Does anybody else remember Excalibur? You know, Excalibur: the British TV show that ran for two seasons in the mid-1970s, mixing Arthurian legend with Aleister Crowley mysticism, interplanetary exploration, an undead (sorry, spoilers!) villain named Poseidon, and a deeply troubled production history? If so, that’s a little weird because it never existed — but if enough people remember it, maybe that could change.
Excalibur is, in fact, an interactive fiction project made by J. J. Guest, G. C. Baccaris, and Duncan Bowsman. It’s a detailed “fan wiki” for the eponymous (and fictitious) BBC series, and clicking through it reveals layers of in-show plot summaries, behind-the-scenes cast and crew drama, and a running conflict between the wiki’s contributors themselves. Exploring the wiki will slowly unlock new pieces of it, and there’s a simple walkthrough on the “Help” page if you happen to get stuck.
The “lost” BBC project Excalibur is a trippier mirror of low-budget series like Blake’s 7 — a short-lived show that profoundly influenced modern-day fandom — and its meta-drama touches on real conflicts like the ethical debate about real person fanfic.
Meanwhile, the Twine-built interactive story Excalibur follows a wiki format you can find in some other hypertext fiction, including the upcoming murder mystery Neurocracy. It contrasts the ephemerality of older media with the obsessiveness of online fan culture, exploring that deceptive feeling that the internet puts all knowledge within our reach — like a less ontologically menacing version of Jordan Minor’s Street Sharks prank.
And on top of it all, I’d definitely watch Excalibur! Sure, a few too many episodes end with the revelation that reality is an illusion. But “The Sun Stealers” and “A Painted Ocean” (a twist on a famous Star Trek episode) sound fantastic.