01/11/2011. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
region 2 DVD: pub: Revelation Films B004FS27RC. 8 DVDs 1267 minutes 26 episodes. Price: GBP 28.99 (UK).
check out website: www.revfilms.com
Welcome to another season of the saga, ‘Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea’. The final offering of this popular series from the 1960s is brought to us again by Revelation, completing the four seasons of this show that took viewers under the sea and beyond in the nuclear-powered submarine Seaview. We've already reviewed the previous three seasons in SFCrowsnest and there is little to add here except for the following points.
Season four ran from September 1967 until March 1968. All 26 episodes were shot in glorious colour but by the time episode number 110 had been finished, the lifetime of the show was over. Producer Irwin Allen had already embarked upon ‘Land Of The Giants’. Something had to go and it was this. Probably it was a good time to go because ideas for scripts were beginning to get to the bottom of the barrel, let alone the bottom of the sea.
There is a marked contrast from the original season one which was based mainly on international espionage to season four, a mishmash of the extraordinary and the fantastic. Terminating the series after this was probably a good idea. It had had its day.
There were lots of alien invasion stories, something absent from season one, but there were also plots involving time travel and dimension change. The producer liked to put on colourful displays, something you would see in Mardi Gras or in a department store at Christmas. The trouble is, once you do one such show in order to continue you've got to do the same again and again until everything becomes over the top and excessive. This happened with ‘Lost In Space’ and it also happened with ‘Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea’.
Pirates, Amphibians, Leprechauns, Lobstermen, Deadly Dolls, the Abominable Snowman, Man-Beast, and Jungle Savages! They all appeared in season four. However, if you've watched ‘Voyage’ for the last three seasons and have collected all the DVDs, you have really got no option but to go for this one. It's nicely packaged and comes with extras which include the versions of the pilot episode, all three of them, plus some advertisements and still pictures.
Unlike ‘Deep Space 9’, for example, which ran a lot longer and had better scripts with a continuing theme which evolved through the entire series, ‘Voyage's episodes were mainly stand-alone. You could watch them in any order. This was a trademark of Irwin Allen's productions, made for TV audiences who wanted to sit down and have a jolly time. Nothing wrong with that as such because they did a very good job at producing entertaining shows. Probably ‘Voyage’ peaked between season two and season three, leaving us to think by the end of season four that there is little more that we can possibly encounter in a submarine beneath the waves.
On the plus side, there is lots of entertainment here. It's certainly a good show for kids to watch during the winter when there is not much opportunity for going out. For that alone, it's worth buying, but it is also a piece of American 1960s cultural history where you'll see popular attitudes and morality displayed in a TV show! That's what TV was like in America over 40 years ago. This is definitely one for the collector!
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