1 9 9 5 (USA)
12 x 60 minute episodes
This short-run Friday night cyberpunk drama from FOX starred former Fame actress Lori Singer as nerdy but beautiful TeleCal Telephone Company lineman and hacker Sydney Bloom, who accidentally discovered that she could enter people’s minds through her telephone-linked Virtual Reality system – a talent quickly employed by shadowy government organisation, The Committee.
It all began in Pasadena, California, in 1978 when Sydney’s father, Dr Joseph Bloom – played by David McCallum (Man From U.N.C.L.E and Colditz) – created an advanced computer that was capable of Virtual Reality.
Viewers were shown eerie sequences of unknown people attempting to seize Dr Bloom and his 12-year-old daughters, Sydney and her twin sister, Samantha (Kimberly Cullen).
The Blooms managed to break free and were attempting to escape in their car when it crashed through a guard rail and plunged into a river. Sydney managed to escape but saw her father and sister drown. The shock presumably traumatised Sydney’s mother, Nora (Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher), who was now in a comatose state.
Sydney’s efforts to unearth what actually happened that night became the focal point of the series.
Hoping The Committee could somehow help her, Sydney agreed to work with them and acquired small pieces to her puzzle each week.
In the season finale, “Reunion,” Sydney learned the truth. Her father and Samantha were kidnapped by The Committee so Dr Bloom would continue his experiments in Virtual Reality for them.
She and her mother were subjected to a mind-altering computer program that left her with memories of her father and sister drowning and her mother traumatised.
The Committee then divided itself, with both sides seeking power. This enabled Dr Bloom and Samantha to escape – and by chance, Sydney and Samantha met.
Samantha (played as an adult by Tracey Needham) took Sydney to a safe house where she learned that her father had gone one step further to VR.7 (different electrical impulses that stimulated a different part of the brain).
Sydney felt that VR.7 may be the key to freeing her mother and used it to do just that – but the experience left Sydney in an unknown state – a cliffhanger to be resolved if the series was renewed; it wasn’t.
Other regular characters included Sydney’s friend, Duncan (Michael Easton); Dr Frank Morgan (Michael Easton), a professor of Virtual Reality who helped Sydney; and Oliver Sampson (Anthony Head), the Committee member who also helped Sydney.
NB: VR.1 is Virtual Reality. VR.2 is Interactive Computer Video. VR.3 is Flight Simulation. VR.4 is Cyberspace. VR.5 is the fifth level of Virtual Reality – worlds you can enter but can’t control.
Dr Joseph Bloom
Sydney Bloom (as a child)
Samantha Bloom (as a child)
Dr Frank Morgan