Sunday, 24 November 2013

Chocky (1984)

For people growing up in the UK (and Commonwealth countries) during the 70s and 80s, the names Doctor Who and The Tomorrow People are synonymous with TV science fiction. Both have virulent fan bases (though I can only assume fans of the latter have never re-watched the show, as it's pretty terrible). I'm not sure why Chocky didn't strike the same chord with audiences. Maybe because it came out in 1984, and there had been a generational change by then. More likely, I think, it was that Chocky (and its sequels) were self-contained six episode mini-series, rather than ongoing serials that ran for many years.

Whatever the reason, it's a shame that Chocky isn't better known, because - despite some hammy acting from secondary characters, and a rather slow-paced narrative - it's a solid show. It focuses on Matthew Gore, the adopted son of David and Mary Gore, and what happens when 12-year old Matthew finds himself unexpectedly bound to an alien intelligence, which seeks to learn about our world. This intelligence is the titular 'Chocky', and much of the show is taken up with Matthew's parents and their concerns about their son's 'imaginary friend'. Chocky's arrival is clearly effecting Matthew, causing him to ask strange questions, paint strange paintings, and so forth. Yet none of the changes seem malevolent, and of course for much of the show it's assumed they are coming from Matthew himself, rather than another

I guess the introspective, family-centered narrative is another possible explanation for the lack of people nostalgic for Chocky. The other two shows were very much adventure based, while this is squarely a drama. Even when shadowy figures become interested in Matthew, we don't get chase scenes and action. It will be interesting to see if that changes in the sequel series (which I will watch over the coming weeks).

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled upon this show a year or so ago and was hooked from the opening titles and glued to the screen through each episode. I find it hard to describe what it is that is so good about it. It reminds me of how I felt watching "All summer in a day" when it came on HBO in 1982. There is a certain tone to the sci-fi in the story that is so subtle, most should miss it completely, but for those who it isn't lost on it will inexplicably mean more them than is rational.