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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Outerscope I (episodes 5-11)

Welcome to Sani-land, where scrub brushes, mops, sponges, soap, and scissors clean and polish all the time. They conclude the Outerscope kids dirty.

The scene begins promising enough: white stone and a surreal black and white tile path. They are surrounded by cleaning utensils--the scissors presenting the only menace, though--and herded toward the King and Queen of Sani-land. The King and Queen are duds, though. They flatten the estrangement into something banal. But maybe cleanliness is an issue that troubles kids when they feel they are clean. Moreover, there's the racial epithet of being dirty if not one of their kind. It does have resonance. However, they kill whatever ambiance it's built by singing, accompanied by shrill pipes. Edit that out.

When they exit Sani-land they have a brow-beating discussion that the viewer can guess. Cut? They do bring up the idea that space is like a dream, returning to the idea that their journey is not one of reality but of imagination.

Next we enter Technovek, a land of living machines (living?) with a Papavek, Mamavek, and Babyvek. They seem a bit arrogant about their intelligence while the kids seem to have prejudices/preconceptions to overcome. The kids get directions back home, but don't trust them, so they're going to go in the opposite direction. They are rather odd directions, requiring loops--maybe they're celestial slingshots, but if so, you can't simply reverse them.

The repetition was no doubt necessary for the episodic series since there may have been time between viewing episodes when they first appeared, but now it is tedious. There's a smidgen of charm in the "To be continued" and the recaps, but they are too frequent and exhausting to watch in one sitting. Plus, even within an episode there's unnecessary reinforcement of ideas--maybe in an effort to make sure each kid had something to say and pound home the lesson to be learned.

At this point, the show has something to offer, but it is labored perhaps under the limitations of its original format. When viewing individual episodes, they capture some of home-spun wonder that I recalled. But the repetition bogs it down. Can the show be edited into something worthwhile?

One might argue that it's a kid show, but does that mean it can't be done a little more artfully? Education does require repetition, but 1) the educational value is only in its education of cohesive social values among so many varieties of people, and 2) making it watchable will make people want to watch it once and maybe again.

Time to put this show on pause.






# 10

# 11

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