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unnecessary sequel to an already-unnecessary sequel
on 6 January 2005
This programme really does scrape the bottom of the barrel. What I hate most about it is how unrecognisable the character of Chocky herself is from the original novel/series. In that first story, it's established at the end that she has to leave Matthew and never openly communicate with children again as she foolishly miscalculated the greed of humans and placed Matthew in great danger. In "Chocky's Children" - the not-so-bad second story, it's neatly explained that she's learned from her previous mistake and is now carefully, but very silently guiding Albertine and other children around the world with their development. Just like at the end of the first book, you are left with the feeling that it will be quite a few generations before her work is complete and mankind "discovers" cosmic energy.
This third instalment destroys all that subtlety. In the first episode alone, Chocky has casually forgotten her previous mistakes and is openly communicating with Albertine who, just like Matthew in the first story, gives the impression of talking to herself. Albertine is, in turn, quite openly bragging about the cosmic energy and anti-gravity that she's going to discover and giving lectures about it at the age of 13 - while her father, who was previously (and quite rightly) fiercely protective of her, now doesn't bat an eyelid at the attention she's drawing toward herself from the kind of unscrupulous baddies who kidnapped her and Matthew in the previous tales. The episode ends with Albertine being quite rightly ridiculed by a panel of University Professors in her search for a grant, only for Chocky to magically reveal herself to them and save the day! Subtle it ain't...
Later on, it just gets stupider. More children (who can't act) turn up and start moving tables, boats and blowing up computers with their minds and building futuristic technology with just a few microchips and bits of plastic and metal. They build one "generator" that gets stolen then trust "Mrs Gibson" - a complete stranger who just turns up claiming to from the Ministry Of Science and gives them money to build a second one. They do this and then leave it overnight at the risk of getting stolen all over again. Paul, the super-child turns out to be the son of Doctor Liddle and, er, it doesn't make one bit of difference to the plot. "Mrs Gibson" reveals herself to be NOT who she claimed and gets kicked out by everyone (didn't anyone think to check her credentials when she first appeared?) yet Super-Paul AND Chocky(!) are both stupid enough to get easily kidnapped by her less than one minute later. What's really creepy is the fact that the Ministry Of Defence quite happily store away a futuristic pyramid containing a 12 year old boy and don't seem to spare a thought for feeding him and keeping him alive!?
Things reach a nadir in the final episode when the children decide to send their minds across space to search for Chocky's "parent" to help them out. Luckily for them, back in the first episode, Chocky got Albertine to trample over some poor scientists radio telescope work and locate signals from her race. No reason was given for this at the time other than to make Chocky "so happy" and have a bit of a giggle (I swear I'm not making this up - she literally giggles) but now, thanks to the knowledge of where the planet is located, they easily summon up Chocky's "parent" (after some some bad 80s special effects..) who locates the missing two and the day is saved. In the very final scene, you see Chocky plus parent go flying off back into space. What I'd like to have seen added on is a bit where parent kicks Chocky around for causing the whole mess in the first place! Haven't these aliens even heard of the Prime Directive, lol???
This programme is truly bad and it's hard to believe that the same team who created the excellent adaptation of the original novel could produce such drivel. Am I being unfair to a 20 year old kids programme? No, not really, as I thought it was bad when I saw it the first time round at the age of 13!
One more final niggle. Why is Matthew even featured on the cover or in the title sequence. He only appears as nothing more than a cameo in three of the episodes!