The Guardians - The Complete Series [DVD] 
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All 13 episodes of the 1971 ITV sci-fi series set in a dystopian near-future England in which the country is ruled by a fascist military force called 'The Guardians'. Episodes are: 'The State of England', 'Pursuit', 'Head of State', 'The Logical Approach', 'Quarmby', 'Appearances', 'This Is Quarmby', 'The Dirtiest Man in the World', 'I Want You to Understand Me', 'The Nature of the Beast', 'The Roman Empire', 'The Killing Trade' and 'End in Dust'.
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The Actors and storyline add up to a splendid drama serial well worth owning and compelling viewing. I really enjoyed this TV serial made at a time writers still searched out interesting stories with surprise endings .......
The quality of this LWT production is not in dispute; this is a careful examination of political repression and the means of challenging it - the opposing arguments, and the moral contradictions, are intelligently and thoroughly explored, and given equal time to present themselves to the viewer. A case-in-hand is the simple, effective drama of two old men - Prime Minister Hobson, and a friend - debating over after-dinner drinks the virtues of "the smack of firm government" versus the pursuit of personal liberty. It is possible, however, to end up becoming too clever for your own good, and sadly "The Guardians" does fall into this trap on numerous occasions, the (nonetheless consistently literate) dialogue disappearing up its' own hole and the whole thing veering dangerously off-course with a frankly tedious story arc concerning a Communist infiltrator within the Guardians, his wife and her tryst with the Prime Minister's rather pompous son, and then the tribulations of the psychiatrist who doubles up as a resistance activist, plus HIS wife....for all the involvement the Guardians have in much of the plot it might be possible to believe that you've accidentally stumbled upon a slightly darker version of "Coronation Street" (the subject, in fact, of a nice little ITV in-joke during the course of proceedings). When "The Guardians" focuses on the politics (and indeed on the Guardians themselves), it is good; when it focuses on the people, it is pretty bad - and it's a pity, for this could have been a great series with a timelessly-pertinent pitch, and it certainly has the ability to pack some considerable shocks; it isn't all talk-talk, there is some violence to be had, and some of it is indeed graphic, with surely one of the first instances of "blood-splatter" to be seen on British television and a scene involving a suitcase bomb that left me open-mouthed (as well as not at all surprised that "The Guardians" was not broadcast in Northern Ireland during its' initial airing in 1971). It is that power that just about manages to snatch victory from the jaws of mediocrity. But it's a close-run thing.
Recommended for the importance of the subject and the overall intelligence of the handling, but a hefty amount of patience is advised.
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