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Last updated
9 April 2009

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THE 90s 90

I hate it, I hate it, I detest its cheap nastiness etc.

For the re-screenings in 1994 (beginning on April 23 followed by an incomplete repeat showing ending January 26 1997), PolyGram supplied the BBC with a tape containing a new (and very static) Joe 90 logo, with the instruction that it should replace the original in the opening titles. Apparently the logo for the "G.I. Joe" range of toys was deemed to be too similar. The new Joe 90 logo appeared on all of the merchandise produced to tie in with the re-screenings, and had a tiny addition: a "™" trademark.

The BBC also moved the title sequence to the front of the programme, as opposed to after the "hook" where it originally appeared on many of the episodes, and the shows were heavily edited due to the early morning timeslot it had been given. Obviously the children of the nineties (who'd grown up with blood-soaked shoot-'em-up computer games and Schwarzenegger movies) were much more likely to be affected by puppet violence than children of the sixties (whose televisual fare was more Jackanory than Reservoir Dogs).

To top things off, the 1" videotapes the BBC received from PolyGram were transfers from poor quality 16mm prints, and not 35mm (the film format the series was shot on). They looked and sounded truly dreadful. The final insult - the closing titles were invariably zoomed back into the corner of the frame, and an inane Children's BBC presenter would read out birthday cards (in those days "credit squeezes" on British television were a rarity. Now it's done at the end of almost every programme).

A pretty poor viewing experience all round, and not what we'd come to expect after the generally well-received screenings of Thunderbirds, Stingray, & Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons. The BBC would however go on to make a complete mess of UFO and Space:1999, with more cuts and unbelievably appalling scheduling.

Bizarrely, the series was also screened in 1994 by Nickelodeon; uncut, with the "hook" in the right place, and the original series logo intact.

With the 21st Century finally upon us, Joe 90 followed Space Precinct, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons, Space:1999, UFO, The Protectors and Terrahawks onto DVD in 2002, properly remastered from 35mm. Finally, the series got the treatment it deserved.


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