Children of the Dog Star
Children of the Dog Star is a New Zealander children's science fiction drama series that aired for 6 episodes in 1984.
Gretchen Kierney visits her uncle's farm in rural New Zealand during the school holidays where she befriends a local Maori boy named Ronny Kepa, who has a troubled city past, and Bevis Elliott, who is the son of a loathed developer and is into birdwatching. Tensions are already high when the developer wants to buy a swamp for a housing estate, but Ronny's uncle is the guardian of a traditional tapu (Maori for forbidden) upon it. The swamp in question should not be touched as something sleeps must not be awakened that is unnatural.
Gretchen has an interest in science and mechanics where she gets fascinated by the farm's weathervane (where it is known as the daisy rod). However, the daisy rod bares a complex and terrifying significance where Gretchen and her new friends discover its connections with the far distant Sirius, or the Dog Star.
Why It Rocks
- It has a well-built up storyline with complex themes regarding constellations and Maori mythology.
- It takes its considerate time to progress its narrative for a miniseries.
- It has equal appeal to both children, due to its adventure elements akin to the works of Steven Spielberg and adults, due to its primarily dramatic nature and eerie tone.
- The main characters are very well-rounded and three-dimensional:
- Gretchen starts off being indifferent to staying with her uncle and aunt at their farm, but soon accepts the environment she's in with her newfound friends and the twists and turns she encounters.
- Ronny is a city boy with a troubled past who stays with his uncle to help better himself and embrace his Maori heritage before coming to terms with him and further betters his self-esteem when he becomes friends with Gretchen.
- Bevis is an aspiring birdwatcher who goes against his mother's development ambitions and wants to spend time away from her, especially doing so when he joins Gretchen and Ronny.
- Kolob is also a sympathetic character as he is there to educate the human race and telling the three not to have interfered wth him.
- The props are well designed, especially the daisy rod and the parts of Kolob.
- Dark and brooding atmosphere.
- Decent special effects for 1984.
- Excellent theme music that is haunting as is the score.
- The bunker is an awesome set where scenes that take place there feel very scary.
- There are comedic moments as well such as scenes involving the Mitchell brothers who serve as comic relief.
- The Siriusians look convincingly frightening who add to the nightmare factor.
- The copyright stamp is inaccurate as the Roman numerals read MCMLXXIV (which translates to 1974) rather than MCMLXXXIV.