Monday, April 27, 2015
Cult-TV Theme Watch: The Camera
The camera is a mechanical eye of sorts, an optical device that can record images both still (photographs) and moving (video). A camera is often light and portable, so it can be taken to remote or unusual locations.
The camera has played a crucial role in cult-TV history in no small part because many series' protagonists are journalists or reporters and thus carry cameras out on assignment.
Jimmy Olsen -- a character appearing on Adventures of Superman (1951 - 1958) Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1992 - 1996) and Smallville (2001 - 2011) is one such example
Other camera-toting characters include wire service reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) in Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Mike Donovan, photo journalist in V (1983) V: The Final Battle (1984) and V: The Series (1985).
Cameras have also been prominent fixtures in many horror anthologies. In The Twilight Zone (1959 - 1964), for example, an episode "A Most Unusual Camera" involves a device that can take photographs from the future...approximately five minutes ahead, or so.
Rod Serling's Night Gallery (1969 - 1973), similarly, features a story called "Camera Obscura" involving a photographic device that transports a miser to a kind of Hellish version of Dickens' London.
More recently an episode of the anthology Black Mirror (2011 - ) called "White Bear" involves an amnesiac woman who awakes only to find that strangers everywhere seem intent on filming her with their iPhone cameras.
"Tithonus" meanwhile, a sixth season episode of The X-Files (1993 - 2002) involves a photographer -- who is seemingly immortal -- hoping to photograph the face of death and end his own life.
On Space:1999 (1975 - 1977), mankind takes cameras to the stars with him. The denizens of Moonbase Alpha chronicle their journeys to other worlds with cameras in at least two episodes "Testament of Arkadia," and "Matter of Balance."
The Star Trek universe's tricorders also appear to have a "record" function used on landing parties as evidenced from the episode "And the Children Shall Lead."