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LAND OF THE LOST, Seasons 2 & 3

June 26th, 2009 (07:48 am)

I watched LAND OF THE LOST Season 1 when I noticed my library had the DVD set back in April.

Then, through a combination of NetFlix and videotaping the SciFi Channel's marathon right before the movie opened, I just watched Season 2 and 3.

One disappointing thing; NetFlix's disks come from the recent The Complete Series boxed set (Amazon), which unfortunately doesn't have any of the extra commentaries that the individual season DVDs released in 2004-2005 had (Season 1, Season 2, Season 3).

But, it does have the option of this special edition that comes in a recreation of the 1970s LAND OF THE LOST lunchbox (Amazon):

As a kid, I was really into Season 1, but I must have lost interest by Season 2 & 3; seeing them now, they're almost completely unfamiliar.

Season 2 doesn't have David Gerrold and the stable of real science fiction writers he brought with him, but overall it keeps the flavor of the first season. Will seems shorter in Season 2; I guess Holly's getting taller.

Season 3 really does a big shark jump. The change from the dad to "Uncle Jack" was no doubt a necessity due to the actor departing the series, but overall, it seems to be a new producer and writers who really dumb things down. All the alien races just speak English, Cha-ka's language is completely jettisoned and he just talks Me Tarzan. Enik becomes a dick, and also the Sleestak's bitch. And the Sleestak, who before were these menacing aliens, become these inept thugs. The monsters are much more fanciful than the previous dinosaurs; a two-headed sea serpent, and a fire-breathing dinosaur. And all sorts of creatures just seem to appear randomly; the Greek mythology Medusa, a unicorn. The Flying Dutchmen, complete with ghosts, makes an appearance. People seem to drop in Gilligan's Island-style, and the plots seem more like other Sid and Marty Krofft shows (HR PUFNSTUF, LIDSVILLE, SIGMUND AND THE SEAMONSTERS).

Season 2:
"Tar Pit" Dopey the baby brontosaurus gets stuck in a tar pit. "The Zarn" A semi-invisible alien creature's spaceship lands in the marsh. "Fair Trade" This is pretty startling for 1970s Saturday morning TV: The dad is tied to a rock in the Sleestak's egg chamber, where, he's informed, he'll be EATEN ALIVE when the Sleestak eggs hatch. The family rescues him by capturing a wild pig and trading it to the Sleestaks, so that the pig can be eaten alive by baby Sleestaks.
"One of Our Pylons Is Missing" They discover that beneath the Land of the Lost is a gigantic "heart" that powers it, and consumes living things (at one point it consumes a Coelophysis), and it nearly consumes the family. Silly in presentation, but rather terrifying in concept. "The Test" Cha-ka right of passage; steal an egg from Alice the Allosaurus in the Sleestak Lost City. "Gravity Storm" Scattered bouts of heavy gravity; the Zarn is to blame. "The Longest Day" Faulty pylon keeps the sun from setting. Sleestak Library of Skulls. Marshall gets a whiff of Sleestak cave vapors, and has hallucinations. Strangest of all, some of his hallucinations involve Will and Holly experiencing things he doesn't witness, so I have to wonder if their weren't rewrites in the middle of shooting which changed their scenes to hallucinations. "The Pylon Express" Written by Theodore Sturgeon (KILLDOZER, et al). A pylon is spitting out grocery store items (complete with shopping cart). Eventually they find a way to jump between different worlds. One of the more interesting ones has this bouncing box alien or robot, which promptly gets killed at the next stop. And there some supernatural force has written HOLLY, DON'T in the sand so that she stays safely in the pylon. We never do find out who did that. Also, the episode ends with the implication that, if they survive 3 or 4 more years in The Land of the Lost, they can use this pylon to get home when the next cycle occurs. "Nice Day" Holly falls unconscious due to a toxic plant. "Baby Sitter" The Zarn plays mindgames on Holly and Cha-ka. Actual dialogue from episode: HOLLY: "Now, Cha-ka, you go upstairs and take off my dress!" Last appearance of the Zarn. "The Musician" They find an ancient temple, apparently built by humans. A ring releases a humanoid figure ("The Builder", perhaps of the race that built The Land of the Lost) who tests all, eventually seemingly giving Cha-ka added intelligence to play the flute, like the monolith in 2001. "Split Personality" They must save mirror universe versions of themselves. Plays out like several STAR TREK episodes mashed together. "Blackout" Sleestaks try to control a pylon to make endless night. Written by Donald F. Glut, who wrote the novelization of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Last appearance of Dopey.

Season 3:
"After-Shock" Dad falls through a time-hole back to Earth; his brother Jack (Uncle Jack to the kids) falls into the Land of the Lost. Played by Ron Harper from the PLANET OF THE APES tv series. The cave is destroyed, so they move into an abandoned temple. There's now a two-headed sea monster in the lagoon, that they name "LuLu." "Survival Kit" A Cro-Magnon, Malak (Richard Kiel, playing a caveman just like in EEGAH) tries to extort goods from the Sleestak. "The Orb" The Sleestak again try to bring on endless night. A pylon makes Will invisible. "Repairman" The Sleestak mess with a pylon and cause solar flares. A strange butler-type ("Blandings") appears to fix things. Seemingly some sort of diagnostic system in The Land of the Lost; but why does it take on 20th century trappings, and why doesn't he appear every time things get messed up? "Medusa" For some reason an English-speaking Medusa right out of Greek mythology (and sets right out of several Greek-themed STAR TREK episodes) is in the Land of the Lost, turning creatures to stone. In her garden appears to be the turned-to-stone Civil War soldier from Season 1. "Cornered" Fire-breathing Dimetrodon. In a nice touch to an otherwise silly idea, he does have to eat coal to power his flamethrower. "Flying Dutchman" Malak is back (strangely, Jack refers to him as a Teuton at one point), and there's a grounded ship in the mist marsh, The Flying Dutchman, complete with cursed captain and (unseen) ghostly crew. Sort of strange thing to fall into the Land of the Lost. Stranger still, the captain claims he was cursed, not by some supernatural force, but by the Royal (Dutch) Navy. Does the Royal Dutch Navy have a habit of cursing captains and their ships and crews to an eternity of wandering the oceans for dereliction of duty? "Hot-Air Artist" 1920s hot-air balloonist arrives. Very much like a guest-star on GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. "Abominable Snowman" A unicorn and Bigfoot. "Timestop" Sleestaks, Enik and the family vie for a time-key. They use it to go back briefly in time to save Cha-ka. "Ancient Guardian" A Cona from the mountains (which looks like a darkened Tapa from "Abominable Snowman") is kept at bay by a Sleestak statue. "Scarab" Chaka gets a bite from a beetle that causes him to be a jerk. "Medicine Man" 1877 American Indian and U.S. Cavalry officer clash in The Land of the Lost.

A couple of fun fan-pages for LAND OF THE LOST:
The Library of Skulls


Posted by: Jason Thomas (jathomas)
Posted at: June 26th, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
Other Land of the Lost ideas

I'm not gonna read this post until I've finished Season 2 and 3. I did see the word "Robot" up there, however. I'm sure it's not anything to get too excited about, but it made me start thinking... haaay... a robot WOULD be cool, if it were done right. What are some other things that would be awesome, and fit within the budget of '74-'77?

- "Robot" - Holly finds a robot buried in the sand. It doesn't have any power, so they start putting crystals in there to see what happens. The robot doesn't speak, it just opens its chest and starts repairing itself until it can talk and move around. The robot helps them do chores, and build a dinosaur alarm system. You start to think "Man, this robot is going to be REALLY helpful to them! They may not get back home, but this robot is going to make all the difference here." The bell goes off on the warning system, and the robot protects everyone, but is grabbed up by Grumpy and shaken, shaken, shaken, until he's not much more than a head in the sand which can say a couple of words to Marshall before he dies completely.

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: June 26th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Other Land of the Lost ideas

This reminds me of the death of Floyd the robot in the Infocom text adventure game PLANETFALL. You didn't play that one, but supposedly many players cried when Floyd died.

Posted by: Jason Thomas (jathomas)
Posted at: June 26th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Other Land of the Lost ideas

Oh my god... I wanna play that now.

You need to recommend one, and only one Infocom game, ane I will play it. I am in the mood...

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: June 26th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Other Land of the Lost ideas

PLANETFALL would be the one.

I'll loan it to you next time I see you.

Or you can get a taste of it online here, but since I think you can't SAVE/RESTORE, you wouldn't want to get serious about it there.

Posted by: Jason Thomas (jathomas)
Posted at: June 26th, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
A Darker LOTL

"How to Make an Omelet": M, W, and Holly find a way to get back home! Yay!There is a vending machine that has a doorway back home. YAY! The vending machine only accepts live Pakunis. Hmmm..

Posted by: planettom (planettom)
Posted at: July 2nd, 2009 06:47 am (UTC)

I used to have a STARLOG magazine with an article about stop-motion animation in general, and LAND OF THE LOST in particular. I recently found that somebody has scanned in that article and posted it here.

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