When you got thoroughly entertaining characters like Bill and Ted, it’s a shame to keep them confined to the realms of just two motion pictures. They travelled through time, to the afterlife, and always in a way that felt both fresh and original. In 1992, the live-action exploits of the San Dimas based Wyld Stallyns were briefly televised, opening a world of reality-defining possibilities, while trying to keep a faithful as possible to the original characters.
Bill and Ted, now working at Nail World, still have access to the Phonebooth from the films, and the occasional guidance from their guide Rufus. Using both at will to fix problems in their lives or the lives of their friends and family to better help themselves. These adventures drop the edutainment constraints and instead take on more of a sci-fi tint, as the show played around with the possibilities of the mysterious Phonebooth.
The more reality-warping aspects of the films have been preserved in this televised transition. Such as in the pilot when they bring a 50s pulp novel star to life or gate-crashing the universe of a fictional soap opera, are just some out-of-this-world adventures you’d expect from the San Dimas slackers. Having the boys work at the Nail World, is also a fun way to generate stories, especially with the creation of their boss, Keilson, opening the plot’s potential, surprisingly exponentially. In times, the calibre of the adventures can evoke the genesis of other sci-fi T.V. shows. A lot of times the adventures did evoke the light-hearted elements of Sliders (especially in that show’s earliest seasons), and it would have been interesting to see where the boys journeyed to next if they had got more than eight episodes, as the previous episodes did show promise.
The voice actors from the stunted second season return to provide live-action counterparts, and while it would be preferable if Winters and Reeve could have returned (it’s probably best that they could focus on their other projects), and their replacements continue to do a fine job. The new theme song, an intriguing electric piano composition by Nathan Wang, summaries the change in feeling that the new show has.
While televised attempts at bringing the late 80s Hollywood films to television have rarely succeeded. Something is compelling in the open-ended nature of the Wyld Stallyns televised adventures that still retains after all these years. Fans still circulate the tapes in a testament of posterity, and if the curious among you watch these with fresh eyes you can see a berth of potential if just given a chance. While the live-action spin-off did not go on to change the world, you’ll find adventures in-store that are far from bogus.
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