Adapted from the series of young adult novels by Samuel Youd (under the pen-name John Christopher), the Tripods is an exciting and bizarre tale that could only come from the same island that gave us Doctor Who and Sapphire and Steel. Set in a future ruled by strange aliens who have enslaved the populace through mind control.
A story of revolt against authority, I am just gob-smacked that such an adventure series was presented as children’s entertainment.
The Tripods DVD box set trailer
Some hundred years following the alien takeover, a young boy named Will decides to rebel the long held tradition of ‘capping’ whereby 16 year olds have circuitry-laden devices fused to their scalps. After the ritual of ‘capping’ subjects are docile and without any imagination, something that unsettles Will and his cousin Henry. They are granted moving advice from an outcast named Ozymandias to begin a long journey that leads to further discovery into the world that once seemed so simple but is actually so very dangerous. A long trek across the devastated post-war landscape sees the ignorant youngsters encounter the decaying ruins of once great cities on their way to the fabled White Mountains.
For the uninitiated, it comes across as a mixture of Killraven and the Chronicles of Narnia.
The TV series adapted two of the three books and looks very similar to other BBC productions of the 1980s such as Doctor Who and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy aside from the unexpected flairs of brilliance such as the Tripods themselves. While the series failed to find an audience in the States, it is currently in production as a big budget motion picture from Disney in 2012, so expect to hear about this story in the years to come.
The TV series based on Youd’s books took a few liberties but is still great stuff. Considered an exceptionally costly production for its time, the Tripods would appeal to any die-hard sci-fi fan or lover of classic BBC programs such as Blake’s 7 or Doctor Who.