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The Prisoner
17 episodes (1967-68) 60m


Only the British could get away with making a TV series this surreal. Star Patrick McGoohan (Number 6), who also wrote the series, confronts a succession of Number 2s in trying to escape from 'the village' - with large guardian-balls thwarting every attempt. Lost? Number 6 could never get a straight answer to a question either.





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Monkey
52 episodes (1978-80) 45m


Delightful Japanese show based on Wu Ch'êng-ên's version of the legendary origins of Buddhism. A Buddhist priest and three followers journey from China to India to retrieve the ancient scriptures. Although it sounds heady, the show is a lighthearted romp in which main character Monkey shows off his bravery and magical powers.





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Sapphire and Steel
34 serial episodes (1979-82) 30m


Completely bizarre, absolutely no scientific foundation and immensely enjoyable. The title characters (played by Joanna Lumley and David McCallum) are dimension-hopping temporal agents whose job it is to plug leaks between the past, present and future - which is apparently what causes most supernatural phenomena.





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Goodnight Sweetheart
57 episodes (1993-99) 30m


Gary Sparrow regularly time-hops back to World War II Britain where he is having an affair with a publican's daughter. He somewhat questionably reasons that this is not as morally reprehensible as adultery in his wife's time-frame. Things get more complicated when he decides to go ahead and have families in both existences.





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Carnivàle
24 episodes (2003-05) 60m


Good vs evil, light vs dark--Carnivàle is a stylistically surreal story set during the Great Depression in the U.S. Dust Bowl states. The two story arcs involve a young man with special healing powers and a Methodist preacher convinced he is doing God's work as he discovers his own unique abilities. Despite winning a swag of Emmys, the show didn't make it past its second season.





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Dead Like Me
29 episodes (2003-04) 60m


College dropout learns that being a grim reaper isn't all it's cracked up to be. When George Lass is hit by a toilet seat from a space station she dies and is recruited as a grim reaper. She proves no easier to get along with in death than she was while alive. Darkly comic series that has more than its fair share of oddball quirks.





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The Mighty Boosh
20 episodes (2004-07) 30m


British comedy collective 'The Mighty Boosh' moved from radio to TV in 2004 with typically maniacal results. The original idea was to emulate cult 70s sketch comedy show The Goodies within the context of a fully-realised 'world'. All three series contain highly fantastical elements--the first set in a dilapidated zoo, the follow-up in an English town-flat, and the last in the second-hand shop below.





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The Lost Room
3 episodes (2006) 120m


Wonderfully engaging three-part miniseries about a motel room on Route 66 that in 1961 goes missing in time and space thanks to "the event". The story follows detective Joe Miller whose daughter has become lost in the room. To get her back Miller uses a mystical key to track down a hundred everyday objects from the room which have assumed paranormal powers. Mind-boggling.


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Oddballs, eccentrics, the bizarre and surreal on TV
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