sugoll (sugoll) wrote,

Sapphire and Steel

We've just finished watching the complete Sapphire and Steel, which katlinel eventually managed to track down for my birthday ("Out now? Not in any shops round here!").

I'd seen it once before, when first broadcast, but the only things I could remember were:
  • The title sequence, sort of.
  • A man with no face, who's in every photo ever.
  • A ghostly solider on a railway platform, whistling.
  • Silver turned up, too.
And that was it. And those might have been wrong.

It turned out to be great viewing. Assignments 1 and 2 were excellent - very claustrophobic, with good use of lighting and simple video effects. With assignment 2, I was starting to wonder whether you'd need to change much at all, if remounting as a stage play.

Assignment 3, leaping into ATV colour, is where it all falls down quite a bit. The change in setting is effective, but the attempts to move physical objects were laughably poor. A pillow on a string! A blatently puppet swan! Oh, dear. And dear God, what is Sapphire wearing?

Assignment 4 pulls it back, returning to the "old stuff from the past" concept, and mixing in old children's rhymes again (as did assignment 1). Much better.

Assignment 5 takes another chance, giving Our Heroes undercover roles to play, sort of, in a take-off of a murder mystery trope. It also includes a very nice effect, wherein Steel moves from one location to another magically, and we see it from his point of view for a change. Impressive.

Which brings us to the end, in assignment 6. More strained, here. More creepy. But enjoyable all the same. And a classic British sf ending.

I liked the characters, too - Sapphire, with her analysis, her gentle approach, and her affection for Steel, and Steel, with his surly nature, his clomping about and shouting orders, and frankly relying on Sapphire to do almost all the heavy lifting. There were nice hints of actual relationships, and just exactly who and what Sapphire and Steel are is nicely mysterious, with lots of almost-information.

Glad to see that it all holds up very well (okay, so assignment 3's effects are rubbish - but I bet they were rubbish then, too).

Tags: sapphire and steel, sf, tv
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