, to Janine, ultimately ill-fated thief, not-very-professional nurse, and flirt. I loved learning about Maori customs against the backdrop of the absurd Maori World. Indeed, I adored the characters of Frank and his son Phillip, in many senses not very nice people, insensitive, wounded, and very capitalist, but more and more nuanced as the drama unfolded. It was very well-produced, with a rich sound world filled with keynote sounds which could establish in a flash whether you were in a police station in Cowacowa or being given cement body casts in the foundations of Maori World (I kid you not!). I absolutely did not want the story to end. The cast included Angela Bloomfield, Bruce Allpress, Melwayne Edwards, Brenda Kendall, and Robert Pollock. Find it on Archive.org, and try to persuade Andrew Dubber to make a second series!
And now for something completely different . . . Haunted “The Inexperienced Ghost” by HG Wells . . . While I guess you could see the ending coming a mile off, I still found this simple and quintessentially English ghost story quite fun. The actors were going full throttle, in the tale of golfing buddies Evans, Fish, Sanderson, and Clayton. To tell you more would ruin the surprise. Originally from 1982, this drama was adapted by Patricia Mays and directed by Derek Hoddinott. It starred Donald Huston, Christopher Guard, Michael Cochrane, and John Gillett.