Australian tv series (1995). Film Australia and Telewizja Polska. Created by Mark Shirrefs and John Thomson. Producers include Noel Price, Ron Saunders and Andrzej Stempowski. Directed by Noel Price. Writers include Ron Saunders, Mark Shirrefs and John Thomson. Cast includes Krzysztof Kumor, Andrew McFarlane, Heather Mitchell, Gosia Piotrowska and Zbych Trofimiuk. 26 23-minute episodes. Colour.
This juvenile miniseries, produced in Australia and Poland, centers on a young teen, Paul Reynolds (Trofimiuk), who falls through an accidently created gateway into a Parallel World. This world is ruled by people called Spellbinders who use an advanced electrical Technology, rediscovered after a Dark Age. Like Medieval lords, they rule over a land of peasant farmers. They wear weaponized "power suits" (see Powered Armour) which enable them to throw electric bolts and maintain control, and sometimes fly in magnetically levitated Airships. A third group, the Marauders, preys on the farmers and is at war with the Spellbinders. The first thirteen episodes deal with Paul's efforts to get back to our world while his friends in our world struggle to reopen the gateway and rescue him. Paul befriends and engages the help of the peasant girl Riana (Piotrowska), and later the Spellbinder Correon (Kumor). Paul's efforts are often thwarted by Ashka (Mitchell), a renegade, power-hungry Spellbinder. When Paul finally returns home he unintentionally brings Riana with him. In the second half of the series, Riana learns her way around our world while Paul attempts to convince his father (McFarlane), a Scientist, about the existence of Spellbinder World. Ashka eventually manages to get through the gateway into our world where she seeks to learn our technology by secretly befriending Paul's father. She wants to use it to become ruler over the other Spellbinders. The scenes in our world were filmed in Australia, while those in the Spellbinder world were filmed in Poland. The story is engagingly told in serial fashion with episodes typically ending in cliffhangers.
Spellbinder was followed by the sequel series Spellbinder: Land of the Dragon Lord (1997), featuring further parallel worlds. The first series was novelized in two parts as Spellbinder: Rianna's World (1995) and Spellbinder: Paul's World (1995), both by Mark Shirrefs and John Thomson, and the second series as Spellbinder 2: Land of the Dragon Lord (1997) and Spellbinder 2: Lost Between Worlds (1997), both by Shirrefs, Thomson and Jill Wayment. [LW]