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Hamster's favourite TV shows while growing up

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Now I'm not going to go into kids cartoons (maybe in another list) but this is another of my horribly self-indulgent lists (see top PS3 games, board games, songs etc) which you're free to comment on or steal.

These are programmes that took a lot of my time and shaped my viewing, especially in that 10-16 year old period. They're in no order and I don't know how many I'll be doing yet.

So let's get started.


I moved to Japan 3 and a half years ago and a year and a half before that I finally got a job which meant that I'd never be able to tune in at 5.35pm on a weekday night to watch the only Soap Opera I've ever followed religiously.

My theory was always that in Eastenders, Mother Theresa could turn up and start living there and within a year she'd be married, divorced, have had a couple of abortions, been made bankrupt and got arrested for selling drugs at the Queen Vic. However in Neighbours the Devil himself, with a year, would be a happy and friendly, much-loved member of the community, playing the Tuba with Harold and helping the kids with their homework.

Put simply, Neighbours was total escapism. For a start it's from sunny Australia where they speak funny, where it always seems to be hot, where there are pool parties, games of cricket in the road, BBQs in the street and school uniform rules are slack. While there were serious storylines they were generally seen through relatively quickly and 99% of the time (minus the deaths required for actors to be able to quit) everything finished happily. Neighbours told a good story with likeable characters. Even the villainous characters (like Evil Darcy) were brilliant and more pantomime than the grotty, miserable bunch in Eastenders or Corrie.

Some of my happy Neighbours memories include:

+ The Ramsays and Robinsons feuding over who Ramsay Street should have really been named after, but amongst it all Charlene Ramsay (Kylie Minogue) and Scott Robinson falling in love, Romeo and Juliet style.

+ Joe Mangel (Mark Little), his crazy old mother Mrs Mangel and his wife who got shot while out campagining against people who were shooting ducks.

+ Having the TV guts to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH2zx9lcV44.

+ Natalie Imbruglia as Beth.

+ Todd getting hit by the car and it making the news.

+ The brilliance of Jim Robinson.

+ Three different actresses playing Lucy Robinson.

+ Karl and Susan Kennedy with their kids, including


+ Super-nerd Lance and his even nerdier girlfriend who sets him geeky trials to win her heart.

+ ALL the totty. Seriously, Neighbours was a conveyor belt of attractive women. I could do a top 20 list of them too but you'd all argue with my choices.

+ A few episodes where you could hear Susan Kennedy's thoughts. That was amazing.

+ Harold Bishop going missing and then turning up years later working at the Salvation Army shop (I remember the episode where Madge - his former wife - found him in the shop). Of course they got married again.

+ Harold and Lou's grumpy old men routines.

+ Sarah

+ The 20 year anniversary episode which was fantastic and had Annalise shooting footage of the street and old characters coming back and then after she showed the video they all said "what should we call it?" and Harold said "Let's call it...Neighours". Utterly brilliant.

+ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMn-N1fy-e4.

+ Evil Pail Robinson.

+ The fact there were only about three places outside of their street that they ever filmed at.

The thing with a Soap Opera though is that there are just so many episodes that it's not like a standard TV series that you can own boxsets for. They kind of ran a "series" each year that was about 10 months long I think with 5 episodes a week of 25 minutes. That's over 100 hours a "series". I would LOVE to have boxsets from around '92-'2000 but there was great stuff from before and after it too. It's hard to think that I'll not get to see all the earlier stuff except for random youtube clips.

Yes, this is pretty much the standard this is going to be.... :shifty:

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The Crystal Maze


I don't need to talk about the Crystal Maze, I'm just going to show videos. I'll just give a quick synopsis.

+ Hour long, starting at 6pm.

+ Team of six is guided around four different "zones", undertaking challenges in each to win crystals.

+ Each crystal is worth 5 seconds in a big glass "crystal dome" where they will try to grab and gold foil being blown around.

+ Catch enough of these credits and you win a prize like a day's offroad biking or something equally average.

Oh, and it was hosted first by Richard O'Brien (of Rocky Horror fame) and then by Ed Tudor Pole (of Ten Pole Tudor band fame)

Brilliant lock-in. Vice Captain looked amused.

Richard O'Brien genius.

Then also this and this and a million other clips on youtube.

Question is, did ANYONE who watched this as a kid NOT want to go on it?

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Why am I always the first person to respond to these sort of things when you do it, Hammy? :shifty:

Anyway, no cartoons, eh? I'll define 'growing up' as before I was 18, then.

So then: (minus YouTube videos because 1) You can only post two clips, and 2) Don't want to be bothered to look for them.

1. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers

--Or at least the first two seasons. Giant robot fighting shit, kids that could magically transform...it was crazy. If you were nine. :shifty:

2. The Weather Channel's Tropical Update

--Now that your "Wait, what?" is over, let me put this into context. When I was 10 I lived in a 3 story condo. My room was on the top floor. I broke my leg in the summer of '95, and I couldn't go up stairs. So, my ass was on the sofa for a month. Since this was before the days of endless channels and daytime TV was shit for kids then, I ended up watching TWC. The beauty of it was it was in the middle of a busy hurricane season, and thanks largely to that it got me into meteorology.

3. WWF Monday Night Raw

--Hey, this was a staple of my childhood. I've forgotten so many stupid things they did....

Come to think of it, I didn't really watch much. I was too busy with the fledgling internet to care :shifty:

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It's hard to imagine a time where there anything other than an evil Paul Robinson.

I still watch Neighbours, at least, I did. I fell way, way behind. Probably like 6 months on UK time or something. I'll catch up eventually!

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I moved to Japan 3 and a half years ago and a year and a half before that I finally got a job which meant that I'd never be able to tune in at 5.35pm on a weekday night to watch the only Soap Opera I've ever followed religiously.

I'm not entirely sure if it would work in Japan, but you could try watching streams of Neighbours at http://neighbours.com.au/ if you're so inclined.

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Fucking love The Crystal Maze. I quote Richard O'Brien in that a lot, and my brother is obsessed with one guy in the opening sequence who does a really overdramatic "Get In!" gesture. Bloody love it.

Fun fact: It was originally supposed to be a British adaptation of Takeshi's Castle.

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Krypton Factor


Back when TV was cerebral and was the home of intelligent people. Krypton Factor was a search for the UK "Superperson" of the year.

In each round, four contestants would compete in a number of events including a Mental Agility round, Response (a round where they had to land an aeroplane in a full simulator), Observation (answering questions on a video clip or something), Intelligence (2 or 3D puzzle), General Knowledge...and then a big old obstacle course where they were staggered depending on gender (girls got a head start) and physical ability.

Basically though it was just a load of filler in between the brilliant flight sim round and obstacle course.



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Fucking love The Crystal Maze. I quote Richard O'Brien in that a lot, and my brother is obsessed with one guy in the opening sequence who does a really overdramatic "Get In!" gesture. Bloody love it.

Fun fact: It was originally supposed to be a British adaptation of Takeshi's Castle.

The sands of time are running out.

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You may have missed this one as it was only on for two series in the mid-90s.

Does this help jog anyone's memory?

It entailed three teams of two runners travelling throughout Great Britain (travel to other areas of the UK, including British islands, and Northern Ireland, was banned) on the run from a Tracker, with limited funds available for their travel and upkeep. For every day they managed to travel at least one square of the British national grid reference system, take a ten minute video diary, complete a task of some description, and avoid being spotted by their tracker; the team received £1,000. Every morning, their tracker was told where they had spent the previous night. The public were encouraged to phone in information to the trackers, but natural sympathy with the runners made information somewhat sparse and in the second series a bribe of a £1,000 reward was added to encourage people to phone in. The runners themselves could, and did, arrange for their friends and family to send in false leads.

At the end of every week, the runners had to spend 1 hour in a specific phone box of their own choice, connected by video link to a central studio, while their Tracker attempted to find them live on air. The tracker was told which grid square on the map the runners were in. If the door of the phone box was opened by the tracker, the runners were eliminated; if not, even if the Tracker managed to see them but not open the door of the phone box, they won the prize for that week.

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The first three basically defined eras of my childhood. Loved Neighbours, Crystal Maze even more, and TKF was easily one of my favourite TV programmes at that time.....outside of 999, with Michael Buerk I guess.

Aah, 999 was quality. I'll always remember the Dead Ringers jokes about it, "Hello and welcome to 999; You've Been Framed with first-aid advice."

Used to totally fucking love Neighbours from the very late 1980's until I first moved house about two years ago. Then I got out of the habit of watching it and havne't watched a single minute since. Its strange: I don't miss it at all, yet I do have some very fond memories of it.

My list would read:

X-Men Animated


There were lots of other shows that I enjoyed, but those would be THE two shows from my youth before Star Trek:TNG came along.

Edited by Yoshihiro timmayyama
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....and on that note:

Star Trek: The Next Generation


Another of my very favourite 6pm weekday slot shows. If you're a generation older than me and a casual sci-fi viewer then of course you'll swear blind that the original series is best. If you're just a little younger than me, or maybe a huge sci-fi fan you'll probably say that Deep Space 9 is the best because of all the politics and wars and blah-di-blah (sorry I couldn't hear you over the sight of the ridiculous Ferenghi characters who annoyed me throughout that series). At least we're all agreed that Enterprise was no good. Voyager wasn't interesting to me.

However Next Gen was PERFECT time for me growing up. Loved it. Perfect little stories set amongst a big universe. Star Trek is great because there's order (military ranks, politics etc), humanity and sci-fi's best tool - loads of creative freedom.

As the series progressed you got to know the characters and see their evolving (definitely Data) and changing. Again it was more escapism which is exactly what you need in a dark and freezing cold winter evening after school.

I especially loved episodes set around the Holodeck or when Q was involved (basically because they could break the rules even more then). I wasn't a big fan of the Borg but really liked any dealings with the Romulans. Also, the show had Whoopie Goldberg and Dwight Schultz so it's an instant winner.

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To be fair I think one of the characters got addicted to smack or something at some point and I remember that being covered pretty well.

Anyway, onwards....

Yes this was kids TV but not a cartoon. Basically it took a team of four kids. Three of them would sit in some kind of grotto area with the "Dungeon master" (who was brilliantly cast) and the other would have a helmet put on his head so that he could only see directly below his feet. He'd then be taken off to some big warehouse or something but on their screen he would have been transported into a fantasy dungeon. The show used computer graphics to make it "look" like he was in a dungeon. They would then shout directional orders to him which he would follow (most of the time). It also cast actors as different beings he'd run into in the dungeon - beasties, helpful princesses, sneaky jesters, merchants etc etc. It was all a big maze with clues, items to pick up and use and death lurking around every corner. The kids stayed on the show until they succeeded in their quest (I don't think I ever saw that happen) or the helmeted member "died" in which case a new team would start. I remember that it was pretty tough at times and easy to make a mistake. At the end of the programme a bell would ring and the team would all be frozen leaving the dungeon master to encourage us to tune in again next week to see them carry on their quest.

It was amazing.

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