Friday 1 February 2013

1997: CULT TV MAGAZINE (Future Publishing)

CULT TV MAGAZINE was a short-lived (11 regular issues and a freebie preview) SFX spin-off from Future Magazines.

It seemed to be pitched at the nostalgic twenty-somethings that were (apparently) snapping-up old shows (particularly kids shows) on VHS and searching online for a nostalgia fix (a bit like readers of this here blog) which made for a slightly odd mix of fairly serious reportage (although it was pretty obvious this was never going to be THE BOX redux) and nudge-nudge, we're-not-taking-this-seriously superficial fillers.  

That said, every issue has at least one article you'll want to read again and the editors did push the boat out with a series of beautiful cutaways ala TV 21 (Moonbase Alpha, The Village et al).  And the 'TV guide' pages at the back are a nostalgic confection of long-defunct channels (UK Arena anyone?) which you'll find yourself wishing were still in business today.

A thinner preview issue (with audience-pleasing BABYLON FIVE cover) came bagged with an issue of SFX a month before going solo.

For no apparent reason, the numbering reverted to episode 1 (albeit now season two) from the January '98 issue although the final issue was numbered just "11".  The last issue, actually one of the best, contained several hints that the end was nigh buried in the text hinting that the decision was relatively last-minute.  

Freebies included giant posters in the early issues, a "Channel Phwoooaaar" 16-page supplement (an excuse to print big pics of sexy TV folk.  Nowadays Future will bung them in a "proper" magazine and charge gullible buyers the best part of a tenner) and a really rather good TV themes compilation CD.  A free ITC VHS was rashly promised as a coming attraction in a latter issue... but a grovelling apology had to be issued when it didn't appear attached to the following issue.

Episode 3's cover is actually an eye-catching neon orange but - no mater how I fiddled with my scanner settings - it always scanned as the muddy pink you see below.  Apologies for that, the real thing looks better.  Honest.  

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