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This Man is The One!
January 15, 2011 8:10 AM   Subscribe

A comedy about an English adventurer, very much a product of his time, frozen for decades only to be defrosted in modern-day London, where his challenges range from fighting petty thugs to understanding a world with totally different behaviors and sexual mores*, to the inevitable face-off with a villain from his own time.

And all this with a great swinging 60's vibe!

The show was Adam Adamant Lives!, and it was Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert's 1966 followup to a slightly longer lasting show they had done for the BBC a few years prior. A clear product of the time, with Avengers-inspired characters and a super-awesome Goldfinger-styled theme song, Adam Adamant Lives! helped begin the career of a celebrated director, and has had lasting influence on many writers, at least one musician, and, of course, the occasional former SNL cast member.

While the show only lasted two seasons, with nearly half of the show lost to the BBC's short-sightedness, it can be found on DVD, and reairs on BBC4 from time to time (most recently in 2008).

(*Realplayer link, used here for the comfort of any readers here who were recently thawed out from 1998.)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher (29 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
See, this is the rare example where it would make total sense to take the property and re-start it.

But only if they kept it in the 60s.
posted by The Whelk at 8:40 AM on January 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Brief disappointment that it wasn't Adam, Adam Ant, completely dispelled. Marvelous.
posted by steef at 8:47 AM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


to the inevitable face-off with a villain from his own time.

Referring no doubt to the link that requires Real Media Player?
posted by hal9k at 8:57 AM on January 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


The theme song totally sounds like a parody of a theme song.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:21 AM on January 15, 2011


The theme song totally sounds like a parody of a theme song.

The high quality of the DVD print made me keep questioning if it was a real thing or some amazingly well-researched fake.

Then I realized there's no way they could extras who where That Mid-Century BBC without hazing a cyrogenic tank of their own.
posted by The Whelk at 9:24 AM on January 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


wow auto-correct is amazing.
posted by The Whelk at 9:26 AM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Adamant, btw, was once a common brand of urinals in the UK.
I've always assumed this is where 'Adam Ant' got his stage name too.
posted by Flashman at 9:45 AM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I watched the first link straight away, watched it though, and couldn't tell whether it was a remarkably well preserved and self aware 60's camp show or a remarkably pitch perfect modern parody. How is this not ranked with old Dr. Who and The Prisoner?
posted by cmoj at 10:00 AM on January 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Real Audio? A product of his time indeed.
posted by cmoj at 10:02 AM on January 15, 2011


Probably cause half of the (shoirt) run is missing.
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 AM on January 15, 2011


Real Audio? A product of his time indeed.

In fairness, I already made that joke ;-)

Yeah, it's a lot of fun, in my opinion. Not every bit works 100%, and we are dealing with the slow pacing and low production values endemic to early BBC TV, but an Edwardian Gentleman in the swinging London of the 1960s is such a great idea that it's impossible to not get a great deal of mileage out of it.

The Whelk is right: if we can relaunch Doctor Who, and Survivors, and Triffids, and Quatermass, and so much more, this forgotten gem certainly deserves its day back in the sun.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:13 AM on January 15, 2011


How is this not ranked with old Dr. Who and The Prisoner?

It's because unfortunately it's not actually that amazing to watch. We've got it on DVD, and it's... not bad, but not brilliant: Which isn't to say it's not worth having a look at - there's a great premise, an astonishing opening song, some fun episodes (including the first one or two), Gerald Harper striding around irritably in an excellent cape, and a butler who makes up limericks, and these are all good things. But don't expect an amazing forgotten classic.
posted by severalbees at 10:16 AM on January 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


(While it may look like my last post conflicts with severalbees' last post... I can't really argue with the details in any way. Even so, I think the premise and highlights make it well worth remembering.)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:27 AM on January 15, 2011


Man, talk about commenting before attaining comprehension. Not only did I double a joke, but I hadn't realized those are recut of the show (right?).

I think some of those criticisms could be made of The Prisoner, too. The idea and feel of the show manages to carry you most of the way through The Prisoner before you realize that it's actually pretty boring and it's hard to tell what's happening. The Prisoner was a perfect show to reboot in a miniseries format and I totally agree that this would be too. Mad Men meets Dr. Who meets Adam West's Batman.
posted by cmoj at 10:32 AM on January 15, 2011


See, this is the rare example where it would make total sense to take the property and re-start it.

But only if they kept it in the 60s.


I think we've had quite enough Austin Powers movies, thanks.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:37 AM on January 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it is a lot of fun, I agree. And I do like the idea of a reimagined version.

I propose Adama Adamant, a BBC/syfy coproduction. Lee Adama, alone on prehistoric Earth after Starbuck turned out to be a prophet or an angel or whatever the hell that was, falls into an ice crack in a mountain. Hundreds of thousands of years later, a hiker outside modern-day London finds him miraculously preserved, and revives him with a thermos of tea. He re-enters the modern world - our world - haunted by memories of Starbuck and her disappearance, which to him seems to have happened only days ago; but as he grows to learn more about contemporary London, he starts to worry that humans are revisiting the mistakes of their past. Probably there's a scene where he smashes a robot dog against a wall.
posted by severalbees at 10:40 AM on January 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Why are you trying to deny me the paisley smoking jackets I so richly deserve Sys Rq?
posted by The Whelk at 10:44 AM on January 15, 2011


Oh, my.
The ending to that second video is so classic.
Dramatic zoom + dramatic turn + dramatic explosion effects = wonderfully cheesy video sequence.
posted by MHPlost at 10:45 AM on January 15, 2011


I think we've had quite enough Austin Powers movies, thanks.

Sys Rq, I could not agree more if my life depended upon it. However, this is camp, but not comedy, and therefore isn't AP redux (predux?). Thankfully.

REDO THIS IMMEDIATELY AS A MOVIE!
posted by IAmBroom at 11:21 AM on January 15, 2011


When I get to run all the programing at the BBC (shut up it totally gonna happen) I'm going to have the new Adam Adamant run along side a Lucifer Box series and eventually they'll cross over for a ratings coup.
posted by The Whelk at 11:40 AM on January 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll just leave this here.

Sorry.
posted by Decani at 11:42 AM on January 15, 2011


Austin Powers also owes a huge debt to the Our Man Flint films.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:58 AM on January 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Another one to put on the todo list.

The most recent related show I watched was the excellent Danger Man (Secret Agent Man in the States). Unlike The Avengers (which is a lot of fun), this is actually a very smart show with very little romantic views of spydom. And Patrick McGoohan is just as intense as in The Prisoner. Recommended.
posted by Harry at 2:24 PM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is this not ranked with old Dr. Who and The Prisoner?

Let's just put all the cards out on the table first: U.F.O.
OK, now continue with what you were saying.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:47 PM on January 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sword canes are the shit. That is all.
posted by The Tensor at 3:49 PM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Austin Powers also owes a huge debt to the Our Man Flint films.

And Dean Martin's Matt Helm movie series (The Silencers, Murderer's Row) (Matt Helm was also portrayed by Tony Franciosa in the 1970s tv series)
posted by Mael Oui at 8:45 PM on January 15, 2011


I was convinced for a moment that this was a modern day parody. Seeing the 2nd clip, set in the 60's had me convinced that they had the old tv camera work of the BBC from the 60's down ice cold.

But then I read on and found that it was actually from the 60s. Wow.
posted by Catblack at 10:50 PM on January 15, 2011


I remember this from first time round. I seem to remember that in those days multi-storey car parks seemed somehow new and exciting, and the perfect place for a reanimated hero to have his secret flat.
posted by Segundus at 2:25 AM on January 16, 2011


Yeah, I guess all these modern buildings were somewhat exciting. Doctor Who has a whole serial set around the then-new Post Office Tower. which I guess would've looked like something straight out of NASA at the time.
posted by Harry at 11:19 AM on January 16, 2011


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