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Learning to Love Bad TV

Bob Chipman | 19 May 2014 12:00
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deadly games

Deadly Games
It wasn't just syndication producing these wonders: Upstart network UPN was responsible for this one. Deadly Games might be the single stupidest piece of media "about" video-games ever produced - and that's saying something. Our hero is a physicist whose big stress-relief hobby is programming a game in which the hero "The Cold-Steel Kid" (based on himself) must save a damsel in distress (based on his ex-wife) from The Jackal (based on his father). A freak accident brings Jackal and his minions into the real world, where they play out their programming by attacking "The Kid" and trying to kidnap the girl - thus drawing her back into his orbit.

The "gimmick" of the show was that Jackal would summon up the other enemies from the game (which was depicted as having 100% photo-realistic graphics in 1994) to attack the heroes, and that all of them were caricature "game villain" versions of people the programmer felt had "wronged" him in some way: For example, in the pilot he battled "Killshot," who threw exploding footballs and was based on (what else?) a mean jock who'd bullied him in school.

And here we have the problem with the series: It didn't seem to realize that its "hero" is obviously a huge jerk with major issues. Even setting aside the how pathetic spending all that time and energy on an interactive fantasy of getting his ex back by blowing up various people who pissed him off over the years is... the guy's "grudge list" is a bit absurd. Bad guys based on your mother in-law, old boss (he threw explosive pink slips) or a divorce lawyer? Okay, I guess... but one of these guys was a car mechanic, based on a guy who "The Kid" felt had overcharged him once. Today, the show is best remembered for a curious Star Trek connection: Leonard Nimoy direct the pilot, while Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton both turned up as villains.

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