A human-male named Farrow finds a crashed spaceship, goes inside, and discovers three astronauts - one dead, two unconscious. He carries the two unconscious ones to his cave and, after they revive, shows them an old book with a photo of New York City in the year 2503. Shocked, the astronauts figure that while they left Earth in the year 1980, they've somehow come back to Earth more than a thousand years later, and that apes now rule the planet! Farrow is killed defending the astronauts who are captured by apes, tried, and thrown into a cell. They escape in company with a sympathetic chimp named Galen and begin a series of adventures.Written by
dinky-4 of Minneapolis
The opening episode of a series has the burden of introducing the main characters and setting up the basic situation, which often involves a lot of expository work that later episodes can avoid. "Escape from Tomorrow" manages to deal with this situation in adequate fashion, though fans of the earlier movies will note that the TV series is handicapped by a more restrictive budget.
The characters of astronauts Virdon (Ron Harper) and Burke (James Naughton) are quickly established with Virdon being the older, wiser, more cautious one and Burke the younger, more impulsive, wise-cracking one. Both actors seem comfortable in these roles though neither of them shine and Harper is stuck with a curious hairdo of hard-to-describe color. There's a bit of "beefcake" as these two change from their astronaut suits into "human" garb and later the tops of their bare chests are glimpsed when they're seen lying (separately!) under covers pulled up toward their shoulders. All this is just a warm-up for the later episodes "The Good Seeds" and "Tomorrow's Tide" which qualify as beefcake bonanzas.
Roddy McDowell more or less repeats his role from the movies and lends this episode a touch which is almost whimsical and yet touching as well. He's the emotional heart of the series and he has "style." The basis of the series is a "chase" format and "Escape from Tomorrow" succeeds in setting this up. There are also a variety of hints thrown out which can then be developed in later story-lines. However, more discussion would have been welcome about the dead astronaut, "Jonesy."
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