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Series / Guest from the Future

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Guest from the Future (Гостья из будущего) is a 1984 Cult Classic Soviet Science Fiction TV Mini Series directed by Pavel Arsenov. It is based on the book One Hundred Years Ahead by Kir Bulychev, part of a series about Alisa Seleznyova, a girl from the future.

The series is considered a classic of Soviet sci-fi, and is often aired on television to this day. It exemplifies the optimism the Soviets had for science, technology, and futurism, as well as their faith in children. The film was followed by a sequel, Lilac Sphere. The theme song "Prekrasnoye Dalyoko" (typically translated as "The Wondrous Future") by Yevgeny Krylatov has also become very popular. The star, Natalia Guseva, was inspired by her role to become a scientist herself. The Fan Sequel Guest From The Future 2 may be seen here.

The 5-episode miniseries was a co-production of Soviet Central Television and the Gorky Film Studio, with its original run airing from March 26-30, 1985.


  • Actionized Adaptation: Played straight for the book's part one (the events in the future), but surprisingly inverted for part two (the events in the 20th century).
    • In contrast to part one of the book, most of which has Kolya just leisurely wander around Moscow and see the sights, the first two episodes are way more action-packed. Even in the very first episode, Kolya is chased around the Institute by Werther. Then, after the space pirates appear, he has to rush to the Cosmozoo to warn Alisa. When he manages to grab the mielophone, it also involves a much more dramatic scene than in the book, with Electron and the goat providing distraction. And, of course, there is Werther's final fight with the pirates.
    • In the episodes three to five, however, though almost all the chase scenes from the book are retained, all the fights (Alisa and Yulia vs. the pirates at the hospital, the gym teacher vs. the pirates at school, the children vs. Rat in the final showdown) are gone. Even the long volleyball match with the 7A class is cut and replaced with long jumps that involve no competition with another class and last a couple of minutes. As for the finale, Marta Erastovna does at least punch Jolly U, but after that the pirates just shoot from their blasters to frighten the kids (they specifically aim at the columns) for several seconds, and then Polina appears and paralyzes them in one second.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Making Jolly U a shapeshifter certainly makes the pirates more dangerous, but it also leads to inconsistencies.
    • For most of the time, he remains in the shape of an overweight man and has troubles during all the chase scenes. There is no In-Universe reason why he can't take a more comfortable form.
    • In the hospital, he poses as Alice's father but, again for no In-Universe reason, doesn't turn into her actual father (whom he knows by sight). It would have at the very least caught Alice unawares.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • In the book, the gym teacher is extremely overweight, to the point that Alisa and Yulia mistake him for Jolly U from a distance. In the movie, he is quite slender and fit.
    • In the book, Kolya Sadovsky is plump, pale, absent-minded to the point talking with him is difficult, and outwardly unimpressive overall (Alice thinks the only noticeable trait about his looks is his bright red hair). In the movie, he is very handsome and dashing, and many fans have admitted to having a huge crush on him.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Several.
    • Whoever is in charge of long time travels at the Institute of Time. In the book, the time machine is hidden in a simple apartment, and its guard has blended in so well that not even his closest neighbors suspect there is anything extraordinary about him. In the movie, the machine is located in an abandoned house, and Polina the time traveler is so obviously foreign in the streets of mid-1980s Moscow that it's a wonder only Fima decides to follow her.
    • In the book, the pirates stay in a random abandoned house they find themselves. In the movie, they stay in the very same house where the time machine is hidden, making it laughably easy for any potential crime-fighters from the future to catch them unawares. Which is precisely what happens.
    • In the book, though Rat is the mastermind of the two, Jolly U is competent enough on his own. In the movie, he is turned into a near-complete idiot. One of the most memorable moments is his spectacular failure in the climactic scene, where he turns into Kolya to lure Alice into the house, and then turns back too early for no reason at all and continues to call for her as Kolya, but in his own voice.
  • Adaptational Dye-Job:
    • In the books, Alice has golden blond hair, but she is dark-haired in the series.
    • Another example of the trope leads to a minor plot point from the book getting dropped from the series. In the book, Kolya Sadovsky has distinctive bright red hair, and Alice thinks it's unlikely he was the one who went to the future, since both she and the pirates would have certainly remembered his hair color. Here, Kolya Sadovsky is a Brainy Brunette, so Alice is as unsure about him having the mielophone as she is about the two other Kolyas..
  • Adaptational Explanation Extrication: When Mila Rutkevich gets tricked into assisting the pirates, it looks pretty random, as she is a side character who hardly gets any screentime, unlike in the book, where the narrative describes her perfectionist nature and closely follows the growth of her resentment of Alisa.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Kolya Gerasimov, for all that the character is more than heroic in the book.
    • In the book, he isn't particularly interested in getting to know Alice, and when the mielophone is stolen, he thinks it serves her right for not looking after it properly. In the movie, he rushes to warn Alice and save the mielophone without even properly knowing who Alice is.
    • In the book, when the pirates infiltrate the school, he runs away as he realizes he is recognized. In the movie, the same thing happens with a seemingly minor difference: he runs away, shouting "I've got the mielophone! I've hidden it!", to distract the pirates from Alice who is being held hostage at the moment.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Quite a lot.
    • In the book, when the pirates go to the hospital (with Rat disguised as Alik Borisovich and Jolly U posing as Alisa's father), Alisa starts screaming murder, which confirms she doesn't have amnesia. Here, when they do the same, Alisa sweetly says "Hi, Daddy!" and hugs Jolly U, throwing them both completely off guard.
    • In the book, the hospital staff remain completely clueless about the entire story behind Alisa and her escape from the hospital. In the movie, Maria Pavlovna, the head nurse, senses that Alisa and Yulia are in danger and tells Shurochka, another nurse, not to reveal Yulia's address to anyone.
    • In the book, the pirates know where Alisa and Yulia live, but somehow don't reach the simple solution of constantly watching the house. In the movie, they do, forcing Alisa and Yulia to go to school in a disguise.
    • In the book, when Rat gets disguised as the English teacher and goes to Alisa's classroom, he asks "Is it the sixth-B class?", after which everyone smells a rat. In the movie, he acts the part believably enough, so that only Alisa and Kolya Gerasimov get suspicious at first, and until the real teacher bursts inside, the majority of the class doesn't realize something's off.
  • Adaptational Job Change: The future professions of Alisa's classmates (or at least, what she says they will be; her truthfulness in that particular case is a topic for endless discussions).
    • In the book, Kolya Sadovsky is to become a famous fairytale writer. In the movie, he is to become an engineer and invent the time machine (in the book, Sulima is to invent it).
    • In the book, Mila is to become a school headmistress and Yulia a famous pediatrician. In the movie, Mila is to become a famous pediatrician, and Alisa doesn't say anything about Yulia's future.
    • In the book, Kolya Naumov is to become an architect. In the movie, he is to become a poet.
    • In the book, Fima Korolyov is to become an engineer. In the movie, he is to become a traveler and writer.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • In the book, Alisa is quite on edge for a while because of all the stress and even quarrels with Yulia a couple of times. In the movie, she is always quiet, polite and friendly.
    • In the book, the head nurse Maria Pavlovna is extremely strict and harsh. In the movie, she is far gentler and often breaks into tears as she thinks how Alisa must be suffering.
    • In the book, Marta Skryl is a persistent gym coach who sees Alisa as a future sports champion rather than a person. In the movie, she's still all that, but she also gets to personally throw Jolly U out of the window. She also accepts the fact that Alisa isn't going to stay in the 20th century and win medals, gets a chance to say goodbye to the girl, and they part on friendly terms.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the books, the pirates don't even directly attack anyone except Kolya when still in the 21st century. Here, they kill Werther, possibly kill two people from the cosmodrome staff, sort of paralyze Grandpa Pavel, and tie up Electron and his goat.
    • In the books, the pirates have a blaster, but only use it once to melt a glass wall, and while in the past, they use Rat's soporific gas gun instead, even in the climactic scene. Here, they have a blaster and use it to kill Werther and then to threaten the children in the final confrontation.
    • A minor case, but still. Since Alisa is a lot quieter than in the book and only answers at the lessons when asked, Mila Rutkevich's willingness to give her away and believe she is a dangerous lunatic makes Mila look worse.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Jolly U and Rat tell Mila they are from a psychiatric hospital for dangerous children, and Alisa, the most dangerous person, has escaped. Mila gives them the information they need.
  • Becoming the Mask: The professional time travelers at the Institute of Time often play their parts so well they forget they live in the 21st century. For example, a man who travels to Classical and Hellenic Antiquity gives passionate speeches in the style of Greek orators, and a man who returns from the French kings' court lapses into Gratuitous French, suddenly prefers hunting over fishing (despite usually being a great fisherman) and insists he's a Marquess from a very ancient family.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The children come to save Kolya from the pirates, Marta Erastovna steps in to defend the children against the pirates, and then Polina appears from the future to arrest the pirates.
  • Big Heroic Run: Plenty of running around Moscow.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Jolly U: "We have no right to traumatize an innocent child."
    • The man who saw the pirates carry Kolya away lies to the children, but is discovered by Mielofon.
  • Brick Joke: Marta Erastovna coming to the old house to look for Alisa, having chased after her for the last two episodes.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Mielofon. It can read the mind of any life form, so Alisa is at first using it on a crocodile at the zoo. Near the end, the children use it to read the mind of the witness and find Kolya in the old house.
  • Children Are Innocent: When the schoolchildren are looking for Kolya after he was carried away by the pirates, the eyewitness asks "What if [the pirates] have a right to carry boys?" The children reply, as one, "THERE IS NO SUCH RIGHT!" The pirates' torture of Kolya is played much darker than most of their other deeds.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: How the pirates plan to extract the location of the Mielofon from Kolya.
  • Composite Character: Werther is a combination of several future characters from the book.
  • Computer Voice: The time machine has a computer that speaks in a flat male voice. "Enter the circle. Grasp the handrails. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply." "Transfer finished. Happy trip!"
  • Cool Car: The flying cars.
  • Courtly Love: Werther the robot towards Polina, who is human, not interested and already in a relationship. He silently pines for her and composes poems in her honor.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Alla Sergeevna, the English teacher.
    Kolya Sadovsky (who hasn't done the homework): You asked me at the last lesson … I figured a missile doesn't hit the same crater twice.
    Alla Sergeevna: It does, Sadovsky, it does. Consider yourself killed.
    • Kolya Sadovsky himself as well.
    Kolya: My name's Sherlock Holmes. And what's your name?
    Jolly U: Snot!
    Kolya: It was nice to meet you!
  • Demoted to Extra: Most of the 6B class, except for Yulia, Fima, Kolya Gerasimov and Kolya Sadovsky, and all the teachers, except for Alla Sergeevna. Justified, of course, since Alisa only comes to the school in the fourth episode out of five, and there is hardly time for fleshing out the dozen characters from the book, especially after the first two episodes' rather slow pace.
  • Description Porn: The inventory chamber in the Time Institute gives for life forms their species, location, and home era, and for objects their purpose, make, model, producer, and date of production. See here.
  • Dog Walks You: The big dog that chases Jolly U pulls its owner.
  • Dynamic Entry: The pirates crash their flying car into the doors of the Time Institute.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Dogs don't like the pirates very much.
  • Fantastic Aesop: In the narration. "If you ever find a time machine in the basement, never turn it on without the adults' permission!"
  • Forgot About His Powers: At their first appearance, the pirates shoot Death Rays right out of their eyes, killing two men from the cosmodrome staff (or at least knocking them out, it's left ambiguous). At their second appearance, they near-paralyze Grandpa Pavel, also using eye contact. Neither of these abilities is ever used or even brought up again.
  • Hugh Mann: The pirates' disguises are not perfect.
  • Junior High: School 20. It's in fact a middle school, that is, junior and high combined into one continuous school. Standard operating procedure in the (ex-)USSR.
  • Leitmotif: Alisa's theme "Prekrasnoye Dalyoko," the pulsating time-travel music, and the pirates' bumbling theme.
  • Medium Awareness: Yulia explains that scientists in the future will name their inventions for the inventions described in science fiction books, showing to Alisa that Kolya Sadovsky is the wrong Kolya.
  • Mundane Utility: There are portals that are used for public transit around Moscow, and the time machines are built around similar principles.
  • New Transfer Student: Yulia's explanation for Alisa's appearance in school.
  • Nostalgia Filter: The effects are a bit campy, and the acting is not Bolshoi Theater quality, but it is a fond childhood memory for many.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted Trope. There are three boys named Kolya in class: Kolya Sulima, Kolya Sadovsky, and Kolya Gerasimov. So Alisa and Yulia come up with The Plan to find the right one.
  • The Plan: Devised by Alisa and Yulia to find the right Kolya.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Several changes have been made to make the plot more concise, cut down the number of characters, or keep the special effects within the limits of the budget.
    • It especially shows in Kolya's trip to the future: in the book, until he and the pirates independently find themselves in Cosmozo, it’s a Random Events Plot with many of said events (like growing a house) have no effect on the main storyline whatsoever. In the film, Kolya goes to the cosmoport where he learns about the Mielofon at once, and the pirates are focused on the Mielofon from the start.
    • Many alien and robotic future characters from the book were combined into Werther, who as a biorobot, was easier to film.
    • Jolly U and Rat were both Starfish Aliens, and only Rat could shapeshift. In the film, both pirates can shapeshift.
    • The Mielofon is simplified from a box with headphones and wires to a box with a crystal.
    • Alisa escaped the hospital a day after Yulia was discharged, but in the film both escape on the same day.
    • The number of scenes of characters arguing has been reduced.
    • Kolya's last name was Naumov, but had to be changed to Gerasimov because they hired the actor Ilya Naumov (Fima).
  • Raygun Gothic: The 2080s, which have energy weapons, space travel, time travel, humanoid robots, flying cars, and the Mielofon. Science and technology are so advanced that schoolchildren regularly launch rockets for projects.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Grandpa Pavel is the father of Captain Poloskov. In the book there was no connection between them.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Werther, who has a sense of humor (he suggests putting Kolya in the Time Museum), dedicates poetry to Polina, and performs a You Shall Not Pass! Heroic Sacrifice against the pirates.
  • Rousseau Was Right: To the point where every person is more or less The Idealist except the two antagonists who are alien. There is this great sense of genuine optimism about the whole series. The people making it were not paying lip service, but truly believed in a "beautiful faraway future" in which there is peace, equality, great technological advancement and humanity as a whole took a great step forward. Alisa states that she is not special, all future children are as smart and athletic as her. The series ends on a fantastically optimistic point as Alisa tells her classmates that they will all become great members of a wonderful socialist country, making the finale particularly heartbreaking in hindsight.
  • Running Gag:
    • Kolya is always touching things.
    • Jolly U is obsessed with drinking kefir.
    • Rat cannot stop speaking in riddles.
    • Alik Borisovich is unable to finish his story about visiting the Sea of Azov.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: The schoolchildren wear orange Pioneer scarves, and Alisa gets one when Yulia gives her a uniform.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • Kolya's flight over Moscow.
    • The Cosmozoo.
  • Spell My Name With An S:
    • Alisa or Alice?
    • Kolya Sulima or Kolya Sulimov? The captions say Sulimov, but the credits say Sulima.
  • Superpowered Robot Meter Maids: Werther, a janitor android, is able to lift two grown men over his head and throw them several meters, also tanks several blaster shots.
  • Talking Animal: Napoleon the goat, attributed to genetic engineering.
  • Wall Crawl: Jolly U climbs the walls of an apartment building to get away from a dog.
  • Wire Fu: Jumping over cars and walking up buildings, 15 years before The Matrix.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Jolly U pretends to be Kolya asking for help so he can lure Alisa into the old house.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Werther tries to stop the pirates, but they pull out a blaster and shoot him.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Kolya meets a 130-year-old man in the future who declares that his twentieth-century school uniform is historically inaccurate.


Audio Thoughts

Using a thought-reading device, Alice and her friends are able to question Ishutin, since the device transmits thoughts as distinct complete sentences.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / ConvenientlyCoherentThoughts

Media sources: