Mysterious Cities of Gold…Pas Deux?

I can’t remember why I liked The Mysterious Cities of Gold as a child. I do remember watching it on video cassette later on (and after we’d moved to Australia, wait, who remembers VHS?). I suppose it might have been part of the reason I grew to love history, as that’s certainly part of its attraction to me now. The original airings (according to the DVDs, unfortunately not the ones my parents’ recorded from BBC1 when we were in the UK) had a short segment following them about the actual history and facts about the regions and peoples portrayed in the show. As a parent, I look back and see how that was wonderful. Not only was the show obviously a good watch back then (we watched it many times), but it’s good as an adult (my wife likes it – and she didn’t see it the last couple of years), and it has the potential to educate and inspire learning in children.

Obviously I was very excited when I found The Mysterious Cities of Gold on DVD. I was given it awhile ago as a gift and finally got to watch the final episode. I think, so the story goes, that my parents either missed it, or taped Neighbours over it (that might have been the original Star Trek movie).

That said, I am only slightly less  excited (albeit tentatively) to find that not only have they made a second season, with the same guys in charge of story/writing and art direction, but they are bringing it out on DVD. That’s right, and not in ten or twenty years like the first season, but less than 6 months after it first aired last year in the UK, it is coming to DVD next month. Only in the UK so far, but I can work with that: moving countries with DVDs makes you prepared with a region free player. 

I truly do say tentatively, for although it is by some of the original writers, it is taking some turns I did not expect. I expected updated visuals, and they do look rather nice, while keeping some of the feel of the earlier series. I did not expect the series to move to Asia. I thought the seven cities of gold were all in the Americas! I won’t know how I feel about this until I see the series. On the surface it seems like this would be a departure from the quasi-historical context for the original series. They’ve also updated that wonderful theme tune, and while it retains the same lyrics, I don’t like the change. I don’t think it needed updating, and all they seem to have done is jazzed it up a little but with overdubs.

As a side note, having come across this blurb about the original series being based on a young adult novel called The King’s Fifth, I might have to find the novel and give it a read.

As a second side note, I saw a Mysterious CIties of Gold game while my brother-in-law was browsing the WiiStore on his WiiU. looking at the graphics I’m dubious as to how good it could be, but it did look interesting. I might reinterpret that – it looked okay, and not awful as some spin-off games are. The remarkable thing about it, and the thing that excited me, was that the game was produced from a crowd sourcing effort on Kickstarter. I love ideas like this actually coming to fruition because of mass demand and funding. If only Joss Whedon and the cast wanted to continue Firefly…
I just noticed on that Kickstarter page something about the game being available for PC, so I may have to see about acquiring it at some point, for my son when he gets into the series, of course.



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