'Sapphire & Steel,' the 70's Weirdest Sci-Fi Series, Returns

Two elements in human form attempt to save us from time itself.

The ‘70s sci-fi series Sapphire & Steel was a cult hit before being a cult hit was cool. Shot and edited in much the same manner as Doctor Who, the show followed two time-traveling elements in human form attempting to rid the galaxy of anachronisms, which were, in the show’s mythology, weak spots where Time could sneak into the present and steal the future. It was, to put it mildly, confusing and compelling. And it will be again thanks to Neil Cross, the creator of the excellent Luther and the somewhat less excellent Crossbones, who has announced he intends to remake the series.

What differentiates the show from a lot of the science-fictive fair that came out of the ‘70s and ‘80s is not so much its premise, which is fairly confusing and frequently irrelevant, but the creepiness of each show’s execution. The idea of time folding over on itself promotes a certain sort of ghostly narrative and a creepiness that is largely absent from shows like Star Trek or even Doctor Who. Rather than presenting a cohesive future, Sapphire & Steel asks its viewers to question the present.

Cross, who is a veteran of Doctor Who, didn’t give much detail about the project, but he did suggest that monster and ghost plotlessness would be in play and that the lead characters would have a “Mulder and Scully” dynamic. Of course, those characters are actually just carbon structures in human form, but no one’s perfect.

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