September 20 - October 4, 1986

1986 has not been a good year for the list. There were no superhero cartoons, there weren't a ton of blockbuster films and the juggernaut that was Star Trek: the Next Generation had not yet begun. By the time we get to the fall of the year, there are only 2 tv series to view: Ewoks season 2 and Doctor Who series 23 "The Trial of a Timelord".

This week saw me watch 2 episodes of each of those series and 2 movies.

Folks, Ewoks is not a great series. By season 2, the show had been dumbed down even more than last season and was very clearly aimed at a very young audience. Episode 3, "The Raich", sees Wicket take a magic hat from a tree. This breaks the spell the shaman Logray had placed upon the monster which turned it into that tree. Wicket, being a proud young warrior, did not want the elders to know he had done such a stupid thing, and convinces his friends to try to fight the monster without the help of the adults. Eventually he learns his lesson and they all live happily ever after. The amount of magic the Ewoks use seems counter to the Star Wars universe and places it firmly in a fantasy realm that just doesn't hold up.

Episodes 4 and 5 of Trial of a Timelord has the Doctor on the stand having to defend himself for a crime he doesn't know he committed. In the framing sequences, the Timelord tribunal watches episodes of Doctor Who and yell a lot. I really do like Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor but he wasn't given great stories. His companion, Peri, is an American played by a Brit who seems to be the stereotypical screamer. Episode 5 is the beginning of her last story arc, and in her 2 years on the show, she hasn't left much of an impression. I watched this show back in the 80s but it really hasn't held up well in the ensuing 30 years.

For some reason, the Saturn Awards classified Crocodile Dundee as a fantasy movie. I guess Australia was a magical land in 1986. It's a fun comedy, with lines you remember and the beginning of a boost in the Australian tourism industry.

My pick of the week though is another movie from the Fantasy category of the Saturns. The Boy Who Could Fly is a sweet story of a girl whose family moved next door to an autistic boy. She befriends him at school, trying to get him to respond to her physically and verbally. After an accident on a field trip, she comes to believe that he can fly and saved her life. This could have been a Disney film of the era. It's a family-friendly, feel good film that would never have been made today. The are good performances from the young cast, including an 8 year old Fred Savage as her little brother. I wasn't expecting much from this film, but was pleasantly surprised by it. I found it on Dailymotion if you would like to check it out.

As always comments and questions are appreciated.

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