The Third Eye (TV series)

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The Third Eye is a mini-series anthology that aired on Nickelodeon that consisted of a variety serials from the UK and New Zealand.

The Third Eye premiered on Nickelodeon in January 1983. It was a live action sci-fi/supernatural anthology that included the first series of Into the Labyrinth (1981), The Haunting of Cassie Palmer (1982), Children of the Stones (1976), and Under the Mountain (1981). A fifth serial, The Witches and the Grinnygog (1983), was added shortly before The Third Eye was discontinued.

The unifying theme of the show (and hence the name of the title, and opening montage sequence) was that of children with psychic powers.

Before every episode, an on-screen disclaimer announcement declared, "The following is a science-fiction program, and may contain some startling scenes. This show is intended for older children." Whoever was responsible for developing the series for Nickelodeon is unknown, as the anthology itself went completely uncredited. The voice-over used during the opening titles, however, is reminiscent of the work of Don LaFontaine:

"Somewhere in the crowd... sometimes you find someone very special. Someone who hears the unheard. Someone who understands the mystery. Sometimes, there's someone who sees with the third eye!"

In The Haunting of Cassie Palmer, the title protagonist, the daughter of a medium, decides to see if she has inherited her mother's powers. She tries to conjure up a spirit, with unexpected results. By the end of the series, her powers have burned out. Adapted from the book by Vivien Alcock.

Twins Rachel and Theo Matheson have limited telepathic abilities and can wield light as a weapon. Aided by the mysterious alien Mr. Jones, they must defeat an evil alien who lives Under the Mountain of Rangitoto Island. Their main power, though, is a psychic bond with two stones from another world which are used as weapons, and (it is strongly implied) may be sentient life forms. Adapted from the book by Maurice Gee.

Matthew Brake demonstrates native psychometric abilities on Children of the Stones, although it is implied that his father Adam may have them too, though in denial of them as a scientist. Matthew can experience the thoughts and experiences of other people by holding items belonging to them. Matthew's powers do not manifest themselves until the fourth episode of the series. It is also strongly suggested that Matthew first learned of his powers after his mother died, and Matthew had handled some of her possessions. Matthew is the only one in "The Third Eye" who maintains his powers at the end of the series.

Phil Church and siblings Terry and Helen (no surname given) are bestowed borrowed power by the sorcerer Rothgo and they are sent Into the Labyrinth. They are able to communicate with Rothgo telepathically throughout time. They are also given individual powers: Phil channels Rothgo's powers in challenging the tyrant Cynon; Helen is able to release all prisoners of Masrur (Belor in disguise); and Terry is given command of a genie in the same episode "Masrur." At the end of the series, Rothgo alters time so that Terry, Helen and Phil never go on their journey, but they are given souvenirs (presumably nidus fragments). Two more series of seven episodes each of "Into the Labyrinth" aired in the UK, but not on Nickelodeon.

When an ancient English church is moved to a new site in The Witches and the Grinnygog, one stone - a strange statue, the Grinnygog of the title - is found to be missing. Its accidental rediscovery (by a woman who, not realising its significance, gives it to her elderly father as a pseudo garden gnome) coincides with the arrival in the same town of three eccentric old women who seem to be looking for something lost or hidden many years before, and a nervous, "other-worldly" child. The townsfolk find themselves looking into their collective past but it takes a group of children to put the pieces of the puzzle together and make amends for an ancient injustice.

Availability[edit]

The Haunting of Cassie Palmer is a TVS production, and has never been released commercially on VHS, DVD, or in any format; copyright and other legal problems are currently keeping the TVS archive off the market.

Under the Mountain is available on DVD in its native New Zealand. The disc is encoded in NTSC, presumably to cater to North American buyers, and has no region encoding.

Under the Mountain, the movie, a remake of the TV series, has been filmed and produced in New Zealand in 2008 and released on DVD the following year.

Children of the Stones, made by HTV, has been released on DVD in the UK and the USA. Both versions contain interviews with director Peter Graham Scott and actor Gareth Thomas as extra features.

Into the Labyrinth, also made by HTV, was released commercially on Video Gems, a UK VHS label, but it is out of print. A three-disc DVD edition, containing all 21 episodes, is available in the UK from Network DVD. This is encoded for region 2.

The Witches and the Grinnygog is not commercially available, although a few episodes have surfaced on BitTorrent and video sharing sites. The complete series is available on YouTube as of March 2010. As it is also a TVS production, it is unlikely to be released commercially because of legal issues.