Well, one of the things I said this blog was going to be about was cult TV shows and you can't get much more cult than The Dreamstone, a British animated series that aired for four years between 1990 and 1995 and currently ranks in my top five favourite TV shows of all time.
The show can genuinely be called a global cult phenomenon: a completely original concept with fully realized, lovingly rendered characters including a truly horrific villain, a complex and involving mythology, and an epic, fully orchestrated score by Mike Batt (the man behind "Bright Eyes", one of the most haunting and moving pop songs of all time); superbly written, animated and voice acted, it aired in a number of non-English-speaking territories including Germany, Brazil, Israel and Russia, but sadly never broke the States despite an alternative pilot made for the US market featuring the voice of one Christian Bale. Despite the astonishing statistic that at the peak of its popularity five million people were tuning in to watch it every week in the UK alone, it sadly petered out after four seasons, became mired in rights issues, has never been re-aired and has slipped inexorably into obscurity.
The internet age has brought about a resurgence of nostalgia for old TV shows through sites such as Toonhound and tv.com, and a small but die-hard fan community for The Dreamstone has sprung up with several fan sites, the above-referenced Wikipedia article and even an IMDB page. The main hub for fans of the show is the personal forum of its creator Mike Jupp, who in my opinion can only be described as a visionary genius.
Although a couple of DVDs have been released, most of the show's episodes are unavailable, although several have been upped onto YouTube. One of the most interesting fan productions has been the contribution of the graphic artist DS_Dreamer who has created a level for Little Big Planet based on the show, as part of the coursework for a computer game design course:
I believe that I may be one of only a handful of private individuals in the world to have almost every single episode of the series on VHS tape, and I've just bought a video conversion gadget with the aim of digitizing the whole thing. I've recently been watching it again with my eight-year-old daughter, who loves it too - proof that the show's quality endures. (I've recently discovered, much to my dismay, that I am missing just one episode: "Auntie Again", the first episode of season four. Does anyone have a complete copy of this episode and would they be willing to do me a dub of it? If so, get in touch!)
I've also been posting on many of the above-mentioned sites in an attempt to see the show revived in some fashion. Mike Jupp himself has said he would love to do a new CGI series, but as the rights to the show are currently owned by Cookie Jar, who seem to have no interest in it, any forward motion is stymied. I urge anyone who has fond memories of the show to get involved - join Jupp's forum, post positive comments on IMDB etc., and petition Cookie Jar to a) re-release the whole series on DVD and b) sell the rights back to Jupp so he can make a new series. A show this good doesn't deserve to languish in obscurity.