Monday 24 May 2010

TV Remakes I'd like to see

First, a quick plug. This week's article was brought to you thanks to the Internet Radio stylings of Mr James Black and Miss Sarah Perkin over at Black N' Beard Radio on Sunlight. Listen here every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Remakes are everywhere at the moment, with a TV remake of The Prisoner starring Ian McKellen (or Magneto/Gandalf) and V, the super-shonky alien invasion TV series from the 1980s that starred a much younger Michael Ironside (Rasczak from Starship Troopers/Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell). It's clear that remakes are quite the order of the day currently. This week, I'll be making a list of TV series that I'd quite like to see remade for the new generation, along with a suggestion of who I think would be an effective host for the show.

The Crystal Maze

The Crystal Maze was first released in 1990, and ran for five years. The series is set in "The Crystal Maze", which is set within four different "zones" set in various periods of time and space. A team of six contestants take part in a selection of challenges in order to win "time crystals". Each crystal gives the team five seconds of time inside "The Crystal Dome", the heart of the maze where the contestants take part in their final challenge.

The Crystal Maze was a great series from back in the early 1990s where people were actually challenged in order to win their prizes. Nowadays, we're forced to sit through Justin Lee Collins flipping coins for cash prizes, because apparently despite the recession we're just aching to give TV show prize money to the mediocre.

On another ranting note, I got sent an invite on Facebook today for Geek/Nerd Pride Day 2010. However surprising this may be, I will NOT be attending. Why, you may ask? Simple: I'm proud to be a geek every fucking day of my life. If I wasn't, I'd be hard pushed to convincingly make a case for the return of The Crystal Maze.

What made this series great was the original host, Richard O'Brien. He was charismatic, he was funny and he played the harmonica. As awesome TV hosts go, you really didn't get much better. How, then, do you match greatness like Richard O'Brien's? The main points are simple: The new host has to be enthusiastic, especially as O'Brien was always zipping about the place with a gusto like no other. He also has to look comfortable in a trenchcoat, as we can negate the harmonica playing simply as few people really play it nowadays anyway, let alone TV personalities. I've chosen to go with actor and seemingly awesome guy David Tennant.

Think about it. He's got West End acting experience, just like O'Brien. We've seen how he looks in a trenchcoat, and frankly it's dashing (not quite enough to 'turn' me, but I can appreciate a dapper chap without feeling gay). He's got that enthusiasm, as his performance as the Doctor indicated pretty clearly. As if that wasn't enough, and you need convincing on the E14 Factor, he's appeared at Comic-Con thanks to Doctor Who!


Gamesmaster was a show that ran from 1992 to 1998, and essentially represented in many ways the absolute limit to celebrity that gamers should hope for in a fair and just world. Sadly, though I'm much against it, so-called 'professional' gamers seem to be able to garner celebrity, with one particular example, Fatal1ty, the figurehead for it. How delusional are these people? Well, he got given a Lifetime Achievement by the eSports Award after four years. I know the lifespan of a 'professional' gamer would be significantly reduced based on their seeming reluctance to do proper sports, but a Lifetime Achievement award after four years? Maybe for a Fence Lizard, but not for a person, surely!

The reasons to bring this one back should be obvious. Aside from the fact that modern CG wouldn't make the Gamesmaster look like a low-budget burns victim, video gaming has never been at both its most popular and its most multiplayer-accessible, with many party games now available. What with all the musical instrument games, as well as the more party based games like the karaoke games and movie quizzes, there's plenty of scope for multiplayer games in that sort of vein as well as the Call of Duty games and the Halos. With games available for all palates, there's even the possibility of separate divisions for different types of player.

As for the hosting duties, this one has to be two-fold, as the show technically had two hosts for the show. There was the main show host, which switched between Dominic Diamond and Dexter Fletcher and then back to Diamond, and there was the Gamesmaster himself, originally played by Patrick Moore.

For the role of the show host, I've chosen the great Nick Frost of Spaced and Hot Fuzz fame. I'm sure there's another film he's known for...It escapes me at the moment. Anyway, he'd be a perfect fit, especially as he strikes me as the kind of guy who plays games in his free time. One of the things I always find difficult to watch is a television show host who has no idea or no interest in what he's presenting on, and regrettably this was also true of the Gamesmaster himself, Patrick Moore. It was fairly clear that he didn't have any interest in games whatsoever. The host, therefore, that I've chosen for this next one deserves an introduction worthy of professional wrestling, so here goes.

Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you at the present time the host of E14 sponsored Gamesmaster programming. He is a successful movie star, as well as a keen gamer. His games of choice include World of Warcraft, and he has been a D&D gamer for 20 years, and even contributed to the game's 30th anniversary book (if that doesn't win him the E14 Factor I don't know what does). Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you....The Man...The Legend...VIIINNNNNNNNN DIIIIEEEEEEEEESSSEEEEELLLLL!!
You KNOW it makes sense.


Most E14ies will not need to be introduced to the concept of Knightmare, but for those who are not in the know, I will do my best to describe the plot without just gushing about how fucking awesome it was. The game consisted of a team of four kids trying to navigate their way through a particularly shonky looking dungeon with the help of the immortal awesomeness figure that is Tregard, or Hugo Myatt as he is known outside of the series. Incidentally, my respect for TV show presenters Dick and Dom has gone up immeasurably since I found out that they had Hugo Myatt on as a special guest on their show. Legendary.

The main draw of Knightmare was the hilariously cheesy action from episode to episode, as well as watching kids develop what my co-writer Brad Harmer refers to as "left-right dyslexia", where they temporarily mix up which direction is which. Not quite Indiana Jones, these kids. I can only imagine how that film franchise might be different if Dr. Jones had suffered from the same affliction. The intro sequence would have been shorter, as I guess the franchise itself would have been as well.

Who, then, would be appropriate to play the titular roles of Tregard and the villain, Lord Fear? Presumably you'd want two people familiar with the experience of role-playing games. You'd also probably want them to be used to trying to outdo each other at every opportunity. Better yet, you'd want two people who are experienced at hating each other's faces. Where are you going to find two people like that, I wonder?

Easy. Brad Harmer and Robert Wade of Emotionally Fourteen.

I cannot emphasise enough how serious I am about this. Brad and I would be awesome hosts for a new version of Knightmare. Let's skip the obvious fact that it would give us that leg-up into the public domain that this site so sorely deserves. I mean, we've got so many awesome segments it makes my face bleed! Not literally, you understand, but almost - it trickles occasionally. The main reason I can say with such certainty that we'd be good at hosting a funny and entertaining role-playing experience is simple:

It's called Dickass DM. We do it every other Friday. It is, to quote a famous philosopher, "the tits".

An ancient land is bombarded by a terrifying meteor storm. As the fireballs wreak havoc, no one can foresee this is just the beginning of a horrendous nightmare, with an invasion of demonic dragons about to be unleashed upon the world.

In a desperate battle to survive, two warring kingdoms must put aside their bitter rivalry and combine forces. King Fastrad (John Rhys-Davies) calls on the deadliest hunters to face their fears and take on the greatest prey ever seen.

In the ultimate battle for humanity, can the dragon slayers save their people from annihilation?

Thanks to our friends at Revolver Entertainment, we've got a copy of Dragon Storm to give away! For your chance of winning it, send us an e-mail to with your name and postal address before midday on Monday 31st May (UK time). The first name drawn out of the electronic hat will win a free copy!

1 comment:

  1. First off, thankyou very much for the kind words about Black n Beard radio show, weve always believed that word of mouth is the most powerful, which is why we do plug on the show, so it is an honour for us to be mentioned on the almighty site.

    Second of all, I COULDNT AGREE MORE WITH ALL OF THE CHOICES ABOVE. TV has slipped below par for me to pay any attention to it - with of course the exception of Total Wipeout and Come Dine With Me - these game shows are needed! I was also rather keen on The Generation Game with Brucie.

    Perhaps I should write to challenge TV demanding reruns - Crystal Maze is still broadcast, occassionally i find knightmare and Gamesmater - a favourite show of mine from my 'youth' is no longer aired.

    I also want to add to the pile of re-makes 'Finders Keepers' with Neil Buchanan. A team of kids trashing a house.. it was awesome. Especially if overdubbed with the thrash metal band Municiple Waste - Trust me it works..

    Ive also seen that you can purchase 'home recorded' dvd of knightmare.. so i guess in the annals of time, this is how it will be best remembered. E14's and DVD piraters the world alike.

    i love you both muchly.. e14 slightly more. i think - for both keeping the spirit of true epicness alive. oh and a sligh grip on my ever escaping youth - should have used stronger rope.