Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Land of the Lost -- Far Out!

So 30+ years ago, I used to watch Land of the Lost on Saturday mornings. I remember it from then as just a show with kids, dinosaurs, and some other things. On a whim, I got the complete first season on DVD from the library the other day... It is FAR OUT.

Now the acting and effects were silly, but the ideas were really interesting, considering the time and target audience. Some of the same folks who worked on Star Trek (such as David Gerrold, D.C. Fontana, and Walter Koenig) wrote and edited LOTL scripts.

If you need a refresher, a scientist/explorer/archaeologist/whatever (intellectual outdoorsy type) and his teenage son and 10-12-yr-old daughter were on an inflatable raft with minimal supplies when suddenly an earthquake propelled them into an alternate dimension with dinosaurs; at least two semi-intelligent races (one moderately benign, and one that wants to sacrifice them to their deity); mysterious, powerful crystals and Stonehengy pyramids; an ancient abandoned city; and English-language graffiti warning them to "Beware the Sleestaks."

It incorporated elements of Swiss Family Robinson, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Lost World, The Prisoner, and other stuff that I will think of later. Rather than being entirely self-contained, most episodes unfolded and referred back to things learned in previous episodes.

People may not realize that among the Sleestak extras... Future Detroit Piston Bill Laimbeer.

Among the ideas explored:
  • If you are somewhere where time is fluid and unstable anyway (i.e., you meet a guy from the Confederate Army who thinks the Civil War is still going on*) and you are a child whose mother died when you were little, and you miss your mother very much, why is it unreasonable to want to have her time travel from when she was healthy to come be with you now?
  • If time is fluid and unstable, why wouldn't the adult version of you visit you as a child? Would you-child listen to you-adult?
  • If you are in a pocket universe and you want to go somewhere else by making a raft and floating down the river, you will eventually come back to where you started. Also, if you stand on a high enough mountain and look off into the distance with binoculars, you will see the back of yourself standing on that same mountain.
  • (SPOILER): OK, so try this out (kind of Möbius strippy) -- You learn from an alien ally that in order for the three of you to leave, you must be replaced by three others at exactly the same time, otherwise the imbalance that brought you here in the first place will nver be resolved. So, why not bring in the past versions of the three of you from immediately prior to your falling through the hole in the earth that took you to the waterfall. Therefore, you save your past selves (and thus your current selves) from falling to their deaths, and you get to go back to Earth. However, you sentence your past selves to having to come to the Lost dimension in the first place.

Also -- Sleestak photoshopping.

*Actually, I know some people from the South who think this same thing in 2007 (they also think that Lincoln was a Sleestak) but you know what I mean.

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