09 January 2007

on the wampage

Sometimes you find the best things accidentally.

When I arrived home yesterday, Maddigan's Quest was waiting for me in the vestibule. I watched all thirteen episodes last night--my attention divided between watching the television, eating my dinner, and cleaning my room. And speaking of cleaning my room, I'm quite proud of the progress I've made in ridding the floor and surfaces of clutter. My desk and book-shelves require the most attention at present, but all else is reasonably clutter-free.

On Maddigan's Quest again, conveniently the series finished at around 10 PM when I was ready to go to sleep.

Maddigan's Quest - Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Maddigan’s Quest follows the circus troop ‘Maddigan’s Fantasia’, who come from the only remaining city, Solis. Each year, the Fantasia leave Solis to perform and earn a living, but this year is different: they have been set the task of obtaining a new Solar Converter to replace the existing converter – the only power source in Solis – which is failing. At the centre is 14-year-old Garland (Rose McIver) – the final Maddigan. However, as the Fantasia are attacked on their quest, two mysterious boys, Timon (Jordan Metcalfe) and Eden (Zac Fox), appear with their baby sister Jewel. They claim to be from the future, from Solis, where the Fantasia have failed in their quest and the evil, revolting Nennog (Ross Duncan) has taken power. They have come back with a Talisman which appears to give Eden extraordinary powers, to help the Fantasia succeed in their quest. But they also bring danger, in the form of Ozul (Peter Daube) and Maska (Michael Hurst), two men who will stop at nothing to capture the boys. Can the Fantasia protect Timon and Eden, and succeed in their quest to obtain a new solar converter for Solis Maddigan’s Quest is a vivid tale of magic, adventure and time-travel, from the internationally renowned children’s author Margaret Mahy.

I'm determined to watch the series again before I make any great statements about the whole, but I will say that I have two favourite performances from this show--Michael Hurst (Maska) and Jordan Metcalfe (Timon).

Maska is a robot--well, a human head with a metal body--and a sort of underling to Ozul (Peter Daube), but I get the impression that he is the more thoughtful and sensible of the two. Michael Hurst plays the character dead-pan and ruthless, and he devotedly disappears into the role (as he does with every character he plays). The snarking between Maska and Ozul usually winds down to Maska having the last word, and they're always excellently cutting last words.

Timon is a morally ambiguous character; though, at the beginning of the series, he feels very down-to-earth, a conscientious boy-next-door, the would-be hero. That's why he becomes far more interesting when he falters and founders into the villain; it also enables Jordan Metcalfe to exhibit his acting chops. Metcalfe physically looks very young--early teenager, one might expect. However, in the last few episodes of the series, Timon's body is overtaken by a blood-virus that turns him into a reptilian insect creature with evil intent. Basically Metcalfe goes from being would-be hero to Machiavellian villain, and the transition is amazing to watch. It's a slow initial onset that leaves the viewer uncertain about what exactly is happening to him, but the final change is very abrupt and physical.

It was while observing this change that I thought, He can't be a teenager. No way. And he isn't, but it would be easy to make the mistake. He's baby-faced, shorter than average, and his voice is a tenor--but he's twenty-one. Considering what the character has to eventually become, it was a wise choice for the casting director to make.


And now for something completely different (no, not Monty Python's Flying Circus). I was looking for images of Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) of Torchwood--no special reason, I just felt like it--and one of my searches led me to a blog with this:

Consequently, the blog had this too, which also pleased me (since it was what I was looking for in the first place):

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