Arthur C. Clarke's paranormal TV series nostalgia
12 February 2009
I used to watch many TV documentaries during the 1980s and 1990s. Discovery Channel was my favorite channel back then. Not any longer. Since the late 1990s a bizarre trend emerged among many documentary producers: to shoot and edit MTV style. Shaky camera movements, rapid zoom ins/outs, fast forwarding, flashing bright screens between shots and other head-spinning effects makes such documentaries completely unwatchable. Some of these modern "documentaries" are such a tasteless mixture of disjointed footage, music and effects that I actually wrote a few complains to the TV channels that showed them.
To remedy the situation I started watching my old collection of VHS documentaries which I recorded in 1980s and 1990s. Amazing the difference it makes to watch a documentary with steady footage and an intelligent and unobtrusive narration with fitting music. An enjoyable experience that also leaves room for thinking. Since my VHS collection is rather small I started looking for older documentary series on DVD. I found two of my favorite paranormal shows that I used to watch years ago, and they are certainly as good now as they were back then. Actually they seem even better, as they are free of all those annoying effects.
Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World is perhaps the best known of Arthur C. Clarke's TV series. Thirteen episodes investigating the unexplained from around the world: UFOs, Stonehenge, Bigfoot, lake and sea monsters, Nazca lines, the Tunguska event and many others. Some of the sequences and their eerie music are deeply symbolic and full of mystery, which really adds to the mood and atmosphere. The series was first shown in September 1980 in UK and is available on amazon.co.uk for only about £10 (13 episodes on two DVDs).
Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious Universe is another well known TV series investigating the unexplained and paranormal phenomena. It was first broadcasted in 1994 in the UK and had 18 episodes. Unfortunately the DVD edition only contains 6 episodes but they are still worth their high quality.
Finally there is the Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers from the mid 1980s, which goes deeper into the paranormal. Unfortunately I could not find this one on DVD. Hopefully it will be released in the near future for the audience who enjoys quality documentaries.
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