Back when I was in college I had the great fortune to spend a semester abroad in London, England. It was an incredible experience, and what I remember the most from my time there was the almost overwhelming sense of history that pervaded every stone, every brick in the city and the outlying towns. But the best moment had to be when I visited Stonehenge. Im sure its the romantic in me, but being near those stones made me feel like maybe there was a little magic still left in the world.
I was hoping to recapture that feeling with Children of the Stones, a seven-episode science fiction/supernatural thriller that originally aired on British television in 1977 then was later shown on American television in the 1980s on the Nickelodeon show The Third Eye. The show is a huge mishmash of folklore, science, and superstitions, and while its easy to see why its considered such a cult classic, unfortunately it just fell flat for me.
The obvious reason why this was is because the show was intended for childrenâ€”or at least young adultsâ€”and I havent been either for quite some time now. However, Ive found that a good story is a good story regardless of its intended audience, but theres something about this show that doesnt quite click with me. The acting is fineâ€”if unspectacularâ€”as is the directing and the writing, but it doesnt quite come together.
Astrophysicist Adam Brake, along with his son Matt, travels to the small English town of Milbury to study a megalithic stone circle. While theyre there they discover that the stones have unusual magnetic properties that might have something to do with Ley Linesâ€”the mythic lines of psychic energy that connect sacred places. More startling, though, is the way some people in Milbury act: theyre happy all the time in that kind of vacant, disturbing Stepford Wives kind of way that makes you think that something just isnt right.
The show does a fairly good job of building up the tension and mystery, and in some ways it reminds me of some of my favorite novels when I was a kid, like Madeline LEngles A Wrinkle in Time. In fact, I would recommend this for those with children except that the production quality is quite low, and todays kids may find it boring, or at least difficult to get involved in. In the end its just good enough that I dont feel like I completely wasted my time watching it, but its not good enough for me to recommend.
The show is presented in 4:3 Full Screen with the audio in Dolby Digital, and both show their age. The quality reminds me of old soap operasâ€”not necessarily bad, mind you, but certainly not very attractive.
Interview with Gareth Thomas (15:25) – The interview is rather boring, but at times its downright frustrating because they did not mike the interviewer, so it was very difficult to hear the questions.
Interview with Director-Producer Peter Graham Scott (15:09) – This time the interviewer was miked, but I found this interview rather boring as well. I wouldnt check it out unless youre a serious fan of the show.
While this show isnt bad, its not quite good, either. It has its moments, but honestly if I didnt have to review it, I would have stopped watching after the first episode. It could be that Im not the best qualified to judge this considering Im 29, have never seen it, and have no kids. I would say that if youve seen it and have fond memories, then check it out, otherwise dont bother. Not recommended.
Acorn Media presents Children of the Stones. Directed by Peter Graham Scot. Starring Gareth Thomas, Veronica Strong, Peter Demin, Katharine Levy. Written by Jeremy Burnham and Sidney Sager. Running time: 174 minutes. Rated NR. Released on DVD: January 20, 2009. Available at Amazon.