1 9 8 4 (New Zealand/UK)
6 x 25 minute episodes
When budding 12-year-old astronomer Gretchen Kierney (Sarah Dunn) goes to stay at her uncle’s farm for the holidays, she finds herself embroiled in an adventure which leads all the way to the white dwarf star Sirius B.
Gretchen is intrigued by the odd-looking metal weathervane sitting on top of the barn, which turns out to be the remains of “Kolob”, a disintegrated 7000-year-old space probe sent to Earth from a planet in the constellation of Canis Major (the “dog star”).
Kolob’s mission is to teach, but first, he must find a mind open enough to be contacted, young enough to be controlled and powerful enough to be useful.
He finds plenty of potential in Gretchen, Ronny (Jason Wallace) – a 12-year-old part-Maori rebel from delinquent climes – and Bevis (Hamish Bartle), the trampled 11-year-old son of a local property developer.
Kolob’s nose cap and defence shields still lie buried, but the kids piece together some of the other vital probe parts: the daisyrod (Kolob’s main perception unit and sensor); the circuit ring housing all intelligence and memory; the power base, solar-panelled to draw energy from the sun; delta nodes, laser-controlled for movement; delta generator, to provide a vision panel for past and present; and the memory lens, which glows when expanding knowledge.
Kolob’s memory encompasses New Zealand’s ancient past, revealing creatures such as the Moa (which lived there for 70 million years) and the terrifying giant eagles called Harpagornis.
A combination of Dogon mythology, Maori culture, and modern sci-fi storytelling with rural New Zealand as a backdrop, this six-part thriller for children took much of its inspiration from Robert K G Temple’s 1976 book, The Sirius Mystery.
The budget was clearly quite small, and the special effects are pre-CGI and very much of their time, but they still hold up enough for all but the most critical of modern audiences.
The series was primarily shot around Patumahoe in South Auckland, one of the two areas in New Zealand where reported UFO activity is very high.
Constable Ben Willis
The Brass Daisy | Power Stop | Swamp Light | Alien Summons | Kolob | Alien Contact