Judge Cynthia Boris's Aunt Millie makes a casserole that, if you squint really hard, looks just like the Monster of the Week
Our reviews of Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: Season 1, Volume 2 (published July 26th, 2006), Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: Season 1, Volume 1 (published March 8th, 2006), Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: Season 2, Volume 1 (published November 22nd, 2006), Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: Season 4, Volume 1 (published May 21st, 2009), Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: Season 2, Volume 2 (published March 7th, 2007), Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: Season 4, Volume 2 (published March 10th, 2011), and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: Global Warming Edition (published October 26th, 2007) are also available.
Dive to Fantastic Depths and Explore a Hidden Realm
Long before he was called The Master of Disaster, producer Irwin Allen was the King of Sixties SciFi TV. From 1966 to 1967, he had three hit sci-fi series running on television—Lost in Space, Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea—and a fourth, Land of the Giants, in the works. All four series featured high-action, an enormous amount of special effects, and truly fantastic plots, and he did them all without benefit of computers.
Though Irwin's shows may look campy by today's standards, they're all still fondly remembered and great fun to watch. And thought Voyage started out as more of an action thriller, season three can be summed up with a single phrase: "Here there be monsters."
Facts of the Case
In 1964, Irwin Allen made his first foray into the world of TV when he shrunk down his major motion picture Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and turned it into a weekly series.
As the show rolls into its third season, Richard Basehart (Titanic) and David Hedison (The Fly) are still heading up the crew of the submarine Seaview. Bland but beloved Bob Dowdell is there as the sub's exec and Terry Becker is back (after missing some episodes due to a contract dispute) as Chief Sharkey. Missing is popular surfer boy Riley (Alan Hunt). The actor decided to join up with the real life Marines and was sent to Vietnam. And though this writer appreciates his service to the country, his presence in the series is greatly missed.
On this DVD set you will find the first half of the third season including:
What can I say about the third season of Voyage except maybe "Plant Man," "Werewolf," "Terrible Toys." You get the idea. As with all of Irwin Allen's creations the serious became silly in the end. It's disappointing on a number of levels. First off, watching a marvelous dramatic actor like Richard Basehart going hand-to-hand with a guy in a rubber suit just hurts. But more importantly, it bothers me that these are the episodes people think of when they think about Voyage. In reality there are many more good serious episodes, than silly duds but I guess that's how the world works.
Even in this season with its tremendous budget cuts (A savings plan to help pay for Land of the Giants maybe) there are a couple of real gems like "The Day the World Ended." In this episode we're treated to the flying sub cruising past skyscrapers in Manhattan. When they land in the city, they find it's deserted and the shots are quite eerie. So there is a Super Elastic Bubble Plastic monster in this episode, but it's okay because in the end we find out that it's all a hallucination. Ah, if only the "Thing From Inner Space" could be explained away so easily.
Irwin's favorite animal, the iguana, is cast once again as a dinosaur in the badly titled "Night of Terror." We all fear little things skittering around our feet, which is why "Terrible Toys" isn't as terrible as it sounds, and Basehart plays his own ghostly ancestor in "The Haunted Submarine."
The one episode from this season that stuck with me all these years is "Death Watch." Pawns in a psychological experiment, Nelson and Crane hunt each other on an empty Seaview. Sharkey is along to witness it all and he's perfect for the audience point of view. On the surface, this episode appears to be nothing more than an attempt to crank out a fast, cheap episode. (Talk about a bottle show!) But visually, it's tense and stunning thanks to the direction of Leonard Horn.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
I'm spoiled. Earlier releases of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and the other Irwin Allen properties were filled with cool special features like bonus movies and behind the scenes footage. Not so here. Here we have only the traditional still galleries and more of those annoying clipped together interview questions with David Hedison. There is one highlight, a 1966 radio interview with Hedison that I'd not heard before, so points for that one. Still, I hope they're saving the best for last as there are still three more releases needed to wrap up this series.
Not my favorite season of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea but there are plenty of good episodes among the bad. As always, the underwater photography and the feature film look of the series makes it worth watching. Die-hard fans like me will buy it just because; no special enticement needed.
There will be no verdict. We have taken over your courtroom. We are from outer space and we are here to destroy! Destroy! Destroy!
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Scales of Justice
• David Hedison Interview
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