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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Children > British TV > Children Of The Stones (1977/Acorn DVD)

Children Of The Stones (1977/Acorn DVD)


Picture: D†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: C†††† Episodes: C-



A cult classic from the time of its original broadcast back in 1977, Children of the Stones has two things going against it: first, 30 plus years later it hasnít aged well and, second, it does not transfer well from the UK to the US.


Children of the Stones is a 7-part science fantasy series conceived for older children and very much a product of its times.Audience-wise, think Doctor Who.Its influences are diverse and myriad: besides the Doctor, there is The Prisoner, Dark Shadows, The Avengers, The Village of the Damned, sci-fi pulp novels of the 50ís and 60ís, and many more.Besides fantasy and sci-fi elements, there is an overriding feeling of the supernatural.


Unfortunately, this show wouldnít scare a nit off a nun.


A large part of the problem may be traced to production values, which are on the level of obscure low-budget Hammer films, the ones yet to make it to DVD.†† Though targeted to tweens, its immediate appeal was to the kidult audience; see Doctor Who, above.What seems to have driven its cult status is a certain nostalgia perhaps better left unresolved.It was produced as a weekly half hour serial and in that it, too, resembled Who.


The plot centers around a young man, Adam Brake, and his astrophysicist father who go to the small town of Milbury (standing in for the real life village of Avebury) to study a ring of ancient stones that surround it.The seven episodes chronicle their adventures, replete with cliffhanger endings, dealing the happy zombies the villagers have become, and allying themselves with the local museum curator and her daughter, who serve has counterparts for the Brakes.The soundtrack is repetitive and jarring, the camera zooms annoying, and the special effects as un-special as might be imagined.


To be fair, Children of the Stones is all about atmosphere and, on the occasions when it works, it can be arresting.The whole is, in equal measure, a blend of ancient folklore, contemporary science, and a sizable dose of hooey.†† Black holes, mystic rituals, and supernatural events, scored to cultish chanting, all seemingly orchestrated by the mysterious village leader, Kendrick, in the end add up to one of the biggest cop-outs ever.Of course, this sort of ambiguity was big back in the day, but somehow whatís conjured here makes ďThe Fall OutĒ episode of The Prisoner seem crystal clear.


At best, it is a mild, if dated, diversion.


Those who enjoyed the series swear by it.There are those, like myself, that simply swear at it.Truly, this is one you must see for yourself.Or not.You decide.There are many fans of this show and they canít all be wrong.





-†† Don Wentworth


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