Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Adam Adamant Lives: Sing a Song of Murder

Adam Adamant is one of my dream series, largely because so much of it was wiped - I particularly would like to see the missing episode where a whole train vanishes, but I doubt that this quintessentially English series was exported, so would be unlikely to turn up in Nigeria, or wherever. My few posts about the show here are among the most popular, which I suspect reflects a lack of coverage on the internet. For that reason alone I have been interested to read Grant's recent posts about this series (including this episode). The post highlights that another possible reason for the series's lack of popularity is the silly price the box set is currently going for, and unfortunately the Dutch-released set I bought much more cheaply also seems to have vanished from the market.
I largely agree with what he says about the annoyance of the repeated dream sequence of Adamant being conked on the head, but I disagree with seemingly everyone - Adamant himself describes it as cacophonous - about the pop song which is the focus of this episode because I think it's wonderful!
The cultural Zeitgeist that this episode picks up on is the contemporary fear of the hidden persuasion of advertising, particularly subliminal messages. In the slower-moving communication world pre-internet, this was in the wake of Vanve Packard's 1957 book, The Hidden Persuaders. This is combined at points with a suspicion of the drug culture and various other aspects of the modern world. The point here, of course, is that because Adamant is uninfluenced by the modern world he can see what is happening from the off. Similar plot devices are used elsewhere in the series, such as washing powder. I suspect this show's account of the modern world would have been incredibly polarising at the time, directly confronting the modern and their fuddy duddy parents.
My absolutely favourite thing about this episode is the so-contemporary dress Georgina Jones wears )my second-favourite thing is the bit where Simms has a go at killing her). Frankly I wonder whether this show is a little too much of its time, so that it becomes difficult for subsequent generations to watch and understand. At the time the simplistic moral that the modern world  is dangerous would probably not have been welcome to the up-to-date young.   A further shortcoming is the repeated playing of the opening of the song, which I suspect was intended to give the hypnotic effect intended in the show, but becomes a bit too much.
My conclusion therefore is that while I love this show, it is open to a number of criticisms. The song is still good though!

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