A few months ago, I bought the last two dvd sets of a three dvd set of a old british sci-fi tv series that was on from 1979 to 1982. It was called Sapphire and Steele. There’s a small cult following with its associated swag of websites, one of which is here.
Sapphire and Steele had a big impact on me when I was 12 or 13, which was when it aired in Malaysia. Due to my schooltimes, I quite often missed crucial episodes (and indeed missed all of the episodes that’s contained in the first DVD set which ironically I have not managed to obtain yet). This added to the sense of mystery that the series quite successfully maintains and is one of the reasons why it’s held on to minor cult status.
So when I bought the DVDs, I sat down and watched all them pretty much in one long sitting to discover, not surprisingly, that the poor special effects were worse than i remembered them to be and the plot and some of the dialogue is really quite terrible. However, I got a lot more out of watching Joanna Lumley as Sapphire then I did when I was younger. Her amused smirks at Steele’s tantrums, played by David McCallum, are well timed and archly cynical.
And the mystery is still maintained. You never do find out who Sapphire and Steele are, where their powers come from, who they are working for, how they get their assignments to fix breaches in the space-time continuum or even who their enemies are. And of course, as the tv series folded at the end of season cliffhanger during which they are trapped in what appears to be a pocket universe (as enclosed by a travell chess-set), you never get to find out their fates either.
It’s a bit like the Chtullhu mythos as originally written by Lovecraft. Dark hints about forbidden knowledge, then the descent into madness by the narrator before he can actually tell you what he learnt.