TV Shows - Tomes and Talismans
One of the mid 1980's public television's most unusual offerings, this Mississippi ETV produced 13-part series dealt with the challenging premise of trying to educate and interest students in library resources via a futuristic sci-fi premise of a benign quartet of alien kids trying to find info that could protect them from rival aliens occupying an abandoned Earth. Once can't say this is the most expected plot one would think of to come out of Mississippi.
It all starts a century in the future in which the Earth has become so badly polluted and so unpleasantly occupied by destructive alien beings called Wipers ( who look and talk suspiciously like Southern US Trailer Park Denizens ) , that the world government (!?) has decided to beam all Earthlings to an entirely new planet- leaving the Wipers to have at it with what remained on Earth. With just two hours prior to the last evacuation, a dedicated young librarian known only as Ms. Bookhart insists on locating the single missing library book before leaving. Unable to complete her quest in time, Ms. Bookhart is put to sleep by a mysterious robed entity known as the Universal Being or Wizard.
100 years after the prequel, Alpha Centaurians who call themselves Users have established a communication base on Earth under the leadership of a woman called Elder Tesla whose son Colonel Holon is in charge of the base's defense and who has two grandchildren (Colonel Holon's offspring) a teen boy named Athos and a preteen girl named Abacus. Athos and Abacus happen upon the one book Ms. Bookhart had been looking for and decide to go search for libraries along with their friends Varian (a girl Abacus's age) and Lydar (a boy Abacus's age whose apetite provides some comic relief). Offbase, they stumble upon a bookmobile then happen upon Ms. Bookhart still asleep (and not a minute older) at which point the Universal Being appears with a set of cryptic clues to use books to awaken Ms. Bookhart.
Almost as soon as Ms. Bookhart awakens and gets the alien kids interested in the library's books, they discover the Wipers led by someone named Humbuckler have sealed off the User base with Elder Tesla and all their friends inside and Colonel Holon cut off from all other parties!
Will they be able to be able to reach the main library and save their base from destruction? Will they reunite with their father? Will they (and the students watching) appreciate the Dewey Decimal System and the Card Catalogue? Was Ms. Bookhart played by Adrienne Barbeau ?[NO- despite the 'Net rumors] . Will the presumably widowed Colonel Holon and the single Ms. Bookhart discover something beyond working for a common cause? Will they do anything to frighten the horses?
Yeah, it's a bit hokey and cheesy- and it's funny to think of how they imagined that card catalogues, microfilm,etc. would still be used in libraries over a century after the series's production. However; it does the intended job of educating students as to how to use a contempary, up-to-date pre- 'Net library and it also has a subtle message of expanding one's knowledge to humanize. Of course, there's also an unexamined Alpha Centari family structure in which parents and grandparents are considered the unquestioned authorities by the youth- yet the adults actually LISTEN to the younger generations and respectfully consider their imput rather than just randomly dismiss it. Also, interesting that all the 'good guys' have either non-existant or very toned down US Southern accents- contrary to the Wipers.
Did it bone or did Dewey? Wipers, Users and Earthlings have at it!
Wikipedia Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomes_&_Talismans
eBay Link: View Tomes and Talismans on eBay