Not Your Average Hit List

© This link for the illustrations.

© Per A.J. Andersson for the texts. Written January 2005, updated December 2011.

On and Off TV

When I was a kid, we had two TV channels (when I was really small, we had only one). Now I've got 45. Guess how much more time watching TV I spent... then.

One nice thing being brought up in the 70s was you always had a common TV culture with your friends and relatives your age. Every kid knew "Frasses sång" ("Smörkräm, krikon, snabbkräm och gott gelé...") by heart, and the American detective serials on TV was cumpulsory viewing.
Today, more than thirty years later, the TV shows are in colour. And the channels are incomparatively more numerous. So looking in programme listings is no longer the necessity it once was. There's always something worthwhile running at any of my documentary channels. And more often than not som sports channel can keep me busy.

Some of the fun of TV is long since gone, having all this to choose from. But instead, there's the world of video awaiting. The collector inside of me likes to have my childhood memories nicely available on a shelf. And the curious me likes all the Japanese animation series now being put directly onto DVD. So much to discover, so little time...

Below are some stuff from TV that I remember with a smile. Together with things that I never saw on TV but now treasure as DVD hunts.

Hawaii 5-0
(1968-80, USA, 284 episodes)

Its musical theme was the first thing I learntto play on the piano. Crime stories in exotic surroundings was hot stuff for a nine year old kid.

(19??, France, ?? ep.)

What was this? Definitely French. French cool motorbike policemen driving on a sidecar bike. And yet another theme song that got stuck in my head after all these (30+) years. Still I cannot find definite evidence on it anywhere? Is it here?


(Sweden, 1972, 15 ep.)

A children's show challenging the preconceptions of anything in the genre. Those three sailors turned bakers made it into an instant classic. Not forgetting "Frasses sång" (the song of Frasse).

(1970-77, USA, 45 ep.)

Dennis Weaver playing a nice New York cop, following the suspects on the horseback. Great stuff! And his superior was great fun too!

Persuaders, the
(1971-72, UK, 24 ep.)

With another theme song (more correctly - two of them!) that got stuck in my head. The unlikely but highly entertaining duo of Moore and Curtis giving detective stories a both elegant and fun edge.

Den vita stenen

(1973, Sweden, 13 ep.)

Gunnel Linde made the book. Julia Hede and Ulf Hasseltorp excelled in the TV series. I was ten years old at the time, and I was thrilled.

Space: 1999
(1975-77, UK/USA/Italy, 48 ep.)

Stylish science fiction. I vividly remember the episode with the black hole.

I, Claudius

(1976, UK, 13 ep.)

Ancient history came to life like it'd never done. Despite the static indoor settings this was high drama, including a wonderful cast with John Hurt in the most memorable role. I was 13 years seeing it the first time around, and it was not to be the last.

Mirai shōnen Konan

(1978, Japan, 26 ep., )

The animated story of "Conan, the Boy in Future" is an entertaining rendition of Alexander Key's dark sci-fi novel. The bleak portrait of humanity is still there, but master Miyazaki has added a lot of fun to it. Still not - legally - available in an English-language format. What a shame!

Above: THE 70s were all in black-and-white. On the TV set at home. The colour hasn't fully gotten to me, as I still enjoy lots of films and comics in B/W. The one "coloured boy" above found its way to me lots and lots of years later... Below: THE 80s and earlie nineties were still pre-cable and VCR-free. Then I moved out and got "modern".

Life on Earth

(1979, UK, 13 ep.)

David Attenborough made insects and leaves as thrilling as any crime story. He has made many great things since then, but this time was perhaps the best. And the book was even better!

Hill Street Blues

(1981-87, USA, 146 ep.)

Crime stories with people you got attached to, and followed as their lives turned around various bends. A series built around a community that told me stuff of human life. Never ever dull.

Marco Polo

(1982, Italy, 4 ep.)

David Warner is in it. Ennio Morricone has written a magically beautiful score. And it's about ancient history. So what more needs to be said? I've got it on DVD (with optional Dutch subtitles)!

Heimat - Eine deutsche Chronik

(1984, FR of Germany, 11 ep.)

An intimate and realistic view of Germany under Hitler. Just as life really was. This portrait of a neighbourhood on the Hünsruck hills by the Rhine explained better than most this very strange period of recent history.

Twin Peaks

(1990-91, USA, 29 ep.)

Strange intrigues and mystery abounding. But the girls were more than interesting, and Coop was a perfect centre in this whirlwind of exciting events. It kept me on my toes from the first minute.

Picket Fences

(1992-96, USA, 89 ep.)

Set in Rome, Wisconsin, a sort of normal world version Twin Peaks. Substituted some of the latter's violence, magic encounters and episode twists and with heart-warming conclusions. Giving us fewer moral examples and more of life being so many different things and still making sense. Multiple awards but the first DVD collection waited until 2007!

Spirit of Wonder

(1992-2002, Japan, 3 story cycles)

Kenji Tsuruta must be the least productive of all cartoonists. But the things trickling out of his hands are still higly revered in his homeland. The pricey Japanese DVD box collects some of the most charming, whimsical and open-hearted story-telling ever.

Key the Metal Idol

(1994-97, Japan, 15 ep.)

A strange sci-fi suspense-story with some very emotionally strong content, not the best-looking of all anime, and with a somewhat strange plot revolving around an android. Ultimately a most riveting and haunting experience, paired with some quality music.


(1994-97, Denmark, 8 ep.)

My first encounter with the directorial oddities of Lars von Trier. This was after "Twin Peaks", and I was probably better attuned to the supernatural strangeness. Ernst-Hugo Järegård made a great stand-out character.

Below: THE TURN of the millennium was a golden era of anime, with major directors having great freedom and skilled animators to work with. I got caught by the anime bug in 2001 and have yet to recover.

Time Team

(1994-, UK, 130+ ep.)

More of the popular science the Britons are world champions at. Now with archeology made into prime-time entertainment. And with an enthusiastic Tony Robinson bringing it all together (who thought Black Adder's poor side-kick Baldrick being capable of this?).

Charlot og Charlotte

(1996, Denmark, 4 ep.)

A four-part roadmovie where the strange of Lynch meets the joy of Danish. It's about the meaning of life, and beautifully acted by Helle Dolleris and Ellen Hillingsø. Too bad copyright issues around the soundtrack have prevented a more than justified video/DVD release.

Kareshi kanojo no jijō

(1998-99, Japan, 26 ep.)

A love story all its own, with two characters not being what they look like. It's an intense roller-coaster ride with creative direction all-around, signed by Hideaki Anno.

∀ Gundam

(1999-2000, Japan, 50 ep.)

This was a celebration of 20 years of Gundam series. But it's more than a celebration, as this steam-punk series delivers its fair share of complexity and fine music not typical of robotic series.

Strange Dawn

(2000, Japan, 13 ep.)

Jun'ichi Satō made a fantasy-teenage-war series that didn't look like anything else. Where the two protagonists, on their way to school, really get lost. The music is fine too.

Chikyū shōjo Arujūna

(2001, Japan, 13 ep.)

The earth girl Arjuna is a high-school kid, given the mission of saving the earth! Sharing a name with the best archer in the whole world (says the Indian epos of Mahabharata). Those only interested in action with no message involved might want to stay away from this. The soundtrack is by Yōko Kanno...

Azumanga Daiō

(2002, Japan, 26 ep.)

This is the proof that school can be fun. Real fun. In the company of Tomo, Osaka-san, Yukari-sensei, Chiyo-chan and the rest, that is.

Tipping the Velvet

(2002, UK, 3 ep.)

The very first day I had access to NRK1 (Norwegian Programme 1), I zapped into this mini-series. And within a week I had ordered two different video sets of it online. The portrayal of personal choices in a Victorian surrounding is presented with such elegance and charm as to make you speechless.

Haibane Renmei

(2002, Japan, 13 ep.)

Miyazaki has influenced a whole generation of Japanese animators, with his realistic animation and honest portrayals of people. The fantasy world of the grey-feathered people is no exception. Atmospheric animation and (mysterious) intrigue elements make you wishing for more.
Below: AROUND 2005 the Japanese anime industry started leaning towards "moe", as in adorable. Works of originality could still shine through the gloss here and there.

Dead Like Me

(2003-04, Canada/USA, 29 ep.)

This series was stylish, avantgarde and very personal in its own right. Only two seasons aired, as this was way off normal TV.


(2003-04, Japan, 26 ep.)

This is hard-core science-fiction, meaning this could really happen. It mixed farce with drama in a most engaging way.

Mōsō dairinin

(2004, Japan, 13 ep.)

Maybe Satoshi Kon (R.I.P.) was the most interesting of latter-day Japanese film directors. His distinct style bore only small resemblance to the Miyazaki legacy, concentrating on making intelligent and thought-provoking thrillers.

Mahō shōjo tai Arusu

(2004-07, Japan, 52 ep.)

Arusu loves magic (as well as sweet chestnuts) and believes it should only be used to make people happy. Studio 4°C is quite a different animation studio, even when dealing with anime for young people.

Fūjin monogatari

(2004-05, Japan, 13 ep.)

This collection of "windy tales" has a cut-out paper feel to it. The abstract design doesn't detract from its rather philosophic content, though. Kenji Kawai's music is a personal favourite.


(2005, Japan, 16 ep.)

One day Yurie Hitotsubashi wakes up realising she's become a god. But she doesn't know what kind of god. A very sweet anime, very good-looking, with backgrounds on a Studio Ghibli level.

Dennō coil

(2007, Japan, 26 ep.)

It's the near future. In a city experimenting with cyber glasses, cyber pets, cyber everything. Where the kids get the glasses. Interesting story, often great fun and music to match.
Not Your Average Hit List 43 minutes... Alla är Ambition Consequences Door to Door The Dreaming Dzien i noc État d'urgence In the Spirit of Things Kaze no tani no Naushika Lights in the Night Martwa woda Nuit d'amour Once in a Million Open Door People Are Strange The Royal Scam Stationary Traveller Victim of Love Whore Music Up North Music Out West Music Far East Music Down South Films I Like a Lot Comic or Not On and Off TV About Me There's so much more out there ...