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The Spindrift, a sub-oribital spaceship on a flight from Los Angeles to London, became lost when it passed through a strange cloud in the ship's orbit around Earth. It landed on an alternate Earth-type planet, where the inhabitants were roughly twelve times the size of the Spindrift's passengers. Our heroes include the ship's captain (Steve Burton), co-pilot (Dan) and stewardess (Betty); an arrogant engineer (Mark); a sexy jet-setter (Valerie); a young boy (Barry) and his dog Chipper; and a mysterious rogue known as Commander Fitzhugh. Together they battle the planet's totalitarian government, try to avoid capture, and attempt to repair the Spindrift so they can get back home. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
Irwin's Allen homage to "Dr. Cyclops" and "The Incredible Shrinking Man"
After "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," along with "Lost in Space" had made their four-year and three-year runs, respectively, Irwin Allen returned to television with this ambitious show about seven travelers (eight, if you count the dog) lost on a world wherein they are "six inch oddities" amongst giant EVERYTHING. The pilot episode, appropriately entitled "The Crash" was, by far, the best of the entire two-year life of the show. Featuring spectacular set pieces, a brilliant John Williams' score, and good (for the budget and the era) special optical effects, though the giant spider didn't work so well.
It's a shame, however, that the show didn't live up to the promise of weekly adventure as exhibited in the pilot. It's obvious that Allen was looking for another Will Robinson/Dr. Smith pairing with the characters of Barry and Commander Fitzhugh. Though actors Stefan Arngrim and Kurt Kaszner did their best, the scripts and the interplay between the two was not convincing.
As far as the other characters, they fit the typical stereotypes: the spoiled rich girl (Deanna Lund), the self-centered businessman (Don Matheson), the brave captain (Gary Conway), the dependable stewardess (Heather Young) and the "token" co-captain (Don Marshall). The latter has the distinction of being the sole African-American to star in an Irwin Allen television production; obviously, the producer was buckling, deservedly so, to have a better representation of the real look of America, as well as the world.
Of the four shows produced by Allen during the 60's, "Land of the Giants" possibly is the most difficult to categorize or even to recommend. It's not campy enough to be remembered as fondly as "Lost in Space"; it's not as adventurous as the underwater adventures of the submarine Seaview in "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea"; and neither is it as innovative as the time travelers in the shorter-lived "The Time Tunnel" It's just a nice trip down memory lane for those of us that happened to have been around when Sunday nights meant "Lassie," "The Ed Sullivan Show," "Bonanza," and, of course, for two years, "Land of The Giants".
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