Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fifty Year Voyage! Happy 50th Anniversary to Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

In 1964, whether “little me” knew it or not, I officially became a “FAN”.  A status that I would, to one degree or another, carry with me to the present day.    

Earlier in the year, it started with THIS COMIC BOOK, and, on September 14, 1964, it occurred once again with VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA! 

You all know the feeling.  You find something that you like – A LOT!  And decide that you are going absorb everything about it, and never miss it ever again, no matter the lengths you may go to ensure that. 

If you’re lucky, you’ll have friends to share those fannish interests.  In 1964, and throughout my youth, I did not.   At least not until discovering Fanzines in the ‘80s, and the friends that would come from that – and, of course, Blogging. 

If you asked me, I would have to say that VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA is still my favorite TV series of all time – even though it’s had some worthy competition over five ensuing decades. 

I hope to have more, but for now – and in order to make the official anniversary of the first episode – here’s something I wrote in 2003, which will serve as a 50th Anniversary tribute:

VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA was the brainchild of motion picture and television producer Irwin Allen, who was clearly influenced by Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”.  

Originally released as a feature film, starring Walter Pidgeon, in 1961, the story of the futuristic Submarine Seaview and its crew saving the Earth from a great “fire in the sky”, was one of the more successful films of that year.  That success spurred Allen to enter the arena of television. 

Voyage feature film, with Walter Pidgeon (second from right).
Assembling a crew headed by Richard Basehart as Admiral Nelson and David Hedison as Captain Crane, Allen’s TV version of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA premiered on ABC, September 14, 1964. 

Rounding out the regular crew were Bob Dowdell as Executive Officer Chip Morton, Henry Kulky as CPO “Curly” Jones (1964-1965), Terry Becker as CPO Francis Sharkey (1965-on), Arch Whiting as radioman “Sparks”, Del Monroe and Paul Trinka as regular crewmen Kowalski and Patterson, and Richard Bull as “Doc”. 

Allen’s fantastic Submarine Seaview sailed across the seas – and through the airwaves of ABC TV – for 110 episodes, until its final broadcast on September 15, 1968.   

An underappreciated – yet landmark – series in every respect, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA was television’s first science-fiction based prime-time series to feature a cast of continuing characters, as opposed to the “anthology format” of the previously popular TWILIGHT ZONE and THE OUTER LIMITS. 

Its accessibility, and the confident manner of its stars, Basehart and Hedison, were instrumental in gaining an “acceptance” for the science-fiction genre among mainstream TV viewers of 1960’s America.    

VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA had a longer run than both LOST IN SPACE and the “original” STAR TREK, though it has since been eclipsed in popularity and public consciousness by both series. 

Indeed, many of the “genre staples” that fans tend to attribute to STAR TREK, originated with VOYAGE:  The ongoing adventures of a “quasi-military” vessel, command structure, regular bridge/ control room crew, omnipresent faceless and nameless “background crew”, “Flying Sub” vs. “Shuttlecraft” – and especially the concept of “expendable crewmembers”!  

The word “Redshirt” has actually entered the language as a synonym for “cannon fodder”, or an expendable or inevitably doomed individual – whose demise you can almost sense from the moment he walks into the frame!   

Though it is commonly associated with STAR TREK, VOYAGE did it first (…and probably MORE OFTEN, too boot!), only they wore BLUE as well as RED! 

[ End of 2003 Material ] 

Now that we're back in 2014, I will add that VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA had four very distinctive seasons: 
Season 1 (1964-1965):  Black and white stories of political intrigue and espionage, in keeping with the Bond / spy craze that swept America, and a handful of science fiction based episodes.  

Season 2 (1965-1966): Full color with lots of new special effects footage, including the introduction of the Flying Sub, as well as a major redesign for the Seaview.  Week in and week out, the best special effects television had to offer.  The season starts out spy-based and shifts entirely over to science fiction.  This is the best season overall.  

Season 3 (1966-1967):  A full season of science fiction ,with an eventual movement toward "Monster of the Week" episodes. 

Season 4 (1967-1968):  A pullback, of sorts, from the "Monster of the Week" episodes, and toward what I can best describe as "Weird Fantasy".  

Certain episodes, past the mid-point of the season actually take on a darker tone, while still retaining the outlandishness and "Monster of the Week" qualities of the previous season.   

Ends with a satisfying series finale.  

Mr. Pem finds there is "No Way Back". 

All in all, it made for fascinating viewing -- and still does, FIFTY years later!   


TC said...

When I was seven, I thought it was awesome. Years later, watching syndicated reruns, I still thought that the first season generally held up well, and that most of the second season was pretty good (or, at least, not bad).

After that, the Batman/camp fad became a big influence, and the show kept getting sillier and more juvenile. The repetition of certain plot devices (e.g., one of the officers getting hypnotized by space invaders or brainwashed by foreign spies) and an over-use of stock footage did not help matters.

Of course, it would be unfair to single out VTTBOTS, though. As we've discussed here before, the same thing happened with Lost in Space, Man from UNCLE, Wild Wild West, and the Avengers.

Even Star Trek recycled plots and cut corners because of budget limitations. (Kirk and Co. often visited planets that were like Earth at some point in its history; one like Nazi Germany, one like the Roman Empire, one like 1920's Chicago. Using sets and props left over from "The Untouchables" was cheaper than building new sets that were radically different from anything that had existed before.) (For that matter, even the later Trek spin-offs, "Next Generation" and "Deep Space 9," were not above recycling plots. Just how many times did the holodeck malfunction and trap the characters in the Old West, or the Dark Ages, or wherever?)

And, of course, the camp fad passed, and most of the sci-fi and spy-fi shows tried to pull back and tone it down, but by then, it was probably too late. From about 1967-68 on, the trend was away from larger-than-life adventure (secret agents, science fiction, super heroes) and toward relatively realistic dramas about doctors, lawyers, and cops.

Two things should be said about "Voyage," though.

First, it was usually entertaining, even at its silliest. Its worst episodes were cheesy, but at least they weren't boring.

Two, even at its goofiest, it usually portrayed scientific knowledge and ingenuity in a positive way.

I remember a guest editorial by Ben Bova in the 1980's. He complained that a lot of science fiction movies and TV shows had an anti-science, anti-technology, anti-knowledge attitude. He cited Star Wars (moral: close your eyes and rely on the mystical Force instead of using the high-tech bombsight) and Star Trek (Kirk would solve problems by using gut instinct and intuition, often disregarding Spock's logical advice. "Trust your heart, not your head" was Trek's recurring theme.)

Admiral Nelson, though, would rationally assess the situation, and use his mind to figure out a solution to the problem. That's something.

And I think that Richard Basehart and David Hedison should have each won an Emmy award, if only for keeping a straight face in the later seasons. :)

Joe Torcivia said...

That’s a really nice assessment of VOYAGE, TC!

Not as gilded as I might tend to do, but “real”. Barnacles and all, you might say.

Richard Basehart did not like the direction the show went in, but David Hedison, who was younger, more enthusiastic, and came from films like “The Fly” and “The Lost World” was more open to it.

As for me (while I feel the Second Season was the best overall), the weirder it got, the more I liked it!

Some favorites from that later period were “Day of Evil”, “The Haunted Submarine”, “Shadowman” (that’s why he’s pictured twice), “The Fossil Men”, “Fires of Death”, “The Deadly Dolls” (with Vincent Price, also pictured), “Cave of the Dead” (Whole lotta “death” going on there!), “Savage Jungle” (my guilty pleasure of a bad episode that I enjoy beyond any reasonable justification), the Mr.-Pem-Trilogy-Minus-One of “A Time to Die” and “No Way Back” – and, very likely, the flat-out weirdest thing I’ve ever seen on TV “The Death Clock”!

To the folks unfamiliar with VOYAGE, even if you’ve never seen the episodes, how could you not be attracted to a show with EPISODE TITLES like these?!

Though I never felt it was a good idea to pit the Seaview crew against a leprechaun! …But, at least it was leprechaun with a NUKE!

Given the changes then-occurring in TV sensibilities, I wonder how far back from the brink VOYAGE would have pulled, if there had been a 1968-1969, Fifth Season? I could see an eventual return to lower-budget Second Season style episodes, as the Fourth Season’s “Man of Many Faces” tried to be.

TC said...

Re: the expendable "red (and blue) shirts," IIRC, the rank-and-file seamen (what the regular military would call "enlisted men") wore dungarees in the first (B&W) season. After that, they wore bright red or blue coveralls, presumably to take advantage of the color photography. The chief petty officer (equivalent of a sergeant) and the commissioned officers wore khaki (and, very occasionally, dress blue) throughout the series.

BTW, the pilot episode must have been filmed in color, because footage from it was used in the second season episode "The X Factor."

Speaking of the "regular military," I never was completely clear on the exact connection between the Nelson Institute for Marine Research and the government. The point was made more than once that the Seaview was privately owned, but she was armed (even with nuclear missiles), and they almost routinely went on military and intelligence missions. And the security guards at NIMR looked like Marine Corps military police. My impression is that they were in the Navy Reserve, and could be called to active duty when needed. Maybe the Navy and the Defense Department put up some of the funding for the NIMR and the Seaview.

I meant to mention that that column by Ben Bova was in Omni magazine, sometime around 1982. He didn't mention any Irwin Allen shows, but maybe he should have. Professor Robinson, Admiral Nelson, Drs. Newman and Phillips, and Mark Wilson all showed that scientists and engineers could be good guys and even heroes. (For that matter, so did some of the sci-fi horror movies in the 1950's.)

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I remember a promo narrated by Richard Basehart. It must have been for the then-upcoming second (1965-66) season, because I definitely recall him explaining the Flying Sub. That ad was also the first time I remember them mentioning a specific year (1973) for when the series was set. Later episodes were set in 1974, 1976, 1978 ("The Deadliest Game") and 1981 ("Journey With Fear").

My guess is that if there had been a Season Five, it would have been similar to the second season (straight science fiction adventure) or the first ("Mission: Impossible"-type spy-fi, with occasional science fiction). Martians and robots, yes; leprechauns, no.

And, yeah, "The Deadly Dolls," "Deadly Waters," "Deadly Amphibians," "Deadly Cloud," "Deadly Invasion," "Deadly Creature Below," "The Deadliest Game," "The Death Clock," "The Death Ship," "The Death Watch." Proving that there was, literally, "No Escape From Death." :)

Joe Torcivia said...

…Or, as I called that last episode you mentioned: “No Escape from Stock Footage”! That must have been an easy week for the actors, with so many scenes literally lifted from previous episodes. And, next season they did the same thing with “Secret of the Deep”.

In an odd way, if you knew what they were doing, it made those episodes even more fun to watch – kinda like a retrospective – or, more accurately, a “cheater” cartoon. .

The pilot, Eleven Days to Zero” was shot in color, and released to TV in Black and White, as the entire First Season was B&W. The color version was shown, in rotation in place of the black and white version, on (what was once) The Sci-Fi Channel, though back when VOYAGE ran in New York syndication on WOR Channel 9, it was always the B&W version. The color version also appeared on DVD as a Special Feature.

“Return of Blackbeard” was set in 1982, per the opening graphic. “Nightmare” as well.

It was never made particularly clear on the show (then again, what was?), but I always felt that Nelson “sold his soul” to the military to build Seaview, and was at their command and whim ever since. Perhaps the entire “Nelson Institute for Marine Research”, though they seemed to do good work, was merely a front for the military.

That’s just the way I saw it, anyway.

Bruce Kanin said...

Joe & TC,

All of your comments are just as entertaining as your post, Joe! I don't have much to add - but will try!

I, too, was a fan of the first two seasons before, to me, VOYAGE descended where no sub had gone before - and I don't mean that in positive way. My friends & I would joke about "Cowalski being turned into a fish monster" or how silly some of the guest stars were (e.g., the Leprechaun, Malachi Throne's pirate, etc.)

As well, I have to say, once STAR TREK came along, VOYAGE paled in comparison. To use a bizarre analogy, STAR TREK is to VOYAGE as were the Marx Brothers to the Three Stooges (don't ask).

Sure, STAR TREK had several clunkers, especially in the third season, but for me, its characters and stories were more interesting vs. VOYAGE. To be honest there were times after the second season when Basehart looked bored, almost like he was thinking "I could've done better than this". This may be akin to your comment, Joe, that Basehart didn't agree with the show's direction.

TC, you touched on a great topic I love to discuss, which is the evolution of a long-running series (or "long enough"). VOYAGE was quite good in its first and held up in its second before getting silly (in my humble opinion).

MAN FROM UNCLE was similar - it was fresh and terrific in its first season (and like VOYAGE and WILD, WILD WEST, in B&W!); held up quite well in the second season (albeit some signs of "camp" began to intrude); allowed "silly" to become the rule, not the exception in the third season; and then did a "180" by stripping any humor from the series, becoming a bit too serious, though at least erasing the third season's "camp".

STAR TREK was fresh and terrific in its first season; raised AND lowered the bar in its second (meaning, several GREAT episodes and a handful of "feh"); and then had more clunkers than good ones in its final season. I could go on with WWW, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and perhaps a few more.

I've no point here - just enjoying this! I will say this - VOYAGE was Irwin Allen's BEST TV-series. As you know, Joe, I was not a fan of LOST IN SPACE (although it's first season wasn't bad at all). LAND OF THE GIANTS didn't thrill me (the premise became stale, quickly, for me). And then there's TIME TUNNEL. Hmm... almost forgot about it. Maybe THAT was I.A.'s best! It, too, was silly at times, but it was overall quite a wonderful and ambitious series. I wish it had gone on for another season or two.



Joe Torcivia said...


Let me get this out of the way first… When STAR TREK was at its best, there was nothing better. I’m sure we both agree on this. “Errand of Mercy”, “Arena’, “City on the Edge of Forever”, “Amok Time”, “Mirror Mirror”, “Doomsday Machine” may STILL be the best TV sci-fi has to offer.

But, there’s also what I call “The Vagaries of Like”, roughly meaning “It’s not the best, but I like it anyway”. We all have that to one extent or another. And, as TC correctly points out, even the worst of VOYAGE was never boring! My personal “Vagaries of Like” include most of the later, lesser episodes of VOYAGE.

In support of this, I can honestly say that I am more likely to watch VOYAGE’s “Terrible Leprechaun” ten times over, before I ever again voluntarily watch Third Season TREK’s “For the World is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky”.

And, to muddy the waters still further, “For the World is Hollow…” and Voyage’s “Shadowman”, which I like so much I pictured it twice, were by the SAME WRITER: Rik Vollaerts! Imagine that!

You say: “STAR TREK is to VOYAGE as were the Marx Brothers to the Three Stooges (don't ask).”

Knowing you, as I do, I understand the point you’re trying to make. And, “The Vagaries of Like” notwithstanding, I might even agree with it.

Another thing I think we can both agree on it that the shows that one or both of us tend to like best (STAR TREK, all Irwin Allen series, U.N.C.L.E., Wild Wild West, etc.) tended to have “peaks and valleys” when it came to episode quality. Often, SEVERE “peaks and valleys”! And, maybe that’s what made them stand out to us, literally for decades.

In contrast, let’s examine another long-running series that I know we’re both fans of… PERRY MASON. It had remarkable consistency at the level of “good to great”. Try and cite a bad episode of PERRY MASON, as opposed to STAR TREK and VOYAGE… you can’t do it! Even some of the later MASONs, like the lone color episode with Victor Buono as a modern-day Fagin, were merely the series adapting to more contemporary mid-sixties style storytelling.

I’d include THE FUGITIVE in that same category. Remarkable consistency.

But, can you appreciate an individual episode of PERRY MASON or THE FUGITIVE in quite the same way as you’d single out “Amok Time”, “City on the Edge of Forever”, or VOYAGE’s “Jonah and the Whale”, “Time Bomb”, “The Phantom Strikes”, or “Graveyard of Fear”? Probably not, at least for me, because the overall contrast in episode quality doesn’t lend itself as readily to distinguishing standout efforts.

I think you’ve gotta give TIME TUNNEL some consideration. I feel it gave us Irwin Allen’s finest moment… the “Pearl Harbor” episode “The Day the Sky Fell In”! If you haven’t seen it, make an effort to do so! …And remember that it aired a mere 25 years after the “real thing”, making it pretty fresh in the minds of its creators and many of its viewers.

Bruce Kanin said...


I can subscribe to “The Vagaries of Like”. What is its address? ;)

Seriously, I agree with everything you wrote, though I might be more inclined to watch "For the World is Hallow..." as opposed to the Leprechaun episode of VOYAGE.

Your examples of PERRY MASON and THE FUGITIVE are excellent ones. What's interesting is that those shows had a somewhat confined premise, in a sense, so their ability to have outrageous stories was limited.

This is as opposed to our Favorite Fantasy shows, which could bring in the absurd in the name of Sci-Fi.

As for TIME TUNNEL, you name two of its great episodes. I need to go back and watch it again. Now, TT would be one terrific series to re-create on TV today! Plus there's so much more history - a few decades worth - to tinker with since TT premiered!



Joe Torcivia said...


I sure understand your point about the “confined premise” of both PERRY MASON and THE FUGITIVE, vs. a more wide-open sci-fi or spy concept – but my thoughts were more along the lines that, not only did PERRY MASON have a “confined premise” (murder, trial, acquittal and revelation of the guilty party), but that virtually ALL of them were in the “good to great” range, quality-wise. Without much variation.

As I said, you couldn’t name a bad one!

THE FUGITIVE had more of a “wide-open” premise. Richard Kimble, in his flight, could essentially go anywhere and do anything, as long as he operated “under the radar” of mid-1960s surveillance techniques and practices. And, with that, came the potential for episodes both “good” and “not so good” (depending on where he went, and what he did) but, like PERRY MASON, they were also virtually ALL “good to great”!

It’s more the overall high quality of the entire body of work, over the premise.

Yet, despite the presence of a fair number (and everyone’s mileage will vary on these) of bad episodes, VOYAGE, STAR TREK, LOST IN SPACE, U.N.C.L.E. continue to be our favorites – and the “good to great” ones are all the more rewarding, perhaps BECAUSE of the other ones!

And, I coined “Vagaries of Like” to explain exactly why I’m so fond of bizarre episodes of favorite series, like VOYAGE’s “Savage Jungle”! (Alien plant growth overruns the Seaview from INSIDE, somehow taking root without soil or a nutrient medium of ANY KIND, and little alien “toy soldiers” – carried in a small metal box – are transformed into full-sized, living jungle fighters!) I sure can’t say it’s “good to great”, so I had to invent another reason to justify my over-the-top, decades-long enjoyment of it.

See that one along with the “Pearl Harbor” episode of TIME TUNNEL for the ultimate in contrast from a single producer! Both made within a year and a half of one another.

Yes, TIME TUNNEL would be a great remake today – and, as I’ve said elsewhere, even LAND OF THE GIANTS could adopt more of the sensibilities of THE WALKING DEAD (They actually have lots more in common than you’d think!), and it would be amazing!

Anonymous said...

The Marx Brothers analogy is not really all that "bizarre." The Marxes and Gene Roddenberry were "for the classes," and the Stooges and Irwin Allen were "for the masses." (Odd, though, how the Marx Brothers ridiculed intelligentsia, but the intellectuals became their biggest fans.)

I wouldn't go as far as to say that Nelson "sold his soul" to establish the NIMR and build Seaview, but, as a retired officer, he would have been a reservist and subject to recall anyway. I believe the Institute really was doing research, not just a front for the military. The opening narration of the pilot episode said that the Seaview was "an instrument of marine research, while secretly the most powerful weapon afloat." And at the end of the episode, when Nelson recruits Crane to be the sub's permanent captain, he says that their mission will include both scientific research and national defense. Similarly, Starfleet's primary mission was exploration, but they could, and did, act as a defense force for the Federation when necessary.

Re: the evolution of long-running series, it's interesting how the camp fad influenced the sci-fi and spy-fi shows, and how they tried to pull back once the fad passed. In the case of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., they seemed to over-compensate, so the last season was too serious, without even the subtle comic relief of the first season (or of the Bond movies, which, of course, inspired the creation of U.N.C.L.E. in the first place).

Mission Impossible never (AFAIR) intentionally went the camp route, but some of the later episodes got pretty goofy (like the one where they exposed a rigged election by convincing a gangster that aliens from space had landed on Earth). One critic said that MI's last season was like a Mad Magazine parody of the show.

Similarly, the James Bond movies kept getting wilder and sillier, although it may not have been so much the camp fad as it was the need to have each movie top the one before. In fact, it was in the 1970's (long after the Batman/camp fad passed) that the Bond series really went over-the-top, getting almost as campy as Batman '66 (or the Matt Helm movies). And, as with the 1960's adventure series, the saturation point was reached, and the more recent Bond movies (rebooted with Daniel Craig) have been played relatively straight.

Since the 1990's or so, the trend in the evolution of TV shows seems to be for them to take themselves more and more seriously. I quit watching The Big Bang Theory when it turned into a remake of Friends, and I quit watching Friends, Mad About You, The Drew Carey Show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Xena-Warrior Princess when they turned into pretentious, self-indulgent (and, in the case of Buffy and Xena, downright depressing) soap operas. Somehow I stuck with Daria until the end. The last few episodes saved it (or, at least, shored it up), and it ended pretty much as I wanted, but I'm not convinced it was worth suffering through the last two seasons to get there.

And don't let me get started about Saving Grace. :)

TC said...

A Time Tunnel remake was produced for the Fox network in 2002. It was never broadcast, but is included on a Fox Home Entertainment DVD set (Time Tunnel, volume 2, disc 4).

As I complained above (just before clicking the Anonymous option out of habit), a lot of more recent TV series have had (IMHO) too much character development and heavy-handed drama. Of course, some shows are well suited to character-driven drama, and some aren't. For me, it works OK when the show has a reasonably realistic premise (lawyers, doctors, cops, even some science fiction), but not so much with outright fantasy (super heroes, sword-and-sorcery).

Interestingly, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea seemed to attempt some character development and back stories on occasion ("Deadly Waters" featured Kowalski's brother, and "Thing From Inner Space" involved Patterson's father), but then the idea seemed to be dropped, as if they consciously decided to focus on "monster of the week" plots.

Of course, there is no accounting for the "vagaries of like," and you could argue at length about straight drama vs. camp comedy, among other things.

Offhand, I can't recall any episodes of Perry Mason or The Fugitive that stand out in my mind. Mason and Columbo were so formulaic that there wasn't much room for wide variation, either in plot or in quality. The Fugitive's premise was more flexible, but it (and The Invaders) still followed certain conventions.

All series tend to have "peaks and valleys," and most shows tend to run out of steam sooner or later. Trekkers often complain that the original series went downhill in its last season, although that season did have some good episodes, and the first two seasons had occasional clunkers. And, IMHO, Trek could get a little pretentious at times, and the later spin-offs were even worse, since they were created after the franchise had gained a cult following.

Joe Torcivia said...

I had a feeling that was you, behind your former label of “Anonymous”, when I posted that previous comment, TC! I just ran out of Sunday-evening time to prepare a response, before it was time for THE WALKING DEAD, the follow-up show TALKING DEAD, and then bedtime. I’m glad you have your own personal handle now, because such great comments deserve more specific attribution than “Anonymous”.

And, yes, the Stooges and Irwin Allen were indeed “for the masses”, ungrateful wretches that we are!

“The opening narration of the pilot episode said that the Seaview was "an instrument of marine research, while secretly the most powerful weapon afloat." And at the end of the episode, when Nelson recruits Crane to be the sub's permanent captain, he says that their mission will include both scientific research and national defense. Similarly, Starfleet's primary mission was exploration, but they could, and did, act as a defense force for the Federation when necessary.”

And, I’ve always maintained that this part of the quote was the most telling: “…an instrument of marine research, while secretly the most powerful weapon afloat”

Sure, they did research, such as marine life, environment, and exploration the uncharted depths. …But also (perhaps mostly) weapons, and even subliminal mind-control techniques (See “The Death Watch”). Never mind all those missions of espionage in seasons 1 and 2. At least that’s the way *I* always saw it. They were also privately “For Hire”, as you saw in “Leviathan”, “Thing from Inner Space”, and “Graveyard of Fear”.

Again, I’d love to have seen the degree to which VOYAGE would have “pulled-back” from its mid-sixties excesses, had it squeezed-out another season or two.

“Since the 1990's or so, the trend in the evolution of TV shows seems to be for them to take themselves more and more seriously.”

And I think we’re all the poorer for that! As much as I was riveted by LOST, and ditto now for THE WALKING DEAD, it’s sad for me to consider that there could never be another LOST IN SPACE. At least, for the most part, I managed to avoid most of the series you cite at the end of your “Anonymous” post.

That 2002 TIME TUNNEL pilot was an interesting take on the concept. Too bad it never made it.

“…a lot of more recent TV series have had (IMHO) too much character development and heavy-handed drama.”

Agreed, again! That’s exactly why I dream of seeing “another LOST IN SPACE”.

And, don’t forget that Patterson was (very) briefly being groomed as the “wise guy” of the Seaview crew, in both “Werewolf” and “Thing from Inner Space”. I’d assume to fill the personality void created by the departure (to the real-life military draft, so the story goes) of surfer-dude Stu Riley. I guess it was ultimately wise to have abandoned that shtick for Patterson, but I liked what little there was of it.