Jeopardy was a British-Australian Science Fiction Drama series produced by CBBC. Created by Tim O’Mara, the setup to the show is pretty straightforward: take a group of Scottish Teenagers way out of their comfort zone! OK, it’s not as straightforward as that, but that’s the basic principle! Jeopardy is about a group of secondary school students from Falkirk, who all venture out with their teacher to the Australian Bush to an area that has had several reported sightings of UFOs over the years.
For the most part the show was a drama series with a hint of science fiction. The modern living students are thrust out of their comfort zone and are away from their luxuries as they are all camping in Australia. It starts out pleasant enough, but they begin to see strange things, and then people start disappearing, and then they are left to their own devices. As time passes by, there is inner conflict as they are all relatively outspoken, and then there is an element of a power struggle, and then they break up, whilst also dealing with their own personal issues, which they record on their own camcorders (like the Blair Witch Project). For most of this time it focuses on the drama aspect, but also features little hints of science fiction here and there just to allow a gradual build-up to the shattering conclusion.
Jeopardy ran for three seasons, with each season kicking in a spice of adrenaline as things became more serious, and events got worse. The series then concluded with three possible endings! As put to the audience at the time of it’s original broadcast, the three endings were either:
- Spooky Ending,
- Happy Ending,
- Surprise Ending.
The spooky ending was chosen, but on a later reshowing of the series, another vote took place and the happy ending was chosen. All showings since have used the spooky ending, whilst the surprise ending was never broadcast!
Whilst the show was characterized as a science fiction drama, it leans more towards a survival horror with elements of the found footage genre. The show is set in a dangerous part of the world filled with poisonous snakes, and other dangerous animals; so that’s one major danger. The use of camcorders allows the audience to see what is being seen by the characters own point of view and acts as a form of evidence as to what really went on, so it makes the whole thing seem a touch more real than fantasy. The groups inner conflicts also lead to fights, with stand out leaders, young rebels, and then more down to earth characters that are easier to connect with. Whilst all that takes place, there is also the case of characters losing their mind, and becoming delirious, seeing real things, as hallucinations.
Originally when the show first came out, I didn’t take much notice, but then thanks to several re-showings, I just became hooked by it. It’s simplicity helps to get stuck into and enjoy it, and as time goes by you can’t help but feel for the characters during their rougher moments. It is easily one of the most gripping children’s TV productions ever produced. The first series is simply a launching off point, as the second series ramps up the tension, and then by the third, things really start to go haywire.
If you ever get the chance to watch it, I strongly recommend you do. For me, it was one of the first times where I binge-watched a box set. Whilst on holiday in 2006, I watched it everyday; I just couldn’t get enough of it! Seriously, it is an amazing show and definitely worth a watch from start to finish!