A Co-Vid Carol: An Unseasonable Dickensian Romp Through 3 Underrated TV Series - ICYMI
Including links to watch them online & episode guides
I turned off the television. I’d made a cup of tea for bed, fed the cats, and I’d even planted a little Brie on a piece of toasted brioche with a couple of grapes resting atop. The dark red grapes almost tasted like pomegranates and apparently they had come all the way from Chile, according to their plastic label.. I was busy snacking on the midnight tidbit as I walked towards my front door to secure it for my intended sleepy night ahead. Suddenly there were a loud three bangs on the door just as I was only a few feet away. The cup of tea I was holding spilled over my wrist as surprise and fear rushed through my very soul. I automatically sprang backwards in an attempt to social distance myself from the person rapping on the other side. I glanced across the room for my face mask in a panic only to find my little tuxedo cat was using it for her catnap bedding. I whipped it off the chair in great haste, to the cat's severe dissatisfaction, and began wrapping it around my face as I walked towards the now silent door. I tried to say hello but the mask was encrusted with my cat's thick black and white hair that had begun to shed for the coming summer months. I pulled off the mask quickly and spat hair at the door, I had inhaled it into my nostrils and could feel some tickling the back of my throat. I spluttered and coughed at the door for a moment until my saliva was dribbling down my face.
I reached for the door handle slowly, still gasping a little, only to reveal an empty porch with nobody anywhere in sight. Even the motion sensitive porch light only turned on when I pulled the door wide open. I spat out some more kitten hair which now tasted of fatty melted French cheese and decided that I must have scared the person off with my coughing fit. I waited a little time while pulling the last of the feline fur from the rear of my tongue. I returned inside, where it appeared to be colder than it had been outdoors. Steam came from my mouth like a large puff of thick smoke and made a strange crackling sound as though the water droplets were almost freezing on contact with the air. I muttered aloud, “It must be the cheese.” I watched the door for a little while before switching off the solitary light and continuing off to my bed, picking up an extra blanket on the way. As I walked up the spiral stairs I began to feel extraordinarily fuzzy. I held onto one of the small rows of balusters in the balustrade as not to fall back down the stairs. In my bedroom, I heard laughter through the bedroom door as though someone was enjoying watching my arms flailing in the darkness. But I was supposed to be alone, in lockdown, who could possibly be on the other side of my bedroom door. I steadied myself quickly and, still feeling in a hot flush, I jumped into the room to surprise the potential intruder with my sprightly agility. But there was no waiting fiend. I decided that it was best to just go to bed and sleep off this cheese related madness.
After a short while of complete silence, I started to hear the sounds of an ungodly rattle, a ghastly clacking that would have been more at home on a carnival ghost train. It was like the sound of death slowly climbing the staircase and about to emerge in front of me. I shook in my bedding with anxious expectation of the ghouls which lay beyond. My bedroom door flew open with an unseen force and I was met by two transparent figures rushing to the edge of my bed. They were the spirits of my two bosses who had sent me on furlough just a few months ago. They told me of three ghosts that will visit one after another to show me the TV past, present and future. They also informed me that my furlough will be extended by another 6 weeks. And then they finally left my presence repeating “You’d better find something good to watch!” over and over until the words were as light as a whisper and evaporated into nothingness. All of my curtains were caught by a sudden gust and they danced from side to side before silence and darkness prevailed once more. I watched the long drapes sway to a stop and I muttered aloud once again, “It must have been the cheese.”
Soon I would settle, and eventually I would be overwhelmed by tiredness and drift off into a content mess of blankets. It was when the clock struck one that all hell broke loose. The lights flew on and lit up the room as though the entire house was planted on a star. A voice boomed over everything, I recognized its tones immediately but I was unsure where I had heard it before. The booming voice came a second time and, as by pure magic, I was floating on board of a futuristic spaceship. Then the voice became clearer and started off by stating: “It is the 31st century…”
I was confused. The restless and malevolent spirits had told me that the first ghost will be of TV past, so what was I doing here in the 31st century? Then the voice continued: “...Ulysses killed the giant Cyclops when he rescued the children and his son Telemachus. But the ancient gods of Olympus are angry and threaten a terrible revenge.”
Somehow, I was on the ship from the epic cartoon series “Ulysses 31” and I was in the body and mind of Telemachus, the main character's slightly annoying child. I wanted to remember what we were about to experience from the memories I had of the series, but I never really understood the original cartoon. One problem was that it was never shown in the correct order; I couldn’t tell if there was even a running plot. The intro would always convince you to keep watching in case you could find some sort of linear narrative. The voice of Zeus interrupted my nostalgic reminiscing and echoed over my inside voice, even louder again. “Mortals, you defy the Gods? I sentence you to travel among unknown stars. Until you find the Kingdom of Hades, your bodies will stay as lifeless as stone.” See what I mean? That was just enough dialogue to really convince me that something interesting was coming.
Then the ship itself spoke up: “Ulysses, the way back to earth has been wiped from my memory.” I knew, like a boss, that this was my line. I said out loud in a slightly girly voice, “Father, oh, father!” And then there was Ulysses running towards me with his arms held out, ready to embrace me, “You are alive my son.” I was filled with happiness. We rode together throughout the iconic theme tune, me and my imaginary cartoon space dad who was from both the past and the future. Then, almost as if it was all built on bricks made of clouds, everything fell to pieces. I didn’t understand anything but I still felt very visually satisfied. And then, voila, I was laying in among the flopping white bedding until everything was completely silent and dark again. I thought about saying a cheese related sentence but I was starting to believe that the cheese wasn’t the major issue.
I curled up and shook myself back to an eventual stillness, before sleep captured me again. Then, as the bell rang two, I became aware of a distant laugh of a little glowing creature who introduced herself simply as “Ziggy”. Then a dash of sparkling light hit me in the forehead and I was lifted from the bed and flown through the opening window. The sparkling headlight let me fly until it started to grow and began to envelop my entire body. Then my whole humanoid figure, drenched completely in some kind of electric fire which did not burn, leaped into someone else's body.
I was back in the present time, but in the body of a pregnant woman instead of my own. I looked at the reflection in the nearby office window. It took me some time to realize that I was the person in the reflection before my husband grabbed me by the arm. I didn’t recognize him but somehow I knew that he was my husband. He was angry about something, but I had no memory from this life. I would have to work out who, when, and where I was, as well as figuring out how to get out of this. As my husband became angrier, grabbing my elbow in a way as to hurt me purposely, a man stepped out of a nearby alleyway with a gun and shot my wretched husband. I stood there frightened and felt my unborn baby kick inside my belly, as though it was really me experiencing this other person's reality. The man, still holding a gun towards me, said firmly, “Come with me or I’ll shoot you!”. I looked at my reflection and at the big bump as I felt my waters break and I could only say two words, “Oh boy.”
And with those words I was suddenly propelled into the sky and shot at the speed of light back across the clouds to the sped up theme tune to Quantum Leap. I was flying towards my bedroom and dumped directly back into bed. I was me again, and I was so awfully tired. That experience had been one of the most thrilling of my entire life. I closed my eyes, panting in my pajamas and I felt my stomach to make sure that I wasn’t still pregnant.
No time seemed to pass between me drifting back to sleep and a sudden crash that was immediately followed by a demonic growling noise that vibrated the bed frame violently. The windows and doors swung open and closed, battering the heavy wooden frames and making the entire room shake. The growling got louder, emanating from the staircase, and then everything stopped. There was no sound, no light, and no air. I could sense death himself, I gasped aloud in an attempt to take in oxygen but my body was already sinking into the abyss. The oozing surroundings were the blackest black that I’d ever seen. I couldn’t struggle any more and the dark mass of matter swallowed me whole. There was again no noise and no light. Like I was in a complete void.
I could see a darkened floor approaching from below as I floated downwards. I finally rested my feet on solid ground again and found myself standing outside a house that I recognized. I knew who all the people were, I was at the Avery House, from the amazing two series documentary “Making a Murderer”. They were all dressed in black and preparing to walk to the hearses. They were waiting to take the body to its final resting place. Even Brendan Dassey was there, in shackles, being escorted by two federal agents to the waiting procession of mourners.
On my right stood the tall, cloaked figure of the Grim Reaper, scythe in hand and pointing his haunting empty expression towards my teary eyes. “No!” I shouted at the reaper. “No, don't show me this!” I screamed as I tried to look away from the reef spelling out the name, but I knew who it was. I was being shown the potential finale of Making a Murderer and the funeral cortège was that of Steven Avery. I cried as the heavy rain began to drench all of us who were present. “Don’t let him die in jail, please don’t let him die in jail!” I sobbed and cried aloud. Maybe this wasn’t set in stone and this eventuality could still be changed like in Quantum Leap. I looked at the Reaper. “Please, please say it doesn’t have to be this way! Please don’t let him die in jail!!!” I screamed into the dark face of death as a thick ooze engulfed my entire being once again.
Then everything became calm and tranquil. It was light outside and morning time. I left my sheets and duvets behind as I sprung forward with a feeling of invigoration that I had never experienced before. I ran to the window and threw open the curtains. I awkwardly twiddled the button on the handle before the double glazing window opened. Then I looked out on the park in front of my house and I saw everybody acting normally - standing two metres apart and wearing masks.
I glanced down at a young rapscallion who was running along the street. I shouted to him, “Young boy!” He looked at me a little confused and gestured at himself. “Yes, you boy, what day is it?” I yelled to him elatedly. He thought about it for a little bit before saying, “I don’t know mate, all the days merge into one another during lockdown.” I told him not to worry himself with obscure thoughts of relativity, time, and space, and I threw him some hand sanitizer and my credit card. “Take these two things boy and buy me all the television magazines you can find.” He looked surprised and picked up my credit card, leaving behind the alcohol hand gel as he ran off down the street. I would spend the weeks to come binge watching three of the most underrated TV series of all time; Ulysses 31, Quantum Leap, and Making a Murderer.
And I never saw my credit card again.