Time traveling TV children#SFWApro

I watched both one TV version and a film adaptation of TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN (1987 and 1999 respectively), Philippa Pearce’s story about a boy staying with relatives who stumbles through time into the beautiful Victorian garden that existed when the apartment building was a manor house. This is sweet, but too slow-paced to work well on screen (I recall liking the book better); the movie is the superior production simply for having less running time (plus Joan Plowright as the elderly neighbor whose secret is quite obvious). “Hatty will grow up—she hasn’t a choice.”

91WoFklIzML._SL1500_MOONDIAL is another 1980s production, in which a young girl terrified her injured mother won’t recover finds that when the moon strikes a sundial at a nearby manor house, it transports her back in time to help out two kids of the past (one Victorian, one Georgian) with their own troubles. This is shot for maximum eeriness, but the plot is too slight for me (it’s trying for more substance than Tom’s Midnight Garden but doesn’t make it). And why exactly does the evil governess of the 1700s (Jacqueline Pearce) look like the crazy parapsychologist in the present—I kept expecting a reveal that never came. All rights to image with current holder “I am still here—at least the mirror tells me that.”

Moving on to better British kidvid, JOHNNY AND THE BOMB adapts one of Terry Pratchett’s stories about a group of kids who jump back to WW II after mishandling bag lady Zoe Wanamaker’s “bags of time” and discover that because of their time meddling, 19 people died in their neighborhood during the Blitz. Can they fix things? Familiar stuff to me, of course, but well done. “I think you’d call it a race against time—and time just lost.”

TIME SQUAD was a one-joke Cartoon Network series but a good joke: the protagonists have to fix history when it goes off the rails, which means, for example, stopping Eli Whitney from building flesh-eating robots instead of a cotton gin, or getting DaVinci out of his Beatnik phase (“His art isn’t representational, it’s more like post-WW II expressionism!”). Goofy but entertaining. “The wildest, daddio—crazy wild!”

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Filed under Now and Then We Time Travel, TV

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