The Champions – Classic 1960s Series To Be Turned Into A Movie….
News filtered through recently, that the classic 1960s ITC fantasy drama series The Champions, is heading to the big screen, courtesy of Ben Stiller and Cate Blanchett. I remember watching this series as a kid in the 70s, and loving the early superhero vibe it had.
The premise was simple. Three secret agents, Craig Sterling, Sharon McCready and Richard Barrett, who work for a Geneva based law enforcement agency referred to as Nemesis, are on a mission together, when their plane crash lands in the Himalaya’s. They are rescued from the wreckage by a mysterious group of monks, who look after them, and give them all special powers, including telepathy and superhuman strength.
Now, here’s the thing. I’m what you might call a bit old fashioned, somewhat a traditionalist, so whenever i hear that a beloved series is being revived for a modern audience, alarm bells begin to ring. First thing i think is, “will this movie version bear any resemblance to the series i know and love”?. This may sound a little boring, and “old person ish”, but if i don’t recognise what i’m watching as “The Champions” then will it be enough to hold my interest…..and the answer is probably no.
Two movies that prove this point spring to mind. First there was The Avengers, based on the 60s spy, fantasy series starring Patrick McNee and Diana Rigg. Everyone knows that the film itself, and on the whole, was a bit of a stinker, and sank without trace at the box office. What it did have though was more than a passing resemblance to it’s original source material. It had the look and feel of the original series, and for that i loved it.
Two more examples would have to be the movie adaptions of classic U.S cop series “Starsky And Hutch”, and 70s glamorous crime show, “Charlie’s Angels”. Both were made with tongue firmly in cheek, which i thought was a bad idea at the time, but having watched and enjoyed them i have to admit that both movies did very nicely. They were both sufficiently action packed and funny, whilst also still preserving the spirit of the original programmes. Not an easy trick to pull off.
If this is how they approach the reboot of “The Champions” we should be in for a real treat. Maybe with Stiller and Blanchett at the helm, we stand a good chance of getting that rarest of things, a movie version that not only pays homage to a well loved series, but also does the show justice. Only time will tell, so let’s see what happens. Your thoughts ???