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Series: Bugs
aka: BUGS
Pretty wires, and running around with briefcases. The show in a nutshell.

Bugs is a mid-1990s British techno-espionage TV series, intended to be The Avengers for a new decade. The Other Wiki has the facts. Absolutely laden with Hollywood Science tropes, and quite prone to So Bad, It's Good.

It died out pretty horribly due to awkward soap-opera elements being forced in. The fourth series in particular was half-dead from the start and only made worse by poor scheduling.


Bugs provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Applied Phlebotinum: In spades, such as the miracle foodstuff that can be grown cheaply in large quantities which just happens to be toxic if exposed to UV, or (in a charity special) a machine capable of controling the lottery draw.
  • Arcade Sounds: In "Assassins, Inc.".
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Ed's entrance in "Assassins, Inc.".
  • Beeping Computers: In the Bugs universe, even the Windows 95 "pipes" screensaver renders with a loud BIP-BIP-BIP-BIP...
  • Crash Course Landing
  • Drives Like Crazy: Ros. When armed with Beckett's Jeep in "Out of the Hive" (S1E1), she decides the most efficient way to reach someone the other side of a roundabout is simply to drive over it.
  • Enhance Button
    • Played entirely straight on too many occasions to count.
    • Averted in "Assassins, Inc."; Ros zooms in on some blinkenlichten on a mainframe to demonstrate recovering the data being displayed, but they remain fuzzy, and she explicitly notes that the camera framerate wasn't anywhere near high to get it all.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: And how! They establish this with a midair explosion in the very first episode. No, it doesn't hit anything. Simply losing road contact makes it blow up.
  • Exact Time to Failure: In almost every single episode. Usually coupled with a Magic Countdown.
  • Facial Dialogue: Necessitated by voice-triggered bombs.
  • Floorboard Failure: Ed is cornered on a weak roof and challenges his pursuer to come and get him.
  • "How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.": Ros defusing a bomb attached to an uncooperative Ed.
    Ed: You took long enough working out what to pull out.
    Ros: Who worked it out? I guessed.
  • Instant Sedation: Of all the tropes this series plays straight, this one is notably averted. In "Gold Rush", two characters, a Red Shirt and Ed, are shot in the neck with tranquiliser darts, but it takes near enough half a minute for the sedative to take effect.
  • Last Name Basis: Beckett. Oddly, not for the others in the team.
  • Made of Explodium: Pretty much everything, including a mainframe computer that explodes in 30 seconds of the air conditioning being turned off, and yet Ed manages to extract three circuit boards in that time that are surprisingly free of heat damage.
  • Magical Computer: "Assassins, Inc." has a voice-activated mainframe that seems to be lifted straight from Star Trek.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: "Assassins, Inc." starts with Beckett doing a simple data-wiping job. Hey, where did the evidence to convict this week's villain go?
  • Once is Not Enough: Perpetrated by most of the main characters, who take turns being taken hostage. The gold medal goes to Bureau 2 chief "Jan" for doing this several times during the same episode ("Identity Crisis"), without once stopping to pick up the stunned guard's weapon.
  • Only One Name: Ed
  • Power Trio
    • Ros Henderson — Ego; most likely to take the lead.
    • Nick Beckett — Superego; relatively speaking.
    • Ed — Id; carefree.
  • Space Is Noisy: Mostly averted. In one episode, a leaking and unstable fuel cell is jettisoned from a shuttle and explodes silently, albeit still with a fireball that implies the presence of atmospheric oxygen.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: The then-new London Docklands, where many of the outdoor scenes were filmed, helped with this.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: On every computer used. Complete with cheesy mid-'90s CGI!
  • Wrench Wench: Ros. They all use gadgets, but she's the one most likely to have tinkered them into existence.


BrumBritish SeriesBullseye UK

alternative title(s): Bugs
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