Its either 1993 or 1994 – whenever they showed it on bbc2. i was in my early teens and had dinner by the glow of st:tng, memories of quantum leap in my impressionable head. from what i remember i was allowed to stay up to watch wild palms, or my newly divorced parents felt some obscure science fiction would help me cope. i got to watch it is my point, and i liked it. i bought the dvd for my brother for his birthday and on a recent trip to visit him, included it in the bag of booty i ‘borrowed’.
i’ve just finished watching it – and i still love it, a thousand years later. it was disappointing to begin with. i admit that. there’s nothing like 15 years to sweeten a memory. not even the possibility that i would get to see kim catrall topless before her tits were famous (she doesn’t btw).
firstly, the music. ryuchi sakamoto, apart from having an awesome name, wrote an excellent theme. sadly the 90’s synth doesn’t really date that well, but try to imagine it being performed by an orchestra. as a matter of fact – the whole series doesn’t date that well. its set in 2007, that at the time seemed as certain to have jetpacks as 2934 does today. but you won’t be worrying about the dating – you’ll be freaking out over the appalling performance of belushi (its some of the worst acting put to film, he’s the lead). again, put that aside (too, the performances of most of the cast) – but the plot is almost solid.
i normally gauge somethings celebrity by its wikipage. the creator has none worth mentioning, wild palms has a plot outline of the first 15mins by someone who enjoys playing with english like a baby plays with its nappies. the plot is actually a thinly based attack on schmientology (l-ron is robert loggia. it must have been rated pg because during an aggressive rant he says ‘flipping’ instead of ‘fucking your mother’). but its also a weak attack on the media and society at large – i say weak, because it is.
the secondary characters are solid though. there’s the black guy from ghostbusters, the kid from the wonder years’ little brother, lillian from frasier and a couple others one of whom i thought was joey pants. actually, one of my favourite actors is in it – brad dourif (but thats only because he played piter de vries in dune). oh and catrall is quite good.
the plot isn’t great – but it has some fantastic highlights, many of which aren’t even explained – an integration of japanese culture, nanotechnology and the ‘go chip’, excellent use of style (see gattaca) and some thing with a rhino.
the reason i love it is because its so different, and in parts doesn’t make that much sense – leaving lots of room to think and wonder why people drive around in cars from the 50’s. it still has a place in my sci-fi heart and i’d recommend watching. if you want to borrow it, let me know.