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Spellbinder: Land of the Dragon Lord

Entry updated 8 August 2020. Tagged: TV.

Australian tv series (1997). Film Australia, Shanghai Film Studios and Telewizja Polska. Created by Mark Shirrefs and John Thomson. Producers included Noel Price, Ron Saunders, Andrzej Stempowski and Charley Zhuo. Directed by Noel Price. Written by Mark Shirrefs and John Thomson. Actors included Leonard Fung, Lauren Hewett, Ryan Kwanten, Heather Mitchell, Peter O'Brien, Lenore Smith, Anthony Brandon Wong and Me Yang. 26 24-minute episodes. Colour.

This juvenile Television miniseries, a followup to Spellbinder (1995), has a completely new set of characters with the exception of Ashka, the renegade Spellbinder who had been sentenced to a work camp in her world at the end of the first series. Produced in Australia, China and Poland, this series centres on the young teen siblings Kathy Morgan (Hewett) and Josh Morgan (Kwanten). They, and later their parents (Smith and O'Brien), are accidently taken to the Parallel World of the titular Dragon Lord (Fung) in a "transdimensional boat" invented by a young Scientist/inventor of that world, Mek (Wong). During a brief stopover in Spellbinder Land, they are tricked into taking Ashka with them back to Mek's world, which resembles Imperial China, but having advanced Computer technology. Complications ensue when a horde of barbarians led by Sarak (Yang), with Ashka's help, attempts to overthrow the government. In their efforts to return Kathy's family to their home world, Kathy and Mek land temporarily in other parallel worlds, including one in which Immortality has been achieved, but at the price of inability to reproduce. The people depend on humanoid Robots called "mechanicals" and their culture has stagnated for 200 years. Kathy and Mek escape to a post-holocaust world where the population has been driven underground by automated tank-like war Machines (see Weapons). Later on, Kathy and Josh land in a world that is only slightly different from their own, where their parents are divorced and where they encounter their parallel selves. By the end, they manage to get things sorted out and everyone returned to their proper places.

Far more complex and visually elaborate and varied than the first series, Spellbinder: Land of the Dragon Lord still follows the same serialized format with cliffhanger endings to the episodes. But the convoluted plotlines allow for better character development, as well as more elaborate sets and costumes, compared to the previous series.

As with the first series, this second series was novelized in two parts: Spellbinder 2: Land of the Dragon Lord (1997) and Spellbinder 2: Lost Between Worlds (1997), both by Mark Shirrefs, John Thomson and Jill Wayment. [LW]


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