14 June 2007 | lual
There is a secret it seems, follows you no matter where you are......
This series has haunted me all through my childhood. I was 6 years old when it first aired and I was fascinated. Being one of the traditional ZDF Christmas series that were broadcast every year from 1978 to 1996 it was shown from Christmas Day up until New Years Eve. Since my parents thought there are better ways to spend the holidays than watching TV I could not watch much of it, but certain scenes always stuck in my mind. When it was rerun I tried to catch every time. In terms of audience ratings Patrick Pacard was the most successful of all the Christmal series and was shown a lot more often than many others, such as "Oliver Maass" or "Mino".
Of cause, today, the plot seems very cheesy: A professor who lives in a quiet fjord in Norway discovers a formula to make pineapples grow on glaciers and grain in the desert thus being able to stop hunger in the world. Of course secret services from all kinds of nations are alert and try to outwit each other. But there is a dubious character, Dimitri, who plays by his own rules and plans to outwit them all. He wants to get this formula to sell it to the highest bidder, in this case the tyrannic desert Prince Mullay Sharif Ali. Coincidentally a family is on vacation in Norway right where the professor is conducting his experiments.
Dimitri poisons the professor and thus makes him lose his mind, but he knows he will never get out of the fjord with the formula without being caught by the Russians or Americans. So he drugs Patrick Pacard, the young son of the family and lasers the formula onto the sole of his foot. While doing so, an accident occurs and Patrick, while still drugged looks up into the laser ray. From now on Patrick is the courier of the formula,even though he has no clue. Dimitri tries to kidnap him several times, the other agents all know that Patrick is somehow involve and have there own interests in keeping the boy safe. The family becomes a ping-pong ball between these powers where one tries to frame the others. But unfortunately for all parties, the family and especially Patrick have there own strong heads and try to get out of the situation whenever they can. But unbeknownst for anyone but Dimitri and the audience, time is running out for Patrick, for if he doesn't have surgery soon, he will lose his sight forever due to the accident.
As I said, the plot is quite cheesy and requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. But if one is willing to accept this, one can have a great time with this 6-parter, there is a lot of fun and TV-action and suspense at display.
When I was young there were certain scenes which have haunted me to this very day. Dimitri was the first multi-dimensional villain I had ever seen on TV. I was constantly amazed because he never seemed really bad but most certainly was never really a good guy either. In terms of the formula he only cared about himself but above that, he also felt a responsibility for the boy and wanted to have him saved. His scenes, and especially the solution to his story in the end, touched me a lot and the image of that syringe in the very end never left me. Also Patrick breaking down in the desert with his eyes hurting and the audience knowing that there is not much time left created a lot of suspense.
In addition to the suspension of disbelief mentioned above, the series, from todays point of view, has another drawback. It is so typically 80s that it is unintentionally funny. The catchy theme-song pops up every other minute and is typical 80s synthesizer stuff. Also, the lyrics, sung in English are so simple and so embarrassingly flat that one barely even dares showing it to an English speaker. Oh, just for the heck of it... here are the lyrics, can't get them out of my head anyways:
"There is a secret it seems, Follows you no matter where you are, Worth more than many a dream, Patrik Pacard. Good men and bad by your side, Somewhere out there in the dark, Gone with the morning light, Patrik Pacard. Farewell, you're a stranger here. Your're still in danger here, All on your own... Heroes must win in the end You are the best one by far, Patrik Pacard"
Didn't believe me? See, it actually IS that bad... but still, once you hear the song, no matter if you like it or not, you will be humming it constantly...
The series also tried to be incredibly hip and modern, using computer stuff that from todays perspective is on an amusing prehistoric level. And don't get me started on the fashion everybody is wearing!
But, to be honest, I love all that stuff. It is sort of a guilty pleasure catapulting me back into my childhood. I am often afraid of showing it to others thinking it will be embarrassing. But in fact, most people still know it from their childhood, anyway. And they all love it. The series plays on themes of the iron curtain, but still it has an innocence about it that is rarely found nowadays.
I highly recommend this series if you should ever come across it. I bet you will have a great time watching it.