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The Stranger - Summoned by Shadows

episode 1

UK 1992
produced by
directed by Bill Baggs
starring Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Michael Wisher, John Wadmore, Heather Tracy, Jon Sayers, Helen Hewlett, Tim Bishop, Julian Boote
written by Christian Darkin, music by Duncan Cave, special effects by Derek Handley, Mark Readman, Bryan Sharpe, Mike Tucker, Crawford Wilson


review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Some post-nuclear world (I suppose): When Tanya (Heather Tracy) is abducted by the Illusionist, her boyfriend, deaf-mute Dane (John Wadmore) turns to the only man likely to help, he who appears, otherwise known as the Stranger (Colin Baker). However, since having bween left by his companion Ms Brown (Nicola Bryant), the Stranger lives the life of a hermit and cares little about humankind - but then something interests him about the boy's story ...

Meanwhile, Tanya is brought to the crash site of a spaceship where she, like dozens other abductees of the Illusionist, is to find certain components that might be needed - and when she succeeds in finding the one vital component, she is brought to the mansion next-door, where everyone seems to be having an ever-lasting party, including Ms Brown, apparently, yet she suspects that there's something going on behind the happy facade, and eventually she persuades Tanya to make an escape from the premises with her ...

Dane and the Stranger find the abode of the Controller (Michael Wisher), who's apparently an alien stranded on the planet who uses the locals to help him salvage spareparts from his landing pod to build a matter transmitter to send him back to his ship orbiting the planet, and he uses illusions to make everything work. Thing is of course, he has little compassion for the local humankind and once he would be back on his ship and leave, it would burn out his victims' brains. With Tanya's find, the Controller has gathered the final component for his matter transmitter, and now he forces the Stranger to build one for him and send him back to his ship - yet something goes wrong, and instead of simply transmitting the Controller, the machine destroys the ship and the Controller with it. All the illusions disappear (and the humans under the influence with them, I suppose, but that's not made clear), but Ms Brown and Tanya have made it out just in time and are reunited with their partners.


A piece of rather esoteric science fiction that really can't (and doesn't try to) deny its Doctor Who-influences - and compared to this show it has both its virtues and its vices: compared to the TV-show, Colin Baker is given a way more nuanced, way more interesting (and way less annoyingly dressed) character, the basic plot is more interesting than almost anything that was on Doctor Who during the 1980's, and it has a certain rough and edgy look that made up the show's best episodes but got lost the longer it ran. On the negative side though, Summoned by Shadows is way too short (at about 35 minutes) to give the plot a chance to fully develop, the finale seems a bit rushed, and too many questions are left unanswered. Yet it's still worth a look, though mainly for Doctor Who-fans (yet probably not Doctor Who-purists) who understand all the references.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
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... and for the life of it,
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



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