Raven was an old ITV show from late 1977, from the same writers who brought us the intensely creepy Children Of The Stones. Unlike COTS, it has never been shown over here, and I’d never seen it, however, the master tapes to all six episodes were recovered a few years ago and the show was released on DVD. I bought a copy of the DVD, gently used and pretty cheap for an import/region 2 disc, from the UK so I could see the show and add it to the logbook.
I can tell they’re trying to be atmospheric in the same way COTS was atmospheric; the sheer creep factor of COTS actually successfully covers up a few plot holes/conveniences. Here…it just doesn’t. I don’t know if the show needed to be 12/13 episodes instead of six, or if there was not, in fact, enough plot thought out for even six half-hours. The underpinning of it is that everyone starts to believe that a delinquent punk kid could somehow be the reincarnation of King Arthur, returned from the distant past to save Britain from the threat of nuclear waste.
The big problem with this is that the six episodes require the aforementioned delinquent punk kid to (a) not believe this and fight against the role that other people are assigning to him, and to (b) totally believe it and play into that role with great conviction, at very convenient times in the story. There’s no consistency to these two completely opposite attitudes; as the Mission Log podcast would say, the kid is “Gumbified” – he bends in whatever direction the writers need to bend him for the purposes of their plot, but fails to behave like a real person.
There’s also a lot of astrological twaddle that distracts from the Arthurian underpinnings and make it all sound even more ridiculous. You can ask me to believe that the kid is Arthur Reborn, and I can suspend some disbelief on that front so I can see where the story’s going; throw in a bunch of stuff about the zodiac on top of that and you kinda lose me.
It’s a show that a lot of UK telefantasy fans of A Certain Age remember fondly, but it just didn’t hold up for me.