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Guest squashua

Master List of Lovecraftian TV shows

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Guest squashua

This forum has done movies to death, but television... hah!

 

In the interest of drumming up chat ideas, let's list some of the more Lovecraft-inspired TV shows (single episodes count).

 

I'd say I would like to avoid generally "silly-at-most-times" shows like "Buffy" or "Dresden Files" (though certain episodes might qualify, the series as a whole can be rather goofy), but that might turn into a fist-fight debate over the qualifications of "Dr. Who".

 

I'll start with a few as I'd prefer to see them listed:

 

Lost

 

With an unseen monster, psychic phenomena, "ghosts", "magic number" formulas, insane asylums, suspected time travel, and a long hinted-at lost civilization, as well as corporate conspiracies and hippie-attuned scientific experiments, Lost is pretty much a pseudo-science dream come true.

 

X-Files

 

Aliens? Check. Government conspiracy? Check. Ghosts? Check. The classic "FBI investigates the unacceptable unexplained" TV show. Though featuring more emphasis on "explainable" and "realistic" attempts at classic aliens than some might prefer.

 

Fringe

 

Still early to call, in this reality, fringe science (such as that present in "The Reanimator" and "Whisperer in the Darkness") is real, including reading the minds of the living and recently deceased, bionic replacement, nanobot infestations, and cloning. Focus is apparently primarily on the technological singularity, and it is hinted that something (probably a corporation or cabal, rather than an alien or otherworldly presence) is using the earth as a petri dish.

 

Threshold

 

An alien broadcast infection takes hold of the human race and begins to spread, as a "crack team" of scientists fight it with the government's backing. Many concepts in these episodes, including dream communication and infection through a vast variety of means, are ripe for exploitation, if one focuses on the horrific pan-dimensional alien aspect and ignores the semi-hokiness of the response team itself.

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MrCarcosa

At the risk of starting a fight about Dr. Who, there are a few old Tom Baker episodes that just scream Lovecraft. I'm especially thinking of "The Seeds of Doom" (Antarctic research station finds black rocks in the ice that open into seedpods that turn people into giant tentacle plants), "The Pyramids of Mars" (Ancient trapped Egyptian god, cultists--Nyarlothotep, Dereleth style),

and "The Talons of Weng Chiang" (Gaslight! Intrigue and the Oriental tongs in 1890's London! Ancient Evil and giant rats!)

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Tigger_MK4

There was a programme called Rough Magick, I think, that was made by ITV...according to my websearches, ironically available on DVD in the USA but not in the UK....

 

Had the guy that played Avon in Blakes 7 in it.

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Guest squashua
At the risk of starting a fight about Dr. Who, there are a few old Tom Baker episodes that just scream Lovecraft. I'm especially thinking of "The Seeds of Doom" (Antarctic research station finds black rocks in the ice that open into seedpods that turn people into giant tentacle plants), "The Pyramids of Mars" (Ancient trapped Egyptian god, cultists--Nyarlothotep, Dereleth style),

and "The Talons of Weng Chiang" (Gaslight! Intrigue and the Oriental tongs in 1890's London! Ancient Evil and giant rats!)

 

That's what I'm trying to say; there are certainly some episodes that are spot-on Lovecraftian, but overall... no.

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the_gneech

There are episodes of the new series that scream Lovecraft too ... check out the Ood sometime. :) But yeah, "Seeds of Doom" was practically "Lovecraft meets the Thing From Another Planet."

 

"The Real Ghostbusters" had a few Lovecraft-inspired episodes, including "Collect Call of Cthulhu." There was at least one Justice League episode (fairly recent) that had all sorts of Lovecraftian nasties running around in it.

 

Outside the realm of animation, there were a few Lovecraftian moments in the original "Star Trek" ... I'm particularly thinking of the Kelvans, aliens from Andromeda that took on human forms and would "distill" people into a powdery polyhedron ("essential saltes," anyone?), as well as Sylvia and Korob, alien illusionists who looked a bit like tentacled stickbugs in their natural form. The mind-controlling jellyfish things from "Operation: Annihilate" were very creepy and Lovecrafty in their own way, as well.

 

-The Gneech 8)

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BleedingHeart

What about Torchwood - never actually seen it myself, but the promos on BBC America make it look pretty similar to the X-files

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CharlesDexterWard
What about Torchwood - never actually seen it myself, but the promos on BBC America make it look pretty similar to the X-files

 

But with lots of sex!

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synthboy
What about Torchwood - never actually seen it myself, but the promos on BBC America make it look pretty similar to the X-files

 

But with lots of sex!

 

Yeah. Check out the Dead Ringers spoof on YouTube.

 

And on thread, I found this list. Night Gallery looks like it might be fun in a cheesy sort of way.

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Skyman

Ok these might not be as obvious

 

 

Medium...see/talk to dead people. Family line is tainted. Reason why are vague and mysterious.

 

Heroes...more people with a vague tainted blood line and a scientist trying to find out the secrets

 

Sanctuary...when an episode has a tentacle whip out of a boys belly to drill a hole in some poor saps head and we're introduced to a menagerie of beasties...ok not exactly Lovecraft but I thought I'd mention it

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Tigger_MK4
What about Torchwood - never actually seen it myself, but the promos on BBC America make it look pretty similar to the X-files

 

But with lots of sex!

 

Torchwood is ok, but I think that even after 2 series they're struggling to hit the right note. The cast of actors are decent, but the programme seems stuck in a bit of a no-mans land between childrens and adult entertainment.

 

Also , the LBG themes in it are laid on a bit heavy handedly in the first series. The second series is better. The main problem with the third series is that

spoilers !! -

it'll have Mickey in it.

 

To be honest, although I think its worth a watch (with suitable expectations that its ok but notthing to rave about ) , I don't think its got any real Lovecraftian bits, except maybe the end of series one episode.

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Dr_Locrian

I'm not really sure if it's Lovecraftian enough, but Supernatural is an ideal model for a Route 66 style game campaign. I cannot emphasize enough how perfect many episodes are for modelling scenarios, and the slightly immature tone that creeps in reminds me very much of around-the-table RPG banter.

 

But the "power level" is very much based on the model of ordinary people fighting the darkness using secret knowledge passed around by a group of hunters.

 

It only lasted half a season, but Invasion was a really, really good update of your basic Body Snatchers style alien invasion, very creepy and could easily be adapted to Lovecraft.

 

As an aside, has anyone ever written a screenplay or pitched a series based on Delta Green? I've long thought that it just screams for adaptation, and networks are always shopping around for X-Files style investigative sci-fi.

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Guest squashua
As an aside, has anyone ever written a screenplay or pitched a series based on Delta Green?

 

This is the precise avenue where "The Bionic Woman" had potential. Most notably, the big CDC episode.

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Mr_Lin

 

As an aside, has anyone ever written a screenplay or pitched a series based on Delta Green? I've long thought that it just screams for adaptation, and networks are always shopping around for X-Files style investigative sci-fi.

 

Tigger_MK4 has already mentioned it but Rough Magick seems to be very much in that vein.

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North73

Quatermass and the Pit, my friends...really, genuinely upsetting.

 

It was B&W 1958 TV before it was a film. And the better for it.

Good old BBC!

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quatermass_and_the_pit

 

Other Nigel Kneale stuff is well worth seeking out too...

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MrYog
As an aside, has anyone ever written a screenplay or pitched a series based on Delta Green? I've long thought that it just screams for adaptation, and networks are always shopping around for X-Files style investigative sci-fi.

Dark Skies.

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Sephira

I was really hoping the island in LOST was in the Antarctica, ala Pim's voyages.

 

I think Carnivale has the right sort of tone to it.

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sglancy12
Children of the Stones is great, despite (maybe because of) being a 70s British kids drama

 

Wow... that one is a bit of a hidden gem. If you want to get a good idea how Temphill in the Severn Valley works (with it's inescapable angles) check out Children of the Stones...

 

... Plus creepy village actually built at the epicenter of a titanic series of stone circles. You can't fake that part. That's a real village in the UK!

 

And why has nobody mentioned the original Night Stalker and Night Strangler movies? Or Kolchak: The Night Stalker? Okay, you can see the zippers on the monsters, but there were some great moments. Such as when Kolchak is interviewing girls in a massage palor while trying to find a modern day Jack the Ripper.

 

Girl: "Why are you wearing sneakers with a suit?"

 

Kolchak: "Well, um... in my line of work, I do alot of running."

 

Not to mention that the episode with the invisible alien that sucks the bone marrow out of people has some government agents sneaking around the edges making the evidence go away AND the name of the episode is "They Have Been, They Are and They Will Be."

 

Not alot of doubt where they cribbed that from.

 

How about "Strange World?" Our hero, working for USAMRIID is consulting on crimes using extremely advanced science. It was pretty much "Fringe" only without the ridiculous conflicts built in between the characters. I enjoyed it alot. My favorite moment in "Strange World" was when the discover that some one is cloning human body parts for organ replacement. And where do they find this beating but disembodied human heart? In a jar in a lab? NO. They find it when they give an ultrasound to the woman who's being going to a fertility clinic of last resort. She was willing to put up will all kinds of pain and discomfort if it meant she could have a bady. When they run the ultrasound it isn't the bad she can feel kicking... it's the beating human heart.

 

THAT completely squicked me.

 

Or what about "Ultraviolet?" The Brit TV series, not the crappy movie. It's UK government agents vrs. Vampires, but at least the vampires are something new. Not one fang to be found among them... and why not? Fangs are not in the folklore. THat's Bram Stoker's b.s. It may not be Lovecraftian, but its a good look at how a police proceedural would be impacted by the supernatural.

 

Or even "Millenium?" The first two seasons are gold. The last season is poop. The slow build from Serial-Killer-of-the-Week to "Holy Crap! evil exists as a force outside of man!" was very well done, in my opinion. And who doesn't love a series with Lance Henriksen and Terry O'Quinn?

 

Plus, it had a couple epsiodes where south american Nazis are fighting the Millenium Group over a peice of the True Cross. Come on... you can't beat that with a stick.

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Tigger_MK4
Or even "Millenium?" The first two seasons are gold. The last season is poop.

 

 

Actually, with due respect to Mr Glancy, whose work I admire, I'd invert that - I'm a big fan of the third season but not the second.

 

However, I think we'd agree its worth checking out.

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Ktotwf

Well, I just watched some Lovecraftian television. The first I have ever seen in fact.

 

Not even "Lovecraftian-esque", but an actual story taking place within the Cthulhu Mythos.

 

It was an 80's Twilight Zone episode called "Gramma", based on a story by Stephen King, about a boy who is terrified of his dying grandmother.

 

They slowly reveal that his dying Grandma is some sort of horrible monstrosity, and halfway through the episode the boy digs under the floorboards and finds the Necronomicon and his Grandma's diary of Yog-Sothoth witch cult practices.

 

I thought the Grandma was a Deep One based on her bizarre reptilian appearance, but the ending of the episode implies that she passed on her soul to her grandson, not something I think Deep Ones do.

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Dr_Locrian

I just recently watched the first six episodes of the late '70's series Sapphire & Steele. I'm absolutely amazed that I'd never heard of it before! I really loved the first story that takes place entirely in a house being invaded by strange beings from outside the "corridor" of time. And I hear that the series gets better from there, as it moves from being a kid oriented series into more adult territory.

 

BTW, is it just me, or is British children's television just ten times weirder and scarier than anything we Yanks had as kids?!

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Sinister-Ornament
BTW, is it just me, or is British children's television just ten times weirder and scarier than anything we Yanks had as kids?!

 

 

I've envious of you Dr_Locrian of the stories of Sapphire and Steel you haven't seen the best yet which to my mind is the second story (Set on a Railway Station) and the fourth(?) story which is set in a junk shop, both these stories still after repeated viewings still sends shivers up my spine.

 

Oh, and after you finished watching them you can get more stories on audio (a company called Big Finish does them – they have different people playing the leads though).

 

There is some great British Tv I'll do some name checks but its hard to work out if something is Lovecraftian or not. I mean I wouldn't have said Children of the Stones was, but I think atmosphere is a great help and it is sometimes worth watching something just for the one idea.

 

(The Owl Service, Moondial, The Box of Delights, Dramarama, Ultraviolet, The One Game, Oktober, Edge of Darkness, The Nightmare Man, The Day of the Triffids, The Stone Tape, Hammer House of Horror, Jekyll, Beasts)

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YunusWesley

Weirdness, aliens, terror, psi-powers?

 

Let's not forget The Tomorrow People. *Another* British show, rebroadcast on cable in the 80s, Stateside. I have no idea if it holds up, but it was serious nightmare fuel for me as a child.

 

just gave me the serious half-remembered flashback willies.

 

*edit* I flubbed the url previously.

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