Television series about a group of astronauts who travel in time and become marooned on a planet. Unbeknownst to them, they are actually on future Earth. The astronauts encounter an advanced civilization run by apes, but supported by enslaved human workers. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
The two human leads graced the show with an Ivy League pedigree. Ron Harper (who played Alan) was a Princeton graduate and won a fellowship to Harvard, while James Naughton (Pete) was a graduate of Brown and Yale. See more »
In many of the interior close-up shots, the actors' own teeth are visible behind the teeth of their ape masks. See more »
[Galen is threatening a human the trio's trying to help]
It is the will of the gods.
It is the will of Galen.
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Return from the Meeting of Ron Harper ("Alan Virdon")
I have just returned from the Chiller Theatre Convention in NJ (April 25, 2004), where my children and I met in person with Ron Harper who played Alan Virdon in the "Planet of the Apes" television series. We encountered a genuinely "good guy", much like the noble character he played on the "Planet of the Apes" television series. The meeting made a favorable impression upon my children -- Mr. Harper's autograph is already framed and hanging on their wall.
I enjoyed the "Planet of the Apes" television series as a child when it first aired in 1974, so I was intrigued to watch it again on DVD with my children. After watching the DVDs, I can report that I still enjoy the show. It is a shame that the series only ran for 14 episodes. Perhaps if Galen, Burke, and Virdon had been renewed for another season, the story lines would have broken-free from "The Fugitive"-type theme that dominated its (much too short) run? Even so, some of the episodes were of high quality, and, in my opinion, were actually as good as (if not better than) my two least favorite of the full-length "Planet of The Apes" motion pictures: "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" and "Battle for the Planet of the Apes". In particular, the episodes of the television series which took place within devastated city ruins standout in my mind as quite excellent television productions. I suggest that a single "Best of" DVD be released containing four of the better episodes for those fans who will find the $40 to $50 price tag for the Complete Series too steep.
Some have questioned the logical inconsistencies in the television series. They note that some things that happen in the television series contradict things that happened in the films. One problem with their arguments -- with the introduction of time travel, the notion that history can be altered repeatedly by those who travel through time is introduced. Thus, the appearance of a dog in 3085 (the year depicted in the television series) does not contradict the claim made in "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" that all cats and dogs were killed-off in the late-20th Century. Theoretically, a future time traveler might have traveled back in time and caused an event that saved dogs from annihilation. Also, it is conceivable that dogs were re-introduced into society somewhere between the late-20th Century and 3085, as scientific advancements in genetics made it possible. So, there is little merit to the argument that some events depicted in the television series don't jibe with events depicted in the films.
I feel that this television series very competently portrayed a believable ape-dominated world of the future. I recommend this box set, but with a caveat -- take your time getting through the 14 episodes, as the underlying "fugitive-on-the-run" theme can get monotonous if you watch all the episodes one-after-another.
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