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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Changes (2-Disc DVD Set)
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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2014
The Changes is finally being released on home video, and I'm beyond thrilled! Over the last decade, I've become a giant fan of British children's television from the '70s and '80s. Their depth and strangeness are so refreshing compared to the shallow, streamlined family entertainment that is all too popular these days.

I'm an American who grew up in the '90s, but I've always loved television sci fi and fantasy, especially older shows like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. It wasn't until my adult life that I discovered Children of the Stones, and I couldn't resist finding more programs just like it!

The Changes happens to be one of the best examples of pretty much everything that made children's shows so wonderful all those years ago in England: a weird, scary premise (Suddenly everyone is filled with violent rage against modern technology.), diverse characters (The lead is a wonderfully resilient young woman, and, during her journey, she meets a variety of fascinating people.), a continuing story that works as a coherent whole with exciting cliffhangers along the way (I wouldn't dare spoil the surprises!), gritty twists that challenge the audience with tough questions about us and our future (What role should technology play in our lives? What are the different ways people respond to catastrophic events?), and a generous helping of local history and legend (I wouldn't dare spoil this part either!).

This production undoubtedly shows its age, but that adds to the charm! The viewer is transported back to the '70s and catches a glimpse of urban and rural life of the day. Also, the writing is way ahead of its time, giving the story a solid beginning, middle, and end; it's ambitious, perfectly focused, and unrelenting in its suspense.

If you've never seen The Changes, if you like science fiction and fantasy, and if you can appreciate what others might consider a diamond in the rough, please give this a look. It's a masterpiece!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2014
I pre-ordered this series as soon as I discovered BFI were releasing it. I remember watching this, aged 12, when it was originally broadcast, in 1975. I imagine like many others, I had been waiting for a DVD issue of it for many years.

So, when it arrived, I watched every episode in one sitting. It is a remarkable series, with more insight and foresight into issues of environment and race than is found in many adult dramas, even today. At a time when white actors were "blacking up" in series such as "It Ain't Half Hot Mum," to play Asian characters, with producers failing to find roles for real Asian actors, "The Changes" proves how blinkered this attitude was. The Sikh family group are shown as positive characters; they are the ones who listen to other opinions before making decisions and are keen to co-operate with the villagers. They are also seen as kind and welcoming and wanting positive role models for their children.

The environmental issues around the fear of machines and pollution are relevant today, highlighting constantly the need for balance between humans living in harmony and the need for progress. The series, adapted from Peter Dickinson's books, was years, if not decades, ahead of its time.

As far as the DVD goes, BFI have included an excellent, 28-page, booklet on the making of the series. However, as collectors and fans of classic TV have been waiting a long time for this series, the extras are virtually non-existent, just including a short film about Asians adapting to life in Britain and stills galleries. Also, although I am not someone who thinks everything should be HD and pristine - classic TV should retain some of the look of when it was made - nothing at all has been done to clean up the print; this series would definitely have benefited from this.

It is just wonderful, though, to finally have this classic series available on DVD. It is one that, because of the depth of the themes in the story, bears repeated viewing. Many thanks to BFI for releasing it and the many classic BBC TV series that they have released over the last couple of years (M.R. James stories, etc.). I look forward to the original "1984" in November and hope for releases of "The Long Chase" and "Chinese Puzzle," both of which still exist in complete form.

I cannot recommend "The Changes" highly enough; finally a thank-you to Amazon, who e-mailed me on 25/08 to tell me they were delivering the DVD on that day (Bank Holiday!). They also e-mailed me the same afternoon to say that the DVD had been posted through my letterbox. Great service.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2015
Within seconds of the opening sequences rolling, I was transported back forty years to evenings running home from primary school in order not to miss a precious episode of this compelling series in a pre video let alone Blu-Ray world.

Here is a series which demonstrates the BBC at its best- challenging, innovative and prescient. The issues of the human impact on the environment, sexism, and race addressed during the ten episodes make this programme truly ahead of its time. It certainly generated many questions in my younger self and reminds us how modern children’s drama (The Sparticle Mystery excepted )fail to challenge young people’s thinking and security in a similar way.

Particularly striking is the superficiality of society and ‘civilisation’, if 1970’s Britain is plunged into the Middle Ages, bereft of motor vehicles and electricity, what chance has modern society dependent as it is on computers and telecommunications?

Although the casting of Merlin in a custodial role over the Earth is arguably the weakest link in the plot it nevertheless fails to detract from the strong environmental message inherent throughout, more relevant than ever today.

This series is also notable for strong female characters, most notably the central protagonist Nicky Gore who is: proactive, courageous and risk taking, groundbreaking for the time.

Clever photography and an unnerving sound track create a tense and eerie atmosphere throughout without having to resort to graphic horror.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2015
Brilliant ... bloody brilliant. Great acting by the young Victoria Williams. Good story and definitely capable of giving people (young and old) nightmares. Also a very good AV transfer. I haven't seen the booklet though as I rented the series from lovefilm

You couldn't make something like it now as the PC brigade would suck the life out of it because it might scare the children.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2015
Another purchase bought for nostalgias sake. Paid off handsomely this time and easily gets a five star review.
The acting is great, the theme and incidental music is impressive and the story is intelligent and thought provoking.
Great transfer to DVD, with an interesting extra and sold at a very reasonable price.
Kids drama from the 70's that beats today's tosh hands down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2014
For a kid's series this was very adult and very scary.

Probably wouldn't get made nowadays.

The story, acting and effects are all superb.

This was like a teenage version of Terry Nation's harrowing series Survivors from around the same time.

Very, very highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2014
...that the BBC has programmes of this quality in its archives and yet where are they on its four TV channels? Overpaid presenters, inane continuity announcers and children's presenters and endless dross fill the schedules. Thank you BFI for making available (at reasonable prices and with thoughtful extras) this superlative drama (not just children's programme, although I seem to recall that it was transmitted around the 4.30 - 5.00pm slot (like Chocky).

The reviews already published here give an accurate assessment of the standard of the series. It's always great to have a detailed booklet to accompany these releases.

The last few years have seen the release of some great programmes from BFI and Network (The Owl Service, Muck and Brass, Adrian Mole and A Very Peculiar Practice from Network) in particular and I look forward to 1984 and Red Shift from BFI.

To be fair to the BBC, they did eventually rush out a bare bones Colin's Sandwich at an inflated price to cash in on/commemorate Mel Smith's passing.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2014
I was 6 when this was first shown on TV and it scared me so much, I didn't see it all until a repeat on UK Gold many, many years later. In places it is quite chilling, and it is a shame that this kind of brave television is no longer made.
I would also check out the novel, as it goes much deeper into how the UK falls into a feudal system. If you like Quatermass and any of Nigel Kneale's genius, this is for you.
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on 9 August 2015
I was very young when I first watched this and remember it as exciting, weird and absorbing. Bits stuck in my mind, like David Garfield's character and David King's character. I vaguely remembered David King on Jackanory telling his own story or what it is like to be an actor and how the naughty dog he gives judgement upon is in fact his own dog.... but I digress.
Point is, I came to this with high expectations but sadly found it slow and rather tedious. It finally kicks off once Nicky and Jonathan track down the source but I was disappointed. Worth a look though, and fascinating dip into seventies attitudes.

I found the documentary 'At Home in Britain' very interesting. Should be shown on TV today!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2015
It's wonderful to see this excellent, atmospheric serial released on DVD at last, though it would have been nice if more bonus material had been included.
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