Back in the early days of cable (dating myself here), the then-fledgling MTV networks did not have the means to produce its own content (20 years later, it produces too much crappy content).
As part of the MTV Networks Umbrella, Nickelodeon (now “Nick”) imported a great amount of content from our friend across the pond, the BBC and Thames productions.
What the Hell?
They also imported many Canadian shows like “Pinwheel:”
Aside: T’was on Nickelodeon’s Today’s Special that I first saw the mysterious word “Ontario.” Today’s Special, You Can’t Do That on Television, and Pinwheel are all pivotal childhood media milestones and worthy of their own post elsewhere
Now even at this young age, my latent love of “Secret” Knowledge was seeking to express itself. In later years, this would manifest in conspiracy theory interests, Hermetic schools, philosophy degree, etc. When I read about these things now, as a 27 year old guy, they occasionally scare the bejesus out of me — and I have enough living behind me to help me deal with such a bejesus-scaring.
Back in 1984 though, I had no such weaponry to help me out. The show that gave me a glimpse of the X-Files fandom that was to be my fate was a series called: “Chocky”.
Here’s the thing I remember:
- Chocky was a green swirling vortex
- Chocky had a really creepy computer-ish female voice
- Chocky wasn’t all that concerned about human beings’ feelings
- Chocky could teach you cool shit (swimming, art, counting like a computer)
Even the intro spooked me:
Now, even as a 7 year old I could appreciate the Faustian bargain afoot. Chocky would give you knowledge, but you might torment yourself more for having gotten it. The kid in the show convincingly portrayed the agony of knowing that you know something that no one else could complain.
This seemed important - and kinda scary.
Actually it is both important and scary.
So I sat there watching this young British kid go through hallucinations, abductions, paranoia, psychological meltdown all because this creepy green vortex that could distort the screen all fish-eye-like had chosen him to visit.
I was never scared like - “Mom I can’t sleep I saw a show about a green alien that teaches you math” but i was definitely weirded out.