Children of the Stones

Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by ZetsubouKaiji, Apr 29, 2020.

  1. ZetsubouKaiji

    ZetsubouKaiji Forum Moderator Database Moderator

    @Taek suggest we check out this series from the 1970s. The whole thing is available on Youtube here:

    I've never heard of this show, but the premise sounds interesting enough. It was marketed as a kid's show and aired on Nickelodeon in the US during the 80s.

    If anyone else wants to join we'll be discussing it here.
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  2. ZetsubouKaiji

    ZetsubouKaiji Forum Moderator Database Moderator

    I read a few reviews for this that complained about the soundtrack being annoying, but I quite like eerie vocalizations. They help to build atmosphere. The filming is low budget, but I find the camerawork to be expressive when it's showing off the stones from the title. The acting isn't as bad as I feared it would be either. The adults are all rather good. The kids are about what you'd expect from child actors, but they're watchable.
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  3. ZetsubouKaiji

    ZetsubouKaiji Forum Moderator Database Moderator

    The people in this town really need to stop running in front of cars, trucks and bikes.
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  4. Taek

    Taek Well-Known Member

    Posted by Taek on Apr 29, 2020
    Well this is doing a great job of building up the mystery, it has that british vagueness that I remember from tv shows I watched as a kid, Through the Dragons Eye is one that really comes to mind. There's only small amounts of exposition, and it leaves the town members to basically act their way through the weirdness. In that respect, it's reminiscent of The Wicker Man, a strange island where everyone acts in strange ways as if it's completely normal.
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  5. ZetsubouKaiji

    ZetsubouKaiji Forum Moderator Database Moderator

    "Get me scotch and a big glass."

    Children's shows have really changed since the 70s. I loved that exchange. Adam is a man after my own heart. I see some creepy shit and get shocked unconcious I'd want some booze to steady my nerves too.

    The Wickerman comparison is a good one. The cult like attitude of most of the town points to some dangerous secrets for outsiders.
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  6. ZetsubouKaiji

    ZetsubouKaiji Forum Moderator Database Moderator

    This show has a been a consistent pleasant surprise.
    It treats the audience with respect and doesn't talk down to them. This is not something I usually associate with children's programming. Although if I'm to be perfectly honest I'm not sure I could have kept up with this before I was a teenager. The plot is simple enough, but the astrophysics talk and all the mystical talk that forms the mythology would have went over my head. Watching it now though it's the thing I'm enjoying the most. This battle between tradition and science is interesting in how it effects the various residents. I feel sorry for poor Die because he means well, but he's been alone so long and seen everyone get sucked in my the power of the stones that he's gone a loony. Even the little bit of protection he had was eroded when the talisman broke.

    The adult characters actually have character too. They're not just there to deliver exposition and move the plot along when the kids get stuck. I quite like Adam. A man of science and skepticism that's not a sheer butthead when confronted with things outside the understanding of science.

    Anyway I think it's obvious that the villagers are caught in a time loop where the same events keeps repeating themselves. It explains their strange health. The loop must update for the time period and to absorb newcomers, but some of the villagers must be hundreds of years old if not thousands if they go all the way back to the beginning of the stone's creation.

    I can see how this show influenced popular British science fiction writers of today. Charlie Brooker in particular seems to owe a debt to this series.

    I watched about half of it, but lost track of which episode I was on. I'll probably wait until my next day off (Sunday) to finish it. @Gens should probably get in on this. She'd be into it.
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  7. Gens

    Gens Database Moderator

    Posted by Gens on Apr 29, 2020
    Well, I'm doing it guys, I'm watching it because I've got all this free time.

    This first episode was a LOT to take in for me, this has to be one of the most fucking bizarre first episodes I've seen for a "children's show". Can't deny the atmosphere is very strongly unsettling though with those wailing voices as part of the soundtrack, and the sound just cutting to an abrupt DEAD silence when the truck was coming to hit the kid. Also when the dad was getting mindfucked at the end after just touching a stone, I felt like my brain was on maximum acid.

    I'm pretty intrigued in watching more, cause I got 100 million questions now. This was a pretty great start.
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    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
  8. Taek

    Taek Well-Known Member

    Posted by Taek on Apr 30, 2020
    I only have half an hour left and this really is some good stuff.

    There's so much in this that you'd never see in modern kids shows, all the alcohol, as Zk pointed out, but also
    Die's dead body

    The mystery is playing out well, and I'm inclined to agree with ZKs theory that this village is stuck in some sort of time loop, or some kind of constant death and rebirth, always trying to find the exact amount of people to assimilate into the village.

    Hendricks is suitably villainous in that old english manner, too. I'm actually very surprised by the level of acting in this.
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  9. Taek

    Taek Well-Known Member

    Posted by Taek on Apr 30, 2020
    So I finished this today, and I'm actually blown away by it in many respects. I'll admit that i haven't really watched a great deal of kids shows outside shounen anime in many years, but even so, growing up i just don't remember anything like this, something that just doesn't treat it's audience as if they're kids, yet isn't exactly orientated to adults.

    The mystery is genuinely great, it talks about so much with English folklore that hopefully some of you will either know from other pieces of media, yet basing it actually in England itself, in a village the likes of which you might find anywhere (yet probably not surrounded by a stone circle, there's only Avebury). I really enjoyed the characters, the acting is great, and the ending was far more satisfying, and kind of darker, than I would ever have expected.

    Looking forward to seeing what you both thought of the end of this too.
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  10. ZetsubouKaiji

    ZetsubouKaiji Forum Moderator Database Moderator

    I just finished this up.
    I have no complaints about the show. It transcends most children's entertainment I am familiar with. It tells a fascinating story that mixes English countryside life with druid mysticism and science fiction. It's rather complex melange of elements that comes together nicely for an ending that isn't tragic, but is certainly bittersweet.

    Adam and Mathew are able to escape the time loop, but everyone else is left stuck. It's sad that Margaret and Sandra end up stuck in the village to repeat the same events endlessly. I think Dai's case is even more tragic because he's stuck there with an awareness of what is happening, but completely helpless to do anything about it. He lives in a constant state of fear that no one will take seriously because he's not able to explain himself properly to anyone that might be able to do something and then he's fated to die. Not that I'm entirely sure the cycle can ever be fully broken because it's based on elements that go far beyond human understanding. Some of it is based in science, but it's not science that's well understood and the pagan elements tap into powers from humankind's more terrifying past.

    I liked this very much. 8 out of 10
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  11. Gens

    Gens Database Moderator

    Posted by Gens on May 11, 2020
    Just got around to finishing it. This series as a whole was excellent to me, I can't think of a children's show to be honest that had this level of intelligence and especially around the 70s, is pretty crazy. I can't remember either watching anything like this in the olden days of children's programming for America. It kind of reminds me even with anime too, old school shounen was so different as well with shows like fist of the north star and silverfang showing blood and everything and being pretty brutal.

    Everyone just getting zapped into stones at the end was probably the scariest thing ever in this show to me. This show doesn't even have a high budget or anything, but the imagery was top notch effective all the way. It's the kind of cosmic horror, that's beyond one's control. That feeling of utter helplessness, that those same events will be re-lived again and again. This was a really satisfying ending for me.

    One thing I also really liked was the relationship between the father and Matthew, the father is not really dismissive of Matthew and they have such an open and mutual trusting relationship in working together as the weirdness and mystery unfolds around them. They really have respect for each other. He's a scientist but certainly not close minded though.

    I'm going to have nightmares about stone circles for awhile.


    Gotta thank @Taek and @ZetsubouKaiji for drawing my attention to this show.
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    Last edited: May 11, 2020
  12. Ebonyslayer

    Ebonyslayer Well-Known Member

    Well, you guys have me interested in the series now. "The scariest program ever made for children" pretty much grabbed me.:love:
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  13. Ebonyslayer

    Ebonyslayer Well-Known Member

    I'm like one hour into it now. And it looks like something is going on with the villagers. Glad I've gotten into it, but I think I'll save the rest for tomorrow. That'll be something to look forward to when I'm not as tired.
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  14. Ebonyslayer

    Ebonyslayer Well-Known Member

    And I've finished it.
    I'm glad that Matthew and Adam were able to escape the time loop, but not everyone was fortunate enough to escape it. I find it very depressing that Sandra and Margaret will be forced to relive the time loop over and over again. Its even more tragic in Dai's case cause he can't do anything, much less be able to explain to others in a way that makes sense. And this is a type of horror that is beyond anyone's level of control, which is something I enjoyed.

    My brother loved Sidney Sager's composition for the music. The eerie vocals just made the experience creepy in a delightful way. I liked how Adam is open-minded as a scientist and his relationship with his son. Matthew even reminded me a bit of myself, when I was younger I would always make weird foods to eat. Still do I guess. I even found Matthew's psychometry powers interesting, since I find that type of genre appealing. Reminds me of Stranger Things in a way, although that show is darker and aimed at an older audience.

    Glad I got to see it, you don't see these kinds of children shows that often. Yeah, I don't think I'll be getting that "people turning to stone" imagery out of my head for quite some time now. Loved the tradition versus science theme for the show. So overall, 8 out of 10.
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