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Rhino presents
Land of the Lost: The Complete Second Season (1975)

"Dad, I have the feeling we're not alone."
- Will (Wesley Eure)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: April 15, 2005

Stars: Spencer Milligan, Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman, Philip Paley
Other Stars: Brooke Bundy, Van Snowden, Walker Edmiston
Director: various

Manufacturer: Designpath Studios
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 05h:30m:00s
Release Date: September 28, 2004
UPC: 603497034321
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B-BB B-

DVD Review

The magic sparkle had come off a little by the time the second season of Land of the Lost began 1975, and the novelty really started to show hints of the stress fractures that would eventually cause a complete implosion by season three. While this was hardly high-brow television—it was live-action Saturday morning kid's fare from the Sid & Marty Krofft machine—it was popular stuff during its run: good, bad or otherwise. Watching it today, it is entertaining as campy hokum, made at a time when Chroma Key effects were not quite perfected and the premise had oodles of conceptual issues, which I refer to as The Gilligan's Island Syndrome.

As expected, the second season offered more of the same old same old, following the action-packed exploits of adventurer dad Rick (Spencer Milligan) and his two children—hunky Greg Brady-esque teen Will (Wesley Eure) and pigtailed 11-year-old Holly (Kathy Coleman)—who end up in a mysterious land full of hungry dinosaurs, bug-eyed creatures and hairy little monkey-boy Cha-Ka (Phil Paley) when their rafting expedition runs afoul of "the greatest earthquake ever known", if the title song is to be believed. After adapting to their new surroundings in the first episode with a remarkably casual aplomb, Rick, Will, Holly and new pal sidekick Cha-Ka spent most episodes avoiding danger and keeping one step ahead of the evil reptilian creatures The Sleestaks.

In this 3-disc second season set from Rhino, the first thing that is apparent is that there are only 13 half-hour episodes, compared to the 17 for season one. Not that 4 more episodes would have helped tighten up the already loose flow of the show's narrative, but there's just that much less opportunity for something solid to develop. The addition of a new place for the Marshalls to explore (the permanently fog-shrouded Mist Marsh) seemed to offer the show the chance to expand beyond the limitations of the same old caves and Lost City stomping grounds. The absence of the well-known science fiction authors that helped write the first season (names like Larry Niven, Theodore Sturgeon, and Ben Bova) is another hurdle the show had to overcome, though the B-movie king Donald F. Glut (Countess Dracula's Orgy of Blood, The Mummy's Kiss) has writing credits on season two's final episode, Black Out.

In season two's second episode (The Zarn), Rick and Will, while exploring The Mist Marsh, stumble across what appears to be an alien spacecraft made entirely of lights, and whose head-alien-in-charge is a weird character known as The Zarn, who is apparently made up of broken mirror fragments. Aside from the usual standard issue ability to probe your mind and create a seemingly human, neck-scarf-wearing woman (Brooke Bundy) that woos Rich, The Zarn is a rather swishy alien being, speaking in a hammy deep voice, with exaggerated body mannerisms akin to those of Joe Besser from The Three Stooges. The Zarn character pops up a couple of times during season two, and though more comical than threatening, it was an unfilled attempt to broaden the show's conceptual universe past simply having the Marshall's dodge hungry dinos and shuffling Sleestaks.

This would mark the final appearances of Spencer Milligan as dad Rick, who for reasons that have never been fully explained over the years, left the show at the end of season two, to only be replaced in the third season by Ron Harper as Uncle Jack Marshall (don't ask, really it's best). The show limped on for a couple of more seasons, but once "uncles" are introduced, especially in a show with such a negligible premise as Land of the Lost, one can pretty much tell it is the start of a downhill slide.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: All 13 episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. Colors come off fairly well balanced, and as with Rhino's season one set, there is bit of flicker and some minor ghosting, but for the most part the presentation is well within acceptable limits for Saturday morning television fare from the mid-1970s.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: No major gripes about the audio presentation. which is provided in a basic, but presentable, Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. No evidence of clipping or tinniness, and dialogue is always clear and discernible.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 65 cues and remote access
2 Featurette(s)
6 Feature/Episode commentaries by Kathy Coleman, Wesley Eure, Brooke Bundy, Van Snowden, Phil Paley, George Balen, Walker Edmiston
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
3 Discs
3-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: There are six commentaries available on five episodes for season two, with Kathy Coleman, Wesley Eure, Brooke Bundy, Van Snowden, Phil Paley, George Balen and Walker Edmiston providing the input along the way, in various combinations. Eure, Coleman and Paley are easily the most enjoyable to listen to, and they seem to have the proper attitude and perspective about reminiscing about Land of the Lost. But hardcore fans will appreciate hearing Brooke Bundy and Van Snowden chat about their experience on The Zarn episode, and Bundy readily admits that Wesley "changed my life".

The commentaries are available on the following episodes:
The Zarn - Kathy Coleman, Wesley Eure
The Zarn - Brooke Bundy, Van Snowden
The Test - Phil Paley, George Balen
The Longest Day - Kathy Coleman, Wesley Eure
The Musician - Kathy Coleman, Wesley Eure, Phil Paley
Black Out - Walker Edmiston

Disc three contains an Interview with Walker Edmiston (13m:28s), who chats about his early days with Beanie and Cecil, as well as Los Angeles kid's show era, leading up to his appearance as the enigmatic Enik in the season-ending Black Out episode.

The season one set had a Land of the Lost trivia game hosted by Phil Paley, and this time around Wesley Eure takes over, and the presentation has the same appropriately light tone. Eure and Paley seemed to have taken to reliving their Land of the Lost days with the right amount subtle, nudge-nudge-wink-wink demeanor, and I'm guessing Coleman will get her shot on the inevitable season three set.

Each episode is cut into five chapters.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

The redundancy factor set in season two, and despite a couple of new minor secondary characters and new locales brought in to liven things up, the show began to noticeably recycle plots.

To some, this is ancient and tacky stuff best left lost, which is cynical without the benefit of seeing this for what it is. Nowadays this is enjoyably campy and laughable television, and of course nostalgic warm-fuzzies have a way of making a lot of questionable things look far better than they should.

You know what camp you're in.

 


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