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StuOz (aka Stuart Rawe)
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Outstanding Science Fiction Adventure
The ending to the fembot trilogy.
Part Three is rather different to the other two chapters. Less fembot action as more attention is given to the wild-weather plot line and to putting a stop to the crazy scientist.
There is a rather obvious use of movie stock footage in the scenes involving the submarine and the dam, but for an hour of TV, Part Three looks pretty darn elaborate! We jump from military talks, to sea action, to the island of terror!
All in all, all three chapters of Kill Oscar stand as some of the most pleasing 1970s science fiction TV, and I am amazed such a great epic is getting so few reviews on IMDb. Perhaps this is due to the fact that watching the whole trilogy can be a bit hard for some as it is broken up over two TV shows (The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman).
Outstanding Science Fiction Adventure
Part 2 of the fembots show.
You can actually find all three parts of this adventure on The Six Million Dollar Man DVD set (despite two parts being apart of The Bionic Woman series), all on one disc.
Part Two is just as wonderful as Part One. And you will be killing to see Part Three.
As I said in my review of Part One, this is a highly under-rated science fiction chapter of 1970s TV. Okay, granted, the effects/costume work sometimes looks a bit dated, but I can forgive that flaw as this is just a knockout three-parter!
Top actors on hand (like John Houseman) and the fembot casting is spot on.
Co-writer of the story, Oliver Crawford, did another sci-fi "doubles" story like this back in 1969 with Irwin Allen's Land Of The Giants series episode: The Clones.
Fans of other Irwin Allen shows, Lost In Space and The Time Tunnel, will see hardware in the fembot base that seems to come from those shows. I know the blinking light hardware comes from Time Tunnel.
All in all, this is outstanding!
The Bionic Woman: Kill Oscar (1976)
Outstanding Science Fiction Adventure
An army of female robots, fembots, is created.
I am amazed that only one of other person has reviewed this hour (the start of an epic three-parter)! I was expecting atleast ten reviews!
This three-parter is simply one of the greatest science fiction chapters of 1970s television. Okay, granted, some of the fembot effects/costume work is a bit dated by today's standards, but I can forgive that flaw when the whole three hours are just so much fun. Well made fun, not goofy fun, just well made science fiction adventure. And that stuff about changing the weather is also outstanding. Wow! I am speechless!
Who could not like a show with the talents of John Houseman as the bad guy and maker of the fembots? The casting of the fembots is spot on.
Co-writer of the story, Oliver Crawford, did another sci-fi "doubles show" along these lines back in 1969 with the Irwin Allen's Land Of The Giants episode: The Clones.
Other Irwin Allen connections include Time Tunnel blinking light hardware and what look like Lost In Space Jupiter 2 freezing tubes.
The whole three hours can be found on The Six Million Dollar Man DVD box set, all on one disc.
Part Twilight Zone, Part Sexy Blonde Episode
Mysterious images upset sexy Farrah Fawcett.
A Twilight Zone-ish start to the hour will thrill fantasy-fans and a sexy Farrah in the sweaty desert will please many male eyeballs.
Good desert location filming even if one scene keeps jumping from afternoon to early evening. You can almost hear the director shouting: "we are losing the light!!".
The normally wonderful bionic fight we see each week seems a little toned down this time. Could this be the point in the series where the violence in the series was softened?
All in all, a fine episode of the series.
Part Two Is Better Than Part One
Action packed hour with two bionic people (Steve, Jamie) and one robot-like Bigfoot. Did I forget to mention the erupting volcano (well it was the decade of disaster movies)? Wow, what a great hour, in fact my favourite of the Bigfoot hours.
Part One can be found as an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man. If you own the DVD box set of TSMDM you can actually get this Bionic Woman episode as part of TSMDM series! How nice of them.
For reasons that are not clear, The Return Of Bigfoot Part Two has much better and sharper picture quality than The Return Of Bigfoot Part One??? John Saxon's purple outfit really sparkles with the improved picture quality.
All in all, a knockout hour and one of my top five episodes of the series.
More Fantastic Adventure
Part Two of the Bigfoot.
If you own this on DVD, I strongly advise you listen to the DVD commentary playing over it as the episode writer gives us some amusing trivia about the revolving tunnel we see in this adventure.
In Part Two we find out about this mysterious alien race living in a cave. It is a well made science fiction adventure however if you have been a regular viewer of this series right from the beginning, you might find that it all seems a bit out of place and far-fetched compared to what came before. To those viewers I say one thing: more of this sort of stuff is still come in later episodes!
I personally like this more fantastic take on The $6 Million Dollar Man and look forward to more episodes like this.
Slow Start, But Once It Gets Cooking, Very Good
Very famous episode of the series about Bigfoot.
The writer of this episode does a DVD commentary over it and admits that some padding was required after shooting as it was too short to fill the network running time. Well, it shows!
In fact the first 24 minutes of Part One are very slow. The writer admits he was trying to build up tension by waiting a bit for the big showdown between Steve and Bigfoot. And yes, the showdown is great looking and sounding footage. But the first 24 minutes are just too tedious.
Thankfully, Part Two is more eventful than Part One.
The musical score in this two-parter is very good.
The Secret Of Bigfoot is one of the better adventures of this series but it is not as good as season two's The Seven Million Dollar Man (my favourite episode of the series).
Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
Okay, Lay Off It, Just Don't Think Of It As A "Speed" Movie!
A cruise liner is hyjacked.
If this movie did not pinch the "Speed" title, and simply called itself "Cruise Control" it probably would have been more liked. Reviewers attack this movie because they were expecting another "Speed" experience...and never got it.
But who can trash a movie with such a great ending! I will not reveal what the ending is, but hey, the makers of this flick obviously went to a lot of effort to film the climax. Also, the cast of the movie is good.
Granted, the middle sections of the flick were a bit dull, but all things considered, not a bad disaster-at-sea movie!
Shazam!: Finders Keepers (1976)
Isis And Marvel Join Up Again!
Mentor is kidnapped, so Marvel needs some help.
This is a fine episode of the series, where it is adults instead of young men who cause all the problems.
Isis appears in this series a couple of other times, and frankly, the other episodes with her in them were better.
The bit where Isis makes Mentor float in the air looks a little silly and fake. Considering all the powers she has, I think Isis could have found a better way to get Mentor out of danger.
But still, a nice action packed episode of the series.
The next (and last) two episodes of the series are two of the classics: "Sound Of A Different Drummer" and "Out Of Focus".
Classic Episode With A Great Statement
A young black man wants to play the violin instead of hang around with his sport-loving pals.
One of the very best episodes of the series as it is packed with action (including even a missile test gone wrong) and it makes a nice statement about young people following an artistic dream when all around them are against the idea.
Love the groovy paint work on the van the boys drive around in.
This series often features action scenes where Marvel comes to the rescue of a kid about to be hit by some massive thing (truck, car, etc) and instead of Marvel just lifting the kid out of danger, he moves the massive object about to cause the problem.
In this episode it looks a little silly as Marvel feels the need to re-direct a missile, instead of just lifting the kid out of danger. I know why these things are done in the series, so Marvel can show off his powerful skills, but still it looks a bit silly.
But other than that issue, Sound Of A Different Drummer is a classic.
Another Cool Bad Boy Episode
The episode is called "Debbie" but it seems to be more about trouble-making kid "Tom" and his habit of taking his harmless girlfriend away on his motor bike.
The Captain Marvel rescue scenes in this episode get the odd laugh when they are played straight, but the goofy nature of this footage is part of the appeal of this series.
The location filming is very interesting in this series. Even more fun to look at when filmed in more populated towns as we see here. I often find myself glaring at some old 1970s street advertisement or "yank tank" car when I should be looking at the actors. Once again, this all apart of the appeal of this series.
Shazam!: The Contest (1976)
The Welcome Addition Of New Music Cues
A young man is caught up in crime.
Th first episode of season three. Rather unusual for a Filmation series to have three seasons, in fact it is a bit unusual for a Filmation series to have two seasons! They often came and went rather fast. I have never seen the official ratings figures for Shazam!, but the ratings must have been good. The series was so good back then and it is still good today when watched on Warner Archive DVD.
The Contest features another mix of a good boy with a bad boy, with trouble then happening. Granted, this theme had been done before in the series, but for some reason I never get tired of it.
The most attention grabbing thing about this episode is the addition of new music cues that would be used in all the remaining episodes. The new disco-type music is cool, in fact so cool it often steals attention away from the story and actors.
Shazam!: The Odd Couple (1975)
A Knockout Episode
A young man named "Dan" decides he will never get help from anybody.
"Dan" is just so obnoxious that you have to wonder why any girl would want to go out with him??
Another fine episode of this under-rated series. The footage of Mentor talking to the the Elders is well played, and very unusual in this series.
The way superhero "Isis" is brought into this series is skillfully played and acted.
The only negative, at this stage in the series, the use of exactly the same music cues in every episode was starting to get too repeatative. Thankfully, this issue would be addressed next season.
Shazam!: Goodbye, Packy (1975)
Perhaps My Least Favourite Shazam! Episode
A young girl has a pet wolf.
This is perhaps my least favourite episode of this normally wonderful series.
For starters, it looks very cheap. With two guest stars (dad, daughter) and a wolf just running around the bush for the bulk of the episode.
The hot-air balloon footage is badly done with very obvious stock footage added in it to make it look like the thing is in flight.
The final moment of the episode makes the whole tale worth watching but this is basically very cheap and average TV.
Star Trek: Discovery (2017)
Not Bad...Stay With It
Ten years before Captain Kirk, this happened.....
At the time of this review I have only seen the opening eight episodes of this series. At first I was just mildly interested in this new take on Star Trek. At first it just seemed too different for something that is meant to take place just before The Original Series...so it bothered me a little.
However, once we got to know the crew of "Discovery", it all fell into place a bit better. I think the "Harry Mudd" episodes were the hours that turned me into a mild fan of this Netflix series.
Star Trek: Discovery will never be as good as the 1966 series, it will probably never be as good as Deep Space Nine, but as a fan of science fiction I will always want a weekly series set on a spaceship....and Discovery fills that need.
Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time (2017)
Wonderful Hour, One Of The Very Best Episodes Ever!
The 12th Doctor refuses to change and bumps into the original 1963 Doctor Who.
One of the very best Doctor Who shows ever!
Wonderful acting from everybody (I felt like the original Doctor actor was still alive in 2017), at times funny, great sets, and just a good solid hour of science fiction.
The timing of the screening (December 2017) could not have been better as this made up for the rather average Star Wars film (The Last Jedi) which also appeared in December 2017.
Twice Upon A Time restored my faith in 2017 sci-fi TV/film making.
The only negative to the whole hour is Capaldi's very long drawn out goodbye speech right at the end before he changes. He mentions children and everything else under the sun and at one point I was yelling out: "okay, right, just bloody change will you!"
But all things considered, a must for all 1960s Doctor Who fans and for many other people as well.
Luke Skywalker is back, but has turned into a grumpy old cynic.
This movie is way too long and I did not care about several of the characters. Also, after nine movies the whole premise and battle scenes all seem a bit tired and worn out by now.
But it is all worth watching for the great ending, Mark Hammill's acting and great set design using the colour red.
In a way, it would have been best if the whole saga, and I mean every Star Wars-related saga, just ended at the end of 2015's The Force Awakens. With the death of Solo and the appearance of Luke.
This would have left some unanswered questions about Luke but science fiction always leaves unanswered questions.
It has come to the stage where I am not even sure if I will bother seeing the next Star Wars film...and I never thought I would say something like that.
The Last Jedi is just okay.
Batman: Shoot a Crooked Arrow (1966)
Not The Best Season Opener
New bad guy, The Archer, appears.
Why they decided to begin the season with this episode is anybody's guess?? There is a general sloppy feeling in the acting and direction. The jokes mostly don't work and there are just too many jokes compared to what we got in the last season.
But don't give up on this one, 1966 Batman is still 1966 Batman and even when the series sometimes drops a bit in quality, there is always something to save the day.
The Nelson Riddle music is good in both parts.
Part two picks up with an oddly amusing scene where Alfred must fill in for missing Batman and poor old Gordon can't figure out the change in person.
But, all things considered, the soon-to-come Minstrel two-parter would have made a better season opener.
Outstanding Movie With Comedy, Drama & Sci-Fi
In Italy, an attractive young couple run into problems when the American guy discovers the mysterious girl is not what she seems to be.
An amazing film that got too little attention when it was released! Hell, I only found out about the movie by flicking through TV channels three years after it appeared!
If you are like me and a little turned off by the wham-bam-slam approach to science fiction movies in recent years, Spring will come as a welcome surprise!
The film moves along nice and slowly, we get to know and love the characters, we get to know and love the look of Italy, and we just have a totally unique experience!
The science fiction element is toned down but so well played...don't ask for details about this element as I want you to be as surprised as I was.
I first saw Spring about three months ago and it still lingers in my memory today....outstanding!
The Event (2010)
An Adventure Series That Begins So Well Then...
A passenger plane goes missing, a 20-something male is on the run from the FBI, this is just part of the adventure.
I first saw this in 2017 on DVD. The DVD cover sort of promised science fiction and the series title, The Event, does sound like a sci-fi title. But it is more of an adventure/Lost-ish series instead. Not what I expected.
The Event series begins so well.
In fact, after watching the first two episodes you will think you have found a real gem of a series. By episode seven or eight I had some concerns that I was not going to make all the way through the 22 episodes. I gave up at episode ten.
What kept me going for ten episodes is that I just wanted to see what happens next with young Sean Ritter (almost a younger version of Richard Kimble from The Fugitive TV series), but as the series moved on we also got swamped with dull sub-plots about boring aliens and a boring US president. It just got too much for me when all I wanted was to follow the lead character and nothing else.
Perhaps others will enjoy this show more than me. Maybe I have just seen too many US adventure shows like this and I did not want to go down this road yet again. Maybe that was the problem I had with it?
Not Just For Female Viewers, Some Guys Can Like Dynasty
A rich American family, the Carringtons, fight for power and oil.
I don't usually review soap operas, but I always review campy TV dramas and Dynasty is about as campy as they get.
Each season ended with an over-the-top cliff-hanger ending which twice involved a building burning to the ground (with people inside) and once or twice involved people being shot. I loved it.
As a male, I never cared about, or hardly even noticed, the constant change of clothing given to the female leads...others found this so interesting...but not me...to me, Dynasty was all about the wonderfully acted out Carrington dramatics and amusing snotty comments given out by Joan Collins (Alexis).
The series probably should have ended two seasons sooner than it did as the last two years (seasons eight and nine) were missing some of the punch of previous years and Joan Collins sometimes even went missing in season nine to save budget costs.
Dynasty without Joan Collins is less pleasing (she is missing all together in season one) so seasons two to seven (six seasons all together) are when the show shined most brightly.
A much less talked about element to the series is the grand music scores that played over some of the early seasons, for example in the plot line when Blake Carrington (played well by John Forsythe) was blinded.
To me at least, music is vital to all kinds of TV drama and this is one of the very few 1980s TV shows that still cared about quality music composers (by about 1977 the quality of TV music went down hill).
So that is Dynasty, to be enjoyed by females AND males, for six seasons it set the world on fire, and it still holds up when watched today on DVD. Enjoy!
Fantastic Voyage (1968)
A Sight And Sound Wonder...But Mainly The Sounds
Cartoon about a miniature craft/submarine doing science fiction adventures.
Good voice artists are vital to a cartoon and this one had one of the best in the business: Marvin Miller (once Robby The Robot) as the voice of the darkly lite boss. At the start of each adventure he got you in the mood for what was to come with his outstanding delivery of lines!
And when that big ship/submarine started to shrink and go places we sort of felt like we were in some an animated Irwin Allen world complete with spacey sound effects used in Lost In Space (1965) and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964).
But let us not get too carried away here, not all the episodes of this short lived series were good, but enough of them were...to make this one of the best old school cartoons ever!
And finally, to add to the list of interesting things to listen to, great music cues playing over these fantastic voyages.
Maybe The Darkest Chapter Of Lost In Space
John Robinson (Guy Williams) enters an anti-matter world.
I agree with the positive reviews this episode is getting here and I might add this is one of Sutton Roley's best and most memorable direction jobs ever! In case you don't his name, he directed everything from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, QM's The Fugitive, QM's The Invaders, The Man From UNCLE, etc. He has this habbit of getting the camera very close to actors and positioning it so you can see up their noses.
The stock music in this hour is very good and well placed with the drama of it all.
The only negative thing I have to say about The Anti-Matter Man is the very human way in which the Robot is portrayed here. His desperate comments like "Oh, I can't waste time explaining it to you" and "You MUST, you MUST (do this)". I am told if LIS got a 4th year the Robot would have become even more human! Help!
But all in all, a wonderful hour of LIS where Guy Williams and Mark Goddard prove that they can do a lot more than fiddle with controls at the Jupiter 2.
A Sight And Sound Thrill Ride
More aliens in a mysterious cave, these ones want Smith.
The second half of season two is generally known as LIS's too silly period but this hour has always thrilled me with outstanding sets, a good Alexander Courage musical score, the rock men from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea's Fossil Men episode, Nero's tomb from The Time Tunnel episode The Ghost Of Nero, mystery concerning a second Jupiter 2 and some touching (if rather corny) moments between Smith and Will.
Alexander Courage is better known for his Star Trek music but he sometimes did outstanding music for LIS (Wild Adventure) and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (Leviathan, The Cyborg).
In a nutshell, Cave Of The Wizards is a sight and sound thrill ride.
The Story of Mankind (1957)
Time Tunnel Meets Adam West Batman
Oddball movie, where major events in history are looked at from above.
Well it might be the campiest movie ever made (so bad it is good) but this is NOT the worst movie ever made as many have said. But my IMDb review history/bio history reveals a love of Irwin Allen so perhaps I just dish up anything this guy makes?
The Story Of Mankind takes us on a Vincent Price (Egghead in Batman) tour of history and many of the events showcased also turned up in Allen's 30 episode TV series The Time Tunnel (1966-67). But Tunnel took itself all so very seriously...unlike this movie!
Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Grouch Marx turn out brilliant performances!
The general look of the film is grand and colourful.
I would call the film good fun rather than a classic, but not anywhere near as bad as many have said over the years.