Like my friend Kenneth said there is much in this compilation that is a rehash of episodes and seasons past that can be condemned. However, there are still some highlights that can be savored.
Of course, the principal actors, all eight of 'em (Richard Basehart, David Hedison, Terry Becker, Del Monroe, Paul Trinka, Richard Bull, Arch Whiting, and Robert Dowdell, , get their share of screen time. But, careful eyes will notice the "unnamed crewmen" - the blond guy, the brown-haired guy, the short Latino, and, yes, the black guy - bouncing around in several installments, with no lines but their appearance is noticeable. They can "rock and roll" with the best of them as the Seaview experiences another explosion or attack from a deadly creature.
There is an extensive use of stock footage but there are some installments that provide some new glimpses of the Seaview, the Flying Sub, and the control room.
As far as the individual episodes are concerned, I found something praiseworthy to be said about several of them:
"The Brand of the Beast," a sequel to "Werewolf" is much more entertaining and better acted than its forerunner. "Werewolf," in my books was just bad.
"The Creature" features veteran ham Lyle Bettger as the protagonist, a scientist linked to a malevolent plant growth.
"Death from the Past" has two fun Nazi's from World War II trying to take over the world for the Third Reich. Don't bother to understand how they hadn't aged in thirty-five years. The ep is just loads of fun with guest stars John Van Dreelan and Jan Merlin as the swastika-wearing officers.
Though the effect is rather cheesy, "The Heat Monster" sports some wicked lines, delivered with relish by Jim Mills, who would pop up several times as the voice behind the "monster." Alfred Ryder is the guest star and he puts in another memorable characterization.
"The Fossil Men" has rocklike humanoids attempting to take over the world (GASP!!!) and even though their existence is implausible, the premise is engaging.
"No Escape from Death" tries to muster up some of the drama of the more serious first season, incorporating a lot of sepia-tinted footage from that season into the storyline. 'Not a bad show and it provided a interesting "explanation" on how the three crewmen were rescued from the belly of a giant jellyfish.
"The Mummy" recycles a lot of Bernard Herrmann's score from the Gary Cooper/Susan Hayward film "Garden of Evil." It's the use of Bernie's music that enhances a rather routine installment.
Finally, it is Robert Drasnin's inventive score, along with the marvelous Michael Dunn as "The Clown", which makes "The Wax Men" one of the best in the entire four-season run of the show.
As the reader can probably tell, I really liked this half of season three much more than the first half. Stories may have been rehashed but there was a little creativity in them.
I just wish there were some commentary from surviving cast members or some other extras, the bonuses that we DVD buyers have come to suspect.
But, considering that this may be the last set for some time, I suppose we should be grateful for having seasons one through three.
I really enjoyed Kenneth Sohl's three star review of season three, titled "The Downhill Slide". However, I think that, while Mr. Sohl did an excellent job of pointing out some of the awful episodes and recycled plots, he missed out on a couple of things that actually put season three over the top, and which transformed it from just plain bad, to so bad it's good.
For example, the recurrence of Admiral Nelson's little werewolf problem was not just a rehash of the first werewolf episode. No, the season three episode went much further than that. In the first episode, Nelson became a werewolf by traditional means - wolf bits man, etc. In that episode the werewolf curse was cured by treating Nelson for rabies. In the outstanding season three episode, Nelson becomes a werewolf again, this time because his hand was exposed to radiation. When the doctor points out to Nelson that the rabies treatment won't work a second time, it would appear that all hope was lost. Not so, however, because the crew miraculously discovered, just in time, that giving Admiral Nelson the bends cured him of the werewolf curse. If only I could have been in the same room with the writers when they came up with that ending, it would have been a priceless experience. Wolf bite = werewolf curse. Rabies treatment = cure. Radiation exposure = reoccurrence of werewolf curse. Bends = cure.
In season three the submarine has some kind of really dramatic damage done to it for nearly every episode. The location of the damage is usually in the circuitry room, with the missile room coming in second, and the nuclear reactor following close behind. Regardless of the target there is at least an explosion, or a fire, usually electrical, per episode. In a couple of episodes the nuclear reactor goes critical.
The episode with the flame creature is a truly classic episode. The crew fights the flame monster for three quarters of the episode, with no idea how to beat it - until a super smart mad scientist guest star tells them how, right before he's killed by the creature. Honestly, a crew that spent nearly an entire season putting out fires on the submarine, couldn't figure out how to destroy a creature made entirely of flames?
About that nuclear reactor, you know the expression that some things are better left to the imagination? It certainly applies here. The Seaview nuclear reactor is in the middle of a room that men walk in and out of without any sort of protective clothing. There was one episode where they used protective clothing that looked like freezer suits, and which didn't fully cover the neck or all of the face. The cooling rods for the reactor, which are highly radioactive, and therefore deadly, are in the middle of the room, out in the open, and in one episode Nelson actually adjust one of the rods by hand. But that's not the best part, the best part is the nuclear reactor itself. I'm not kidding here, it's a microwave oven. I'm not going to describe it here, if you want to know exactly what it looks like, go look at the one in your kitchen, there's no difference. It even opens like a microwave oven.
There's a great line in the mermaid episode. Crane, who's seen an ungodly amount of aliens, sea monsters, a mummy, a few ghosts, a werewolf, along with evil dolls, and wax men who've attempt to take over Seaview, not to mention Nazi's coming back to life, and let's not forget the episode where he traveled to Venus. Crane, the guy who has seen all of that actually states when he sees a mermaid that it's "the most fantastic discovery ever made". However, given the fact that the crew ran across aliens on a daily basis, but in a three-year period had only seen three females, maybe Crane meant that the discovery of something female was fantastic, regardless of whether or not it was a mermaid.
I enjoyed the episode with the white ape (which looks suspiciously like the Mugoto from the Star Trek episode "A Private Little War"). The episode opens with two guys on a deserted island. When one of them walks up behind the other, the other says "Oh, it's you". On a deserted island, who else would it be???
I really enjoyed the first two seasons of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. And I've really enjoyed season three, but not at all for the same reasons. I like season three because it so firmly fits into the "so bad its good category", which is why I'm giving it five stars. However, if you're the kind of person who doesn't enjoy truly awful shows, you might want to steer clear of season three, and stick to the other seasons.
on November 2, 2007
This was a rather spectacular (by 60s standards) sci-fi underwater adventure with some of the FX still good even today, an academy award winner leading the cast, and an emphasis on action that made more modern sci-fi shows such as "Seaquest" look and feel weak and derivative. Unfortunately, this show ultimately became overly formulaic to the point of exasperating redundancy and it shows through in this collection.
In these 13 episodes we have Captain Crane and others brainwashed by aliens into destroying Seaview, Admiral Nelson brainwashed by Russians into destroying Seaview, Crane brainwashed by a re-animated mummy into sabotaging the Seaview, Crane and others brainwashed by a giant, anemone-like seamonster into taking over Seaview, Crane and others brainwashed by more aliens into....hell, I've lost track.
Also, it seems the scriptwriters have discovered a new toy, and they wield it like a newly pubescent boy. That is (drumroll)....the CIRCUITRY ROOM! Ta-DA!! Yes, folks, you get to watch at least a half-dozen times back to back as various villains and monsters make their way to this curiously unlocked vital area and wreak havok by pulling plugs and wires while the sub rocks and rolls and sparks shoot out of the consoles for some reason. Running concurrently will be the liberal use of plastic explosives to blow open hatches in several episodes as well (again, back to back).
Further, many of the episodes here are rehashes of the first half of this season. Nelson has a recurrence of his lycanthropy from an earlier 3rd season episode, another heat monster menaces seaview, more aliens need the sub's reactor, etc. Then, there are episodes with plenty of stock footage from previous episodes recanned as new stories. One episode, "No Escape from Death" is composed almost entirely of this footage and almost made me not buy this set, it offended me so badly. This is just plain lazy writing, and the worst part is that some of these episodes might have seemed a lot better if they had been separated from the others thematically, rather than foisted on an unsuspecting public like some kind of collection. Richard Basehart seems so frustrated that he rudely snaps out his lines, while Rob Dowdell tries hard not to roll his eyes once or twice if you look close. David Hedison just looks like he wants the day to be over with.
I must make mention of one other aspect of this series. Since its premiere, we have seen that they keep small arms in various places. Here is a list of what I've seen so far:
1. Arms locker in the bow of the sub.
2. Arms room somewhere among the corridors of the sub.
3. A pistol in a small compartment next to the control room
4. Nelson keeps a pistol in a safe in his quarters.
5. Crane keeps a pistol in the desk in his quarters.
6. A crewman surprised by villains while at work pulls one
out of his toolbox!
7. A crewman attacked among storage shelves pulls a pistol
out of what appears to be a cigar box(?!!).
Why do they bother to arm themselves when they use their weapons on each other far more than on any enemy? I mean, I hate political correctness as much as the next guy, but this is a bit much.
Don't get me wrong, I have some personal favorites here, such as "the Fossil Men" and "the Creature". "The Wax Men" is an unusual gem here as it really does create a creepy and disturbing atmosphere. As a fan, you can enjoy these as long as you aren't expecting much. Just bear in mind that these are the episodes that gave weight to the harsh criticisms leveled against this show. I had been enjoying these sets immensely, and halfway through the 3rd season, figured my memories of many bad episodes were over-reactions on my part, but this set brings home to me why the show had been an embarassment to some. It practically made me feel cheated by the producers.
I've read that there are several good episodes in the first half of the final season, so I look forward to it, but must recommend this one (and probably the last half of the final season) to fans and compleatists; if new to Voyage, this is probably not the place to start.
Look in remarks and you'll see I was corrected on an error. Thanks are in order to Mr. Reginald Garrard. I thot Basehart had won the AA for his role in "Moby Dick" with Gregory Peck, but I guess, though nominated, he didn't go home with the trophy.
on March 8, 2016
How fun it is to relax in front of the set after a long day and be with the crew of the Seaview as they explore and/or solve a crisis. My dad enjoyed this show and I recall watching with him. I don't remember a whole lot, just bits and pieces. The werewolf on the submarine stuck in my mind for 40 some years. So it is a pleasure to bring these fond memories back to life again. I enjoy the 1960's technology, underwater exploits, and frogmen. The flying sub is so cool too. A enjoyable clean series to watch.
on February 26, 2014
the voyage to the bottom of the sea is what i grew up watching in the 70's.this is about this submarine going on all sorts of missions and they come in contact with creatures from the sea .that want to stop them and take over the submarine .good for the whole family
on May 1, 2013
Rarely a movie or TV series is made that never becomes dated. Like War of the Worlds one. There still is no submarine equal to the Seaview to this day. Like Gene Roddenberry, Irwin Allen was way ahead of his time. So just skip season one it wasn't that good and it was in black & white. But seasons 2,3,&4 FANTASTIC FUN. And also the MOVIE.
on February 4, 2014
Among the earliest of my favorite science fiction shows. I enjoyed watching the whole series and found so many scenes that I recalled from long ago. It was also fun seeing now familiar faces who were just getting their start.
on September 17, 2013
Richard Basehart starred as Admiral Nelson in this Sci-Fi classic. His futuristic submarine, the "Seaview" was a kind of USS Enterprise, not for space, but for the deep oceans.
What's with the "Season 3, Volume 2" box set only? Why not bring out the ENTIRE Season 3 in the one go? Over in Europe you can get all the 26 episodes in the one 7 disc box set. And very nice it is too. Why is that not the case here?
I can remember seeing some of these very episodes when I was a boy. And I well remember the distinctive signature tune. Pure nostalgia. Aww shucks!
Richard Basehart had a very distinctive voice which added a gravitas to his role as Admiral.
He is sadly no longer with us. After a series of strokes, he died at age 70 on September 17th 1984. In his honour I have made this post on September 17th.
on June 5, 2013
I remember my Dad watching the series on channel 7, on Sunday nights. But to me, season 4, Vol 1& 2, were the best.
Because, the series went to extremes. From under water to outer space and back. My favorite episode was, "Man Of Many Faces". Which entailed a master criminal can change his face at anytime. Were as an magnetic force field under the sea, is drawing earth's moon, closer to earth. Its must see TV.
on April 23, 2009
I enjoyed seeing Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea on television growing up in the same way I enjoyed other science-fiction series. I thought the flying sub was an exhilarating way to travel. In this volume, I liked "The Deadly Cloud" story, which had the interesting concept of aliens existing in an ambiguous environment; "Death From The Past" is about two Nazi soldiers in suspended animation for thirty-five years so that they don't age, and when they are awakened, they believe they're still fighting World War Two and try to destroy the outside world.