Outside Our Seeing

In the mid-eighties I watched a science-fiction series about an American family who were transported to a planet ruled by an insane tyrant. Years later, after discovering Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, and other series from the period still held up, I considered watching it again; however, I couldn’t remember the name, and search engines didn’t return the answer I sought so I stopped looking. Last week my wife found it in about five minutes: Otherworld. The first episode is below for the curious or nostalgic.

For those of you who aren’t having flashbacks at this point, the memorable thing I didn’t include in the lede is that they are transported to the planet by a portal found beneath the pyramids in Egypt. Which meant all my internet searches were also very close to another series about Egyptian space portal tyrants. As Stargate is much more famous, that was what the search engines assumed I wanted; Otherworld might have been in there eventually, but I didn’t go double-digits deep on a casual interest.

Actively excluding Stargate still didn’t find it. And, because MacGyver ran from the mid-eighties, when I added mid-eighties to the search terms I still received Stargate; this time with a comparison-to-other-Richard-Dean-Anderson-shows slant.

Now I’ve found it again, I can both see why I liked it and why it didn’t stick in popular culture. It’s amusing enough, but misplaced family and dystopian society were both done equally well by other series of the time, so it isn’t unique.

What interests me more is that I could search several times over the course of the last decade with no luck, whereas my wife found it straight away. There are IMDb reviews from 2000, so it was there to be found. Is it pure chance, or has the Google algorithm got better at fine nuance in the recent past? With no examples of other things I had difficulty finding due to a more famous similar thing, I might never know.

So, I shall instead watch some more Otherworld.

Are there any programs from your childhood that seem to have disappeared from existence?

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