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25th December 2014
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My Science Fiction Life

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Kept it real

Hengist-Pod writes about Star Cops

Chris Boucher


TV: Star Cops.
Creator: Chris Boucher

Encapsulated. Would you recommend this? why?

A solidly researched and depicted vision of the "High Frontier" combined with good storytelling, with interesting plots and characters.

Time and Space: When and where I first encountered it

Aged 23, saw the original 1987 broadcast and taped them. Then wore those tapes out.

Recollection and revelations

Don't remember how I discovered it, could have been BBC trailers, Radio Times, or through one of several SF Media magazines I used to subscribe to. We were introduced to the High Frontier through the viewpoint of David Calder's character, Nathan Spring, a detective who preferred human intuition over computerised probability and thus was at odds with his colleagues, and had never been "out there" in space. The first episode saw him manoeuvred by his politically ambitious boss into the post of head of the fledgling Star Cops. We learned about life in space from Nathan's perspective, shared his irritation at little things like having to velcro himself to a wall to get to sleep in zero-g. We watched him negotiate through a tangled jungle of political and corporate intrigues and begin to mould the the previously ridiculed Star Cops into a more effective force. And we saw him and his team solve crimes too. Both then and now the depictions of the information technology felt real and functional; every TV is also an internet and email terminal, Nathan's pocket-sized electronic confidant Box is a suped-up uber-PDA, virtual video characters answer phones and act as personal secretaries. Re-watched after more then 10 years and the ideas still felt fresh.

Before this...


Gerry Anderson's puppet series from 1983 to 1984. Looking back now it seems almost a pastiche of previous Anderson offerings such as Stingray, Thunderbirds and U.F.O.

After This

Babylon 5

This is one of the finest pieces of television science fiction. Complex interweaving plot lines contrast the growth and change of the various central characters and their respective cultures set against a vast background of galaxy-spanning interstellar war. Magnificent stuff.

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Highly recommended

We asked some of our top contributors to suggest their favourite tales on the site. Here's a few of the ones they picked:

paulvonscott likes this memory of Day of the Triffids
"It's great to be a thicky!"

Lostinthought recommends this writer on Ringworld
"Excellent piece on the book and author."

Eloise_R likes a contribution about The Chrysalids
"Couldn't have said it better myself, and didn't!"

Paulg1974 likes this wry take on Crime Traveller
"Things like this can only be made due to the unique way the BBC is funded..."

darrenhf liked this personal account of Red Dwarf
"Red Dwarf is part of a marriage now."

Sourdust appreciated an analysis of Invasion of the Body Snatchers
"Exposes the shallowness of the lazy critical orthodoxy."

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