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Dark Season [DVD] 
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The complete series of the children's drama written by Russell T. Davies, and starring Kate Winslet in her first television appearance. In a seemingly normal school, three children grow increasingly suspicious when their classmates all acquire powerful personal computers. When the school bully is mutated into a hideous creature, the children start to suspect that the sinister Mr Eldritch (Grant Parsons) is behind it all, and uncover a plot to take over the world using a buried wartime super-computer called Behemoth. Includes all six episodes.
Dark Season is a science-fiction mystery that centres on a school where nothing is as it seems. When a mysterious millionaire, Mr Eldritch, shows up--claiming to be its benefactor and donating computers to every pupil--he arouses suspicion in a small group of students. They set about uncovering a plot that not only threatens all the children in their school, but the entire human race! Written by Russell T Davies (Doctor Who, Queer as Folk) and starring a young Kate Winslet in one of her first TV roles, the series also stars Jacqueline Pearce as the indomitable Miss Pendragon.
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There’s certainly a novelty factor, particularly with watching a Russell T Davies story that’s a prototype Doctor Who that has more in common with the 1980’s than his 2005 reboot, yet has his unmistakeable tone of Davies dialogue running throughout it- quippy and grandiose dialogue pouring out of every character, even the kids. The character of Marcie clearly has Doctor-like characteristics, and even the opening title sequence is reminiscent of the video feedback loop of classic Doctor Who titles. I’m surprised he didn’t put a banner somewhere in the background that says “PLEASE LET ME WRITE DOCTOR WHO”.
It has Kate Winslet’s first TV appearance, from, it would seem, before she learned to act. Don’t get me wrong I think she’s a great actress now, but she’s awful in this. A mixed cast give a variety of performance qualities, with Brigit Forsyth and Doctor Who veteran Cyril Shaps doing commendable work, Grant Parsons and Jacqueline Pearce hamming it up pantomime-style, and some of the ‘child’ actors, who look like twenty-somethings pretending to be schoolkids, putting in career-endingly bad performances.
And naturally it’s dated appallingly. Any computer-related story from before the internet age will have modern kids just looking deeply confused- the plot of the first three episodes could have been almost completely bypassed by a Google search nowadays. With the relatively low budget of kids TV drama making it feel a bit like a sci-fi Grange Hill, with Archimedes A310’s with “Abyss” stickers on them and an entire school full of kids dressed in awful pastel-coloured tops, it’s a nostalgia trip but not necessarily a pleasant one.Read more ›
The second half was where this weird woman and a group of archeologists dug up the school playing field as a war machine was buried underneath it. The weird woman incidentally can also be seen in Moondial as Miss Pendragon! Useless bit of info there.
It was years later when Kate Winslet started cropping up in films that I wondered where I'd seen her before. Yes, Kate Winslet is in this with two other kids, a brainy one and one on a skateboard.
I can't remember much more of the plot so buy or rent it and check it out!
It's gonna look a bit dated now - especially the computer's they give to the kids (very retro), but I'll be snapping this up!
Anyway, if you're anything like me and buy any old tat they put out on DVD to remind you of your misspent youth, you probably have ordered this already. By the way, the BBC are also releasing Century Falls on the same day. This was a similarly dark tale that I missed the first time round so I'll be buying that too.
Three kids find themselves involved in two separate adventures (that end up building to a single climax much as today's Who will have a subplot running through the series that explodes in the series finale) involving computers, a dyed blond supervillain, archaeological digs and alien war machines. Oh and Thelma from the Likely Lads. It's filmed much in the style of classic Doctor Who, features dialogue for the main character Marcie that you could hear Tom Baker or Sylvester McCoy saying, and has a Who-like credit sequence. It's like a re-mix. As such it's a fun sci-fi horror adventure for kids that still holds up rather well today due to Davies' clever writing.
I thoroughly recommend it. The only question is, whatever happened to Victoria Lambert?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant story and these episodes are good to view. pity Russel T Davies did not devise a follow on series. Another favorite actress is the moody Miss Maitland - Brigit Forsyth.Published 11 months ago by Tom Tom
This features a fat kate winslett, an a bunch of stereotypes, all filmed on budget equall to just above zero.Published 20 months ago by MUHAMMAD CARTOONIST
When I was about 9 or 10, 'Dark Season' was possibly the most exciting thing in the world - a smart, thrilling sci-fi adventure series about three ordinary children who finds... Read morePublished on 20 Aug. 2009 by A. Foxley
mainly of interest to me as it is nearly all shot at my old secondary school, Robert Haining in Mytchett. Read morePublished on 10 Mar. 2009 by Christopher Hunter