01/08/2011. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
Region 2 DVD: pub: Revelation Films Ltd B004BFZA96. 7 DVDs 1220 minutes 26 episodes with extras. Price: GBP27.93 (UK). stars: Steve Burton, Don Marshall, Heather Young, Don Matheson, Deanna Lund, Stefan Arngrim and Kurt Kasznar.
check out website: www.revfilms.com
‘Land Of The Giants’ was a spectacular in special effects. When a group of people were mysteriously transported to another planet where everyone was huge, it was a recipe for an Irwin Allen extravaganza. This was in the 60s and computer special effects did not exist. It was all done the hard way by constructing enormous props and sets at great expense. It was first shown in 1968, a dramatic year with changes taking place all around the world, including the United States of America where the series was made. There was a general feeling that people were oppressed by the government and the episodes depicting a totalitarian state in the ‘Land Of The Giants’ somewhat reflect this. By the time the second season was finished, we were going into the 70s, a new decade with different values. Great adventures were beginning to peter out, the Apollo programme coming to mind, and this was much the same with ‘Land Of The Giants’.
The scene is set when a sub-orbital flight of The Spindrift gets caught up in a maelstrom of dimensional proportions and instead of flying from Los Angeles to London, the aircraft ends up damaged but intact in a strange world, the Land Of The Giants. On board are seven characters with different natures and motives, seven people set adrift on this weird and terrifying planet. The characters are, pilot Captain Steve Burton (Gary Conway), co-pilot Dan Eriksson (Don Marshall), stewardess Betty Hamilton (Heather Young), engineer Mark Wilson (Don Matheson), socialite Valerie Scott (Deanna Lund), bank robber Alexander Fitzhugh (Kurt Kasznar) and an orphan boy, Barry Lockridge (Stefan Arngrim). There was also a very important character in Chipper, the boy's dog. Seven individuals, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, lost on a very dangerous world where it will take everything they have just to survive.
Season Two was basically a continuation of the first season. Actually, long before we had come to the end of the entire 26 episodes, it was beginning to get a bit flat and storylines became a bit tedious. Once the initial boost from special effects had subsided the viewers were treated to much of the same with every new episode. Evolution of scripts and ideas didn't take place because Irwin Allen made the show that way, intending audiences to be able to drop in at any time during the series without having to catch up on proceedings. With no end in sight, the show died a death and not many people complained.
In many respects, the episodes of the second season were better than the first but, by this time, people had become used to special effects which no longer had any novelty to them. However, look out for Jonathan Harris, Dr Zachary Smith, of course, who played the part of the Pied Piper. There's lots of mad scientists going about, plus circus performers, secret police, giant robots and scheming despots from the future in these episodes but there is no conclusion and the lost travellers do not get back home.
All of the twenty-six episodes on seven DVDs are included in this package but you also get lots of extras. There is a new cast commentary, interviews, a multitude of pictures and also original USA broadcasting information. The package is actually very good value for money and in the UK it will cost approximately a pound per episode which isn't bad. If you purchased the first season collection then you will undoubtedly wish to purchase this one. While it is not great, not something to rave about, it's certainly reasonable television and compared to what's on TV today it's quite good.
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