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This very low budget TV show (which was shot on video, as opposed to film, as most regular TV shows are) involved a giant spaceship called THE ARK which was composed of hundreds of domes, each of which (supposedly) contained a sample culture from the planet Earth, which had long since died out due to some thing or other (If memory serves, it was pollution). Any way, this giant space ship had an accident somewhere along the way in an asteroid storm which killed the crew that was piloting it, so now it's careening toward -get this- an UNCHARTED SOLAR STAR ! The character played by Keir Dullea (who was DAVE in 2001) gets forced out of his dome and goes roaming around the ship with his 2 friends, trying to set the course correct so that they don't hit this star. Written by
Andrew M. Somers <email@example.com>
I was in my my 20's when I saw the pilot episode in 1973 - a story about an Amish-style community, some of whose young inhabitants defy their elders then stumble upon a portal into a much bigger world. The reactionary little town turns out to be just one pod in a gigantic spaceship, built to save samples of the Earth's populations - a Noah's Ark to transport humans to another world when the Earth is threatened with extinction. The concept was completely unique and though I only saw only a few episodes the memories stayed with me over the years. I finally acquired the entire series (16 episodes) on DVD last week and watched it end-to-end.
I still find Harlan Ellison's concept intriguing, and that's what kept me watching a series that's been so maligned the bad press alone probably scares off most viewers. It's cheesy 1970's TV, all right, with the actors plopped down in the middle of colorful and completely artificial-looking chroma-key sets and all the buildings in the various life pods look like 18-inch-high models sitting on tables, but still I wanted to see what our 3 intrepid heroes Devin, Rachel and Garth would find in their efforts to save the giant ship.
Often the show looked like it was made for kids (each pod seemed to contain an evil dictator, who ruled over an "empire" consisting of about a dozen people), but I hung in there, all the time wondering what might have been with good writing and state-of-the-art technology. "The Starlost" still seems like a concept worth doing right - maybe even on the big screen.
One thing that troubled me was the simple lack of logic, even on the show's own terms. The premise of the series was that it was up to 3 young people to save the giant starship, who's control section and crew were long ago destroyed, putting the ship on a collision course with a star. If a way could be found to correct said course you'd think all would be well and the series could be concluded, right? Not so fast! In episode 14, 2 scientists help Devin, Rachel and Garth fix the reactor(s), enabling the Starlost to avoid its most imminent danger, a comet. At this crucial juncture, with the ability to change course at hand, does anyone, (scientists, heroes, producers or writers) say "hey, while we're avoiding the comet, let's just reset the course so we won't be heading for the star any more and SAVE THE SHIP?" Not with a contractual obligation to produce 2 more episodes they don't, so the series plods on through 2 more episodes then stops dead. I wonder if anyone realized they might have simply repodered the episodes to make #14 the last one and use it to wrap up the series.
To sum up, you may find this series campy fun, in spite of all its shortcomings - I did, but I had to make a lot of allowances ...... and swallow a lot of cheese.
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