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on December 8, 2008
Finally, Fox Home Entertainment is making good it their promise to finish the run of the class seafaring SF adventure "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea." No doubt we will be treated to the same high quality transfers, with sharp picture, vibrant colors and amazing sound. However, the real reason to smile is in the episodes themselves.

After what could be called a "guilty pleasure" year, Voyage returned with a surprise fourth season, a surprise to the actors as well as the audience, who all thought the show would be cancelled. However, fortune and funny accounting kept Voyage on the air another year and, to some degree, Irwin Allen improved the series somewhat from its prior year.

While the series would not hit the heights of its first two seasons again with any regularity, some true gems cropped up this year as monsters took a break for a while.

The season kicked off in grand style with "Fires of Death." This episode , which shaky in the plot department, boasted amazing sets depicting the inside of an active volcano. There is no doubt this is the reason why this episode was chosen to open the season rather than the vastly superior "Man of Many Faces", which was the first episode shot. However, the episode moves along at a brisk pace with legendary actor Victor Jory appearing as Dr. Turner, an alchemist with an obsession for unearthing "elixir stones" - the key to his immortality. Star David Hedison is absent for the last two thirds of the episodes, owing to an appearance on a variety show. The supporting cast gets to step up and take the reassigned lines and screen time. The result is a unique episode in the Voyage canon with amazing SFX for the time.

"The Deadly Dolls" follows, a classic bizarre episode starring Vincent Price as Dr. Multiple, an evil alien puppet master. The highlights of this episode include a rather cheerful atmosphere, amazing background score by composer Harry Geller and the amazing "Nelson Puppet." Voiced by Richard Basehart (obviously having fun) and looking like a Kroft Puppet, this character is a riot, popping in and out, dropping one liners and generally making a menace of himself. The result is a nonsensical but genuinely fun episode in the vein of the classic Avengers TV series.

"Cave of the Dead" stands out as an eerie tale of ghostly sea lore and evil curses, with Warren Stevens making his third and final appearance in Voyage as Van Wyck. There's a great scene that gives new meaning to the term "skeleton crew."

"Sealed Orders" is another outstanding tale of the effects of wacko Irwin Allen universe radiation. As soon as a top secret nuclear missile is opened onboard, the crew begins to vanish one by one. The atmosphere, assisted by the odd visual effects and another great score by Geller, is pleasantly weird and spooky. The climax is genuinely suspenseful and well shot. There was obviously an eye on thrift as they keep coming up with reasons to have only the main cast involved, but at least these episodes display more imagination than the latter third season shows.

The hits keep coming with the aforementioned "Man of Many Faces." A master of disguise frames Nelson for murder (on national TV no less) and infiltrates the Seaview, impersonating the main cast one by one in an effort to stop the crew from foiling an evil plan to control the tides. While the idea of one man impersonating so many people of different weights, heights and voices stretches credibility, the episode is so well mounted and paced, it's easy to forget the plot holes and just enjoy the episode. It's a temporary, but wonderful, return to the second season feel that had been missing for far too long.

"Rescue" is a tense tale involving a traitor on the Seaview and his attempts to keep the Admiral from discovering an undersea lab and rescuing Captain Crane, who is trapped in the disabled Flying Sub at the sea bottom. Again, the episode is set bound with one real guest star, but that doesn't prevent the episode from being exciting and serious. For the ladies, there's a one and only scene of Chief Sharkey without a shirt.

Rounding out the classics are "Blow Up" (Admiral Nelson is gripped by insane paranoia after breathing through an experimental oxygen device) and "A Time To Die". The latter episode introduces the time traveling Mr. Pem (Henry Jones), who also appears in the series' final episode. It is an interesting story, but sadly padded with a five minute scene from "Thing from Inner Space" from the third season. His second appearance would do the character justice.

This half of the season would prove to be the best of the year, as the series began to return to monsters and aliens for stories. However, there were still a few goodies left and one truly riotous episode played mostly for laughs. But you have to wait for the second half of the set for me to tell you about it. :-)

Bonus features will include David Hedison interviews covering all four seasons, Irwin Allen's goals and his office (?), the intense work hours and the various voiceovers. Also included will be a still gallery and, most promising, a recut version of the unaired pilot episode.

As fans saw, the initial first season set included the color version of the pilot episode. This print incorrectly included the second season opening titles instead of the correct "titles over churning water and different music" sequence seen in the syndicated runs and back on the old Columbia House VHS release. And aside from the color, the episode itself was no different from the aired black & white version.

However, there exists a 47 minute unaired version. I have no idea at this time (12/8/08) if a color or b&w print will be used, since both seem to exist, but the b&w 16mm print is more easily found. However, no matter, this edit has many differently shot and scored scenes. In the aired version, both Theo Marcuse and Werner Keplerer portray Dr. Gamma. I assume this was because Marcuse was not available for reshoots and they are both bald and in the shadows. They had totally different voices though. The unaired version has only Marcuse as Gamma, but the reshot scenes were necessary. The originals are over the top melodramatic and very corny. The background score also has liberal sprinklings of the music from the 1961 Voyage movie. Nelson and Crane had some dialog redubbed (replacing the phrases "evil forces" and "evil powers" with more realistic words) and, strangely, the entire scenes of Crane sneaking aboard, being caught and all references to the incident, are not here. Finally, the opening and closing theme music is completely different from the famous Seaview Theme.

All in all, this should prove to be well worth the wait for fans. While the usual Fox nonsense is in evidence (double sided DVDs, half seasons, limited extras), this is still a release fans have been clamoring for since October of 2007. It will be nice to have the Seaview back.
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on April 28, 2007
Something funny happened to VTTBOTS during the fall of 1966. Season 3 happened! This season was far inferior as compared to seasons 1 and 2 in terms of storylines, production and overall direction, in other words due to budget cuts it fell off drastically. However, as ironic as it may sound this was the season that had to happen. Season 3 in so many ways turned out to be the defining moment for the series. Without a doubt this is perhaps one of the biggest transformations in terms of changing the entire format of a show that had so convincingly started out dealing with serious up to the date issues in the not so distant future such as cold war politics, and underwater science gone awry with the occasional spin on science fiction thrown in for entertainment value. That said, season 3 is always the main topic of conversation among VTTBOTS fans due to its elevated and unrelenting action from its VTTBOTS IN COLOR intro to the action packed art work detailed during the closing credits. The writers on staff during this year walked to the edge, seemingly jumped and delivered such episodes as THE WAX MEN, THE SHADOWMAN, and DOOMSDAY ISLAND, not to mention the werewolf and mummy episodes. The series had turned the corner, grabbed the torch and ran WILD! Seasons 1 and 2 were quality shows with great everything but this season is remembered for it's over the top monsters, it's colorful special effects and most notably the non stop action that prevailed during every episode. Richard Basehart and David Hedison did their best acting this season because they continued to play it straight and convincing even though it had to be killing them. Know matter how far fetched some of the episodes were (THE TERRIBLE TOYS, DEADLY CLOUD, etc.) they played it straight and to the point unlike the buffoonery of BATMAN and LOST IN SPACE. In reality, VOYAGE had become a live-action cartoon that figured all that mattered was to produce on the edge of your seat entertainment each and every week. Irwin Allen took the seaview and her crew where no one had gone before and boy did he deliver. Season 4, although produced on a higher production scale and somewhat better, continued the same trend. Sadly to say it is a shame that VOYAGE wasn't renewed for a 5th season. It would have been fun to see what they would have given us. However, be that as it may, this show, from episode 1 to episode 110 delivered some of the best action-adventure ever produced, that's why so many years after it's last original episode in 1968 we still can talk so fondly about a CLASSIC series!!!!!!
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on December 2, 2008
This first set covers the first thirteen episodes of the fourth and final season (1967-1968) of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", which is still supervised by associate producer Bruce Fowler, story editor Sidney Marshall and cinematographer Robert J. Bronner. Among other things, a brand new artisan popup: composer Harry Geller, known for his input on "The Wild Wild West", and the graphic design of the opening titles is renewed from "Rescue".

Some of the best offerings can be found in the following episodes: "The Deadly Dolls" (an alien mad puppeteer fantasy, guest starring horror film actor Vincent Price), "Sealed Orders" (a psychedelic fail-safe thriller), "Man with Many Faces" (an espionage plot featuring an assassin/master of disguises), "Rescue" and "Blow Up".

The infamous and picturesque time traveler character, by the name of Mr. Pem (played by Henry Jones), makes his entrance in "A Time to Die".

There are some extras that will please many aficionados: the re-cut unaired pilot "Eleven Days to Zero" and David Hedison Interviews about: Years 1-4, Irwin's Goal, Irwin's Office, Work Hours, Voice-overs.

Find the list of episodes from this volume 1:
"Fires of Death"
"The Deadly Dolls"
"Cave of the Dead"
"Journey with Fear"
"Sealed Orders"
"Man of Many Faces"
"Fatal Cargo"
"Time Lock"
"Rescue"
"Terror"
"A Time to Die"
"Blow Up"
"Deadly Amphibians"

*April 2009 Updates concerning the extra and options:
1. The re-cut unaired pilot "Eleven Days to Zero" is "not" a re-cut but the same color pilot without the original opening credits that is already included in the season 1, volume 1 DVD set.
2. David Hedison Interviews only last 4 minutes 4 seconds.
3. The DVD set only offers the following audio options:
English and French languages
English subtitles
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on March 28, 2007
After two seasons of mostly serious and plausible adventure, the show takes a hard right turn into monsters and fantasy. Guest stars become less frequent, sometimes only the four main characters appear. One episodes only has three characters. TOTAL! And the monsters! The aliens! The walking toys and killer clowns! The show went wild and anything really goes in this season.

The actors treat it all seriously and even Richard Basehart seems a little bored at time. But a bored Basehart is a lot more entertaining than an alert George Clooney any day.

Is it art? No chance, but it sure is fun!
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on May 9, 2007
Great review from Seven "7" above.

I'll only add that if the whole of season three didn't make the show jump the shark, then the episode "The Shadowman" certainly did. But I kept on watching right to the very end of the series. Bought and paid for. Hooked for life. If anybody cares, my favorite episode of all time was "The Death Clock" from season four. The wildest, crazyist episode of the entire series.
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on March 20, 2010
We are 13 episodes away from having the complete series out on DVD, so you can't stop now! C'mon Fox, make us Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea fans happy and release season 4 volume 2 soon!
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on April 20, 2007
Okay, I'll admit it, by any objective measure, this is the weakest season of a fantastic series, but it's also the season I enjoy the most. Why? It's completely over the top... on a low budget. Nothing makes much sense, but who cares. Loads of color and fun and some of he episodes are genuinely great. "The Death Watch" and "Day of Evil" are as good as the series ever produced. So sit back and enjoy the cheese.
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VINE VOICEon September 19, 2007
Irwin Allen's sci-fi classic has received its share of both praise and condemnation. While the show showcased impressive 60's special effects, along with the stellar performances of stars Richard Basehart ("Admiral Nelson") and David Hedison (Captain Crane), it was often criticized for its over-the-top monsters and occasionally absurd situations.

However, when viewed as a reflection of its time, the show carefully blended all its elements into an entertaining and adventurous hour. The thirteen episodes on this compilation feature some of the series' strongest episodes, along with a couple that fall flat. But, even those that aren't up to par are still fascinating enough to hold the viewer's interest and can be overlooked for their scientific and/or logical "liberties."

The episodes appear in their correct airing order, and, with that arrangement, viewers can take a nostalgic trip back in time to days of less "politically correct" and more innocent times.

This reviewer feels that the show's third season should have started with "The Day the World Ended," a taut and thrilling episode featuring former child actor Skip Homeier as a U.S. Senator that's not all he's cracked up to be. Unfortunately, the season began with "Monster from the Inferno," a not-so-bad installment about an alien entity (voiced by "Lost in Space's" Dick Trufeld) that attempts to take over the Seaview with the aide of scientist Arthur Hill.

"Death Watch" is basically a three-man piece showcasing the two principal characters, along with Chief Sharkey (Terry Becker).

"The Thing from Inner Space," though not that good, does give significant screen time to cast member Paul Trinka as "Crewman Patterson." Perennial fan favorite Del Monroe ("Kowalski") continues to play a significant role on the show and gets highlighted on "Deadly Waters," with Don Gordon featured as his brother.

Richard Bull continues in his role as the unnamed but much-needed "Doc."

Even radio operator "Sparks" (Arch Whiting) has more than five lines in a given installment.

Upon back-to-back viewing, one discovers that crewman "Ron" (Ron Stein) was an early version of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's" Morn; that is, a character that is voiceless but appears frequently in the background.

"Ron" even gets addressed in one installment!

"The Lost Bomb" is a throwback to the first season in that it deals with an undersea conflict with an enemy submarine intent on capturing a submerged bomb.

Basehart gets to assay two roles in the entertaining "The Haunted Submarine" while "The Terrible Toys" features veteran Paul Fix as a sailor with a malevolent cargo.

The infamous and often-lambasted "The Plant Man" starts strong but loses steam when the plant mutates into plant "men" walking the corridors of the Seaview.

But it is still better than the remaining two.

Henry Jones, who would later appear as "Mr. Pem" in two installments, guests on the lackluster "Night of Terror" while Charles Aidman bears his fangs in "Werewolf," two of the weakest in the show's entire four-year run.

Rounding out the set are interviews with David Hedison, still galleries, and a FULL issue of the now-defunct Gold Key comic version of the show.

Memories abound as baby boomers and future fans can take another "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."
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on April 1, 2009
After seeing the second half of season three, I was a little skeptical about getting season four. I was wrong. Of the 13 episodes, fully eight of them are very watchable, and one is tolerable. Only four episodes of this set are unwatchable.

Which are the eight really good episodes? Here is the list in order of appearance on the DVDs:
1. Fires of Death
2. The Deadly Dolls - surprisingly good
3. Cave of the Dead - one of my all time favorites
4. Sealed Orders - very exciting and one of my all time favorites
5. Man of Many Faces - very exciting
6. Rescue - very good with a spy aboard
7. A Time to Die
8. Blow Up - excellent drama, all the actors did really well on this one, especially Basehart

I might add that several of these eight are actually some of the best episodes of the entire series. Cave of the Dead, Sealed Orders, Man of Many Faces, Rescue, and Blow Up are top notch episodes. Fires of Death and The Deadly Dolls also rank pretty high up there.

The tolerable episode is:
1. Terror

This one was a borderline episode. The alien inhabited a plant. I was satisfied with how they showed the entity on this one. This kind of alien entity is far better than men in rubber suits.

The unwatchable episodes are:
1. Journey with Fear
2. Fatal Cargo
3. Time Lock
4. Deadly Amphibians

If I offended anyone with the list of unwatchable episodes I apologize. I just find it hard to watch the shows with monsters and aliens, which are nothing more than men in rubber suits, or some other kind of suit. They look fake and they act silly. I just can't get into those stupid plotlines. Maybe if they had digital technology back then they might have really given us something great, but all they had to give was men in rubber suits. Bad, very bad.

When Voyage got it right, the show was absolutely top notch. When they didn't get it right it was often terrible. It was not the fault of the actors; they didn't want to do episodes with men in rubber monster suits. It was Irwin's fault. Since it was his show the actors had to go along with it.

That being said, this set is absolutely worth buying. There are plenty of episodes to enjoy and love. There are plenty of good plots and very good to excellent acting. This is a worthwhile addition for the Voyage fan, and it is actually much better than season three, volume two.

The picture and sound quality will not disappoint most people. Owing to the technology of the time there is some grain present, but it does not detract from the enjoyment of the shows. The sound is clean, and the picture is sharp and quite detailed.

One more thing: the packaging on this set is different. This time they used a keep case instead of the previous slim cases. Generally I like the keep case. They can fit quite a few discs in a small space.

Cheers!
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on June 26, 2009
Whats with the packaging change in volume 4 ? Couldn't fox keep it the same for the whole series. If this is some kind of ploy to get me to buy another set when they undoubtedly release the full set as a package then Fox are sadly mistaken. I'm currently repackaging this set myself for my own benefit, making my own covers and splitting these god awful double sided discs into single sided full printable discs with artwork on each disc. This is the last double sided disc set I will ever buy. In my opinion it's very poor and not at all user friendly. Too many corners have been cut and despite the extremely long wait for Volume 4 it doesn't appear that our beloved Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea has been in the hands of anyone at Fox that cares ! Just waiting now for the final episodes of volume 4 to be released to complete the collection which I'll have to buy. Then thats it Mr Fox. No More Sub standard Half Hearted Rubbish for me. Why couldn't the same amount of attention that was paid to Lost In Space have been paid to these releases? It's poor really !!!
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