Paul Dundon’s Weblog

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A little cheese and a little whine

A Short Genealogy of Certain Cult TV Programmes

“…Sanctuary is just another Torchwood rip-off…” – Gallifrey Base Forums post

In the beginning was the Many Loves of Dobie Gillis: and in the Many Loves were the four timeless elements: Brains, Beauty, Brawn and Comic Cowardice. And Hannah-Barbera saw the Life and Times, and saw that it was good; and so the Life and Times begat Mystery’s Five. And Hannah-Barbera thought, that’s a silly name, and that apostrophe is just asking for trouble in the typesetting department, and so Mystery’s Five was known as Scooby Doo. And Hannah-Barbera looked on Scooby Doo, and saw that it was good.

And there arose a mighty clamour in the land, as the famous men and women came to the altar of the Doo and beseeched that they might make movies with them; and so it was with Batman, and the Harlem Globe Trotters, and Don Knotts; and the Three Stooges, and Dick van Dyke, and Sonny and Cher; and CBS looked on Scooby Doo, and saw that it was good.

And so Scooby begat Josie and the Pussycats; and Josie and the Pussycats begat Captain Caveman. And Scooby begat The Funky Phantom, and The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, and Goober and the Ghost Chasers, and Speed Buggy, and Inch High Private Eye. And Scooby begat Clue Club and Jabberjaw, and Dynomutt.

And Scooby begat Scrappy Doo, whereof we do not speak.

And Scooby began a great slumber, and darkness covered the land, and the young men no longer had visions, and the old men no longer dreamed dreams, and there was no health in us.  And the darkness gave us Blake’s Seven, wherein everybody died; and Sapphire and Steel shone as a light in the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not, but then, neither did anyone else.

And a decade did pass; and Chris Carter brought the X-Files upon the land. And the Whovians sent Geeks in Levis to ask him: art thou the prophet? And he answered: no. And in fact, he continued, by the end of season three it will be obvious I don’t even have a plan for what the conspiracy is, and am just making this shit up as I go along. And yet the X-Files made straight a path in men’s minds, and when the time came, Scooby begat Buffy. And there was Brains and Brawn and Comic Cowardice, and Cordelia, who was about as close to Daphne as they could get away with in a post-feminist media environment.

And the vast multitude of men looked upon Sarah, and Alison, and saw that they were hot; and the women of the land looked upon David and Nicholas and saw that they were hot; and some of the men looked upon David and Nicholas, and saw that they were hot, and a few even had a bit of a thing for the boy who played Andrew, but that was only for the last two seasons; and so it was with the women and Sarah and Alison and later Amber, each according to their preferences.

And Buffy begat Angel, not least to redeem itself by giving Cordelia a real character. And Angel was like unto Buffy, but without the Comic Cowardice, or the satisfactory endings, for lo! In the end it became Blake’s Seven, and everybody died.

And Angel begat Firefly, which died before its time, but begat Serenity, which spoke unto the land and said: thou shalt not make a series about Big Government Conspiracies unless there is a Democrat in the Whitehouse, for surely, that series shall be cancelled.

And Buffy begat Doll’s House, which wasn’t a reference to Ibsen after all.

And the old gods became impatient. For before Scooby, yea, before even Dobie Gillis, there was Dr Who; And Dr Who begat itself, series upon series, and the scripts of the father were visited on the children, even unto the eighth regeneration. Yet in the decade of great darkness, its budgets were slashed, yea, slashed unto the bone, and it grew weary, and was cancelled.

Yet in the time of Serenity, a great clamouring arose, and Dr Who rose once again, and the people saw it, and saw that it was good, but not nearly a patch on the original, even though it had better sets, and better effects, and better music, and better actors, and generally better scripts.

And Buffy and Angel spoke unto Dr Who and said: we shall make thee heavy with child, and the world shall think it is thy child, when it is not; and thus Buffy and Angel came upon Dr Who, and Dr Who begat Torchwood. For Torchwood had Beauty, and Brains, and Brawn and occasional Comic Cowardice; and still its characters were even more deeply flawed, even more dysfunctional, than those of Angel; and so it was with some of its plots.

And Buffy made an unholy marriage with some eco-nuts, and begat Sanctuary, and Amanda Tapping did learn to speak with a British Accent, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth across the land.

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Filed under: Film + TV, Humour

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My Bookshelf

The Golden Bough
The Value of Nothing
The Fire
A Wolf at the Table
Devil Bones

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