This ambitious 1984 British TV series was based on the trilogy of novels (four, if you count the later-published prequel When the Tripods Came) by writer John Christopher, and shown in the U.S. on PBS, much like “Doctor Who.” I watched it every weekday one summer on afternoons at around 12:30 p.m. in half-hour installments.
As far as we can tell, the episodes did not have actual titles, but airdates and time/date subtitles are given where known. Personally, we’d love to see this show revived--the story of the Tripods is a compelling one, and we liked the idea of spreading the three-novel story out over a TV series. I read the books as a result of watching the series, and remember thinking in retrospect that the scenery, the characters and even the Tripods from the show were exactly how I would have pictured them. The show also seemed to follow the novels fairly faithfully, at least in the first season. Think what they could do with modern effects technology.
A third season of the series was planned but never executed. Happily for UK fans, seasons one and two of the series will finally be released together on DVD later this month. Previously, a season one DVD was available for Region 2.
The Cast: John Shackley as Will Parker, Jim Baker as Henry Parker, Ceri Seel as Beanpole.
The first season of 13 episodes is based on the book The White Mountains by John Christopher. The television adaptation was written by Alick Rowe.
09/15/84: #1, "A Village in England - July, 2089 AD"--It´s "Capping Day", a rite of passage that every sixteen year old must go through. The ceremony is carried out by the Tripods themselves. "Capping" is a process which creates peaceful, easily dominated humans, thus allowing the Tripods to rule. Now, it´s Will Parker´s turn.
09/22/84: #2, "England - July, 2089 AD"--Two cousins, Will and Henry Parker, resist the capping process. Under the guidance of a man named Ozymandias, they flee their homes in search of other free humans who are hiding in the White Mountains.
09/29/84: #3, "The English Channel - July, 2089 AD--Will and Henry cross over to France, but they are captured upon their arrival and held for the Tripods to complete their capping.
10/06/84: #4, "France - July, 2089 AD"--After escaping from prison with a new friend named Beanpole, Will and Henry travel to Paris, which is a ruined city inhabited by dangerous people.
10/13/84: #5, "Chateau Ricordeau, France - July, 2089 AD"--Will becomes ill, and the three companions go into hiding at the Chateau Ricordeau. Will ends up in a romantic triangle with the daughter of a count named Eloise and the Duc de Sarlat.
10/20/84: #6, "Chateau Ricordeau, France - July, 2089 AD--Will and Eloise´s relationship blossoms into love. This becomes a problem, as he must choose between her and continuing on to the White Mountains.
10/27/84 : #7, "Chateau Ricordeau, France - August, 2089 AD": Will stays behind as Henry and Beanpole leave to continue the quest. Will discovered that Eloise has been capped.
11/03/84: #8, "Chateau Ricordeau, France - August, 2089 AD": Eloise is taken away to serve the Tripods’ will in a tournament. Will gives up on her and leaves to catch up with Henry and Beanpole, but is captured again by Tripods. The Tripods set him free to find his friends, but why?
11/10/84: #9, "France - September, 2089 AD"--The Tripods’ strategy is revealed when a homing bug is found in Will. The device is removed, but it´s a bloody accomplishment and he is left very weak. Now they are trapped in a tunnel.
11/17/84: #10, "France - September, 2089 AD"--Winter is coming, and Will wants to find the White Mountains soon, but Henry and Beanpole want to stay with the Vichot family. However, Jeannie Vichot´s fiance is a black guard, and he´s checking the boys out.
11/24/84: #11, "France - October, 2089 AD"--Having left the Vichot family, the trio struggles to reach the White Mountains. They try to steal some food, but end up being chased into a forest by black guards.
12/01/84: #12, "France - October, 2089 AD"--The boys are caught and put on trial for stealing bread, and Daniel again faces the possibility of capping. Again they escape, but get lost and end up in Tripod country.
12/08/84: #13,"The White Mountains - November, 2089 AD": A Tripod is destroyed. Racing towards the White Mountains, the black guards capture the boys and an interrogation begins.
The Cast: John Shackley as Will Parker, Jim Baker as Henry Parker, Ceri Seel as Beanpole, Robin Hayter as Fritz.
The second season of 12 episodes is based on the book The City Of Gold And Lead by John Christopher. The television adaptation was written by Christopher Penfold
09/07/85: #1--"The White Mountains - 2090 AD"--The season opens with the boys in the White Mountains, training with the free men to enter the Tripods’ games. Only the best will be selected by Julius.
09/14/85: #2--All the boys have been chosen to participate in the games. Now comes a trip to Germany, to reach the games stadium.
09/21/85: #3--Will is arrested after a fight while drunk, Beanpole is missing, and Fritz may head for the games without them. Will and Beanpole end up on the run from Goetz.
09/28/85: #4--With some help from Zerlina and Papagena, Will and Beanpole escape from Goetz, and make their way to the stadium just in time for the games.
10/05/85: #5--The games are over. The Tripods take Will and Fritz to the City of Gold, leaving Beanpole behind. The city seems to be escape-proof.
10/12/85: #6--Fritz is made a slave somewhere beneath the city, and Will is placed in the service of Master 468, an alien who belongs to the race that created the Tripods.
10/19/85: #7--Will wants to find Eloise again, and Fritz is promoted from his slave life into the Power Elite, where he makes a new friend, Pierre.
10/26/85: #8--As Will and Fritz become more aware of what the Masters have planned for the Earth, they are brought to the Pool of Fire, where they meet one of the most powerful creatures in the City, a Cognosc.
11/02/85: #9--Having read Will´s mind, the Cognosc knows why the boys have trained to infiltrate the City.
11/09/85: #10--Will kills his master when he tries to check out Will´s cap. He tries to leave the City via an underground channel.
11/16/85: #11--Fritz chooses to stay in the City, and Beanpole saves Will from drowning during his escape. They make it to a nearby town, and hide from the black guards in a circus.
11/23/85: #12--Will and Beanpole pretend to be clowns in Ali Pasha´s circus. Their goal now is to get back to the White Mountains and tell the free men about what the Masters are going to do to Earth. They are double-crossed by Ali, though, who intends to give them all to the Tripods to finally receive their capping.
A third season was never produced. It would have been based on The Pool Of Fire by John Christopher.
NOTE: THIS INFORMATION COMES FROM THE BELLAONLINE.COM SCIFI TV ARCHIVES. ENJOY!