From the Better Late Than Never Department:
The Monster Shack takes great pride in trashing the (gag) “Syfy” channel, but I was recently shocked, yes shocked!, to find it presenting something genuinely good. Thrilling even! And that thing is…..drum-roll….. The Mercury Men. It is, to quote it’s very cool retro poster, “The return of the classic cliffhanger serial!”
Cut to the City Building, Pittsburgh, 1975. In black and white. Where bored, peevish office drone Edward Borman sits watching the clock. Bang on 7:00 PM he is ready to go, ignoring the pleas of a young woman who simply has to have her documents stamped. But his passive-aggressive satisfaction is arrested when he hears a scream just before entering the elevator. Where did that young woman go? Returning, almost against his will, to investigate he sees an eerie light moving through the empty offices, and is soon running for his life from strange glowing figures who can kill with lightning. Fortunately for Edward these intruders are not the only visitors that night, and his life is saved by Jack Yaeger, a “daring aerospace engineer” and member of something called “The League.” For now all I can tell you is that it is led by one “Captain Tomorrow.” And that devise the glowing beings are assembling in the parking garage? It’s a “gravity engine!” Can Jack and Edward destroy it before the minions of the Chief Designer use it to accomplish his fiendish plan? Tune in tomorrow!
Sean Ledden (December 2011)
Produced in 2009, and created by Christopher Preksta, “The Mercury Men” is made up of 10 episodes, each about 7 minutes long. Each crisply paced segment shows how much fun you can have with a low budget and lots of imagination. High technology is portrayed with witty retro props from a 1950’s radio shop, while the well designed digital effects get the most from a few relatively simple shots. The music is mostly courtesy Holst’s The Planets, and it’s a beautifully expansive compliment to the almost claustrophobic cat & mouse game going on inside the empty office building. And then there is my favorite episode, number 6, where Captain Tomorrow himself gives a classic, Joseph Campbell-style Call To Adventure to a most unlikely hero. It’s a Call that incorporates a thrilling tribute to the Apollo Space Program and a spirit from the golden age of science fiction.