While Beyond Traditional Recognition can be quite easily encapsulated as a Science Fiction anthology series, it is subtly more than that. In the same way that similar series, such as The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits (to name two famous examples), are distinct and unique from other genre anthology shows, so too is Beyond Traditional Recognition.
Perhaps the title is the best place to begin in attempting to substantiate that which makes this format unique. It was in turn cheeky and spooky, its abbreviation (“BTR”) a play on the name of the company that produced it, while it also conjured the unknown, the mysterious, the frightening.
The former classification emerges in the likes of the episode “Behind the Radio”, a self-referential near-parody of the BTR organisation itself, and the sophisticated, post-modern attitude expected to be taken by characters in the plays to the occasionally old-fashioned Science Fiction situations they find themselves in. These were plays for the twenty-first century, despite their more “classical” roots.
The latter component of the title’s meaning refers to the afore-mentioned literary roots for potential stories. As is evident from the most cursory glance at the episodes released, stories vary from sophisticated and modern to the more traditional. This latter story type exhibited a feeling of nostalgia, that the oft-quoted “sense of wonder” which so many genre fans have drawn from works of its Golden Age found to be present. However, we certainly never wanted to be derivative or old-fashioned, which is why such stories featured that “something extra” in order to entice listeners into something genuinely new.
Old and new, spooky and funny, outrageous and sensible. These are odd pairings, it is true, but they adequately sum up the approach we hoped for with this series. A new sophistication and complexity was brought to our ideas (and, above all, a particular ethos) which have shown the test of time. Oh, and a twist or two at the end of the play never hurt the careers of Roald Dahl or Rod Serling.
As to the limitations imposed on stories, most of these were of a straightforward and technical nature. All stories were required to belong quite expressly to the Science Fiction genre. Of course, episodes such as “The Lodger” verge on other genres (in this case, horror/thriller), but still contained distinctly Science Fiction elements. Similarly, Fantasy is okay, but only as Science Fantasy, or as Fantasy Science (i.e. Fantasy which feels like Fantasy, but with a scientific justification for everything).
- Ice by Witold Tietze & Christopher Smith
- The Alien Factor by Witold Tietze
- The Ukrainian Vampire by Peter Grehan
- The First & The Last by Witold Tietze
- Nil8 by Morgan Jeffrey
- Natasha X & The Train of Doom by Darran Jordan
- Different Times, Different Places edited by Witold Tietze
- Technical Paranoia edited by Witold Tietze