MANIMAL, aka: “huh?”

I have spent the last few evenings watching a short-lived show from 1983 called Manimal. I had never heard of this show until the other week when I was asked if I wanted to review it for one of our magazines.

I both wish I had heard of it sooner and that I had never heard of it, such is its massive head-fuck magnitude. It’s impressive, I’ll give it that much, but not always (or ever in the good way we all understand impressive to mean).

But it’s not important – the thoughts will go in the printed review. What I do want to chat about is the fact it clearly had a big influence on one of the best things ever to only get a single series: Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.

But now I realise I was watching that show without a crucial facet of understanding, held back from me as it was by cruel, cruel parents who (maybe) didn’t let me watch Manimal (unless they did and I forgot it existed). If I had known of the existence of the original 80s show, I would have had a much deeper appreciation of the fact that… well, Darkplace isn’t that far-fetched. It’s actually just a very well-observed spoof of TV shows that genuinely got made in the 80s.

Which brings me onto another point: how in the name of all fucking crikey did Glen Larson ever get multiple television shows made? They were, as pointed out in his Wiki page, invariably rip-offs and tended to be on the shit side of things. Yet he kept on getting them made, over and over.

A man managed to get Manimal made. A man managed to make this a real, serious thing:

I want to be just like that man.


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