Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Season 1 Vol. 2
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Admiral Nelson and Commander Crane are back in Volume Two of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Irwin Allen's thrilling, ground-breaking science-fiction adventure series!
Join the crew of the Seaview aboard their super high-tech submarine, where no mission is too dangerous and no threat is too deadly, be it enemy agents, mad scientists, deadly sea creatures, or impending nuclear disaster. Welcome aboard the Seaview. Destination: uncharted depths and unparalleled excitement. Permission to board granted!
The first (and some say best) season of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea went into its second half with strong ratings, a loyal audience, and 16 episodes that have stood the test of time. This compact 3-disc set presents all 16 of these 50-minute, black-and-white episodes with sound and picture quality so crisp and clean that it's hard to believe 41 years had passed between their original broadcasts (Monday nights at 7:30 on ABC) and this 2006 DVD release. Like all Irwin Allen productions, the show is characterized by simple, easy-to-follow plots, impressive production values on a limited budget, and special effects (mostly by pioneering effects master L.B. Abbott) that were state-of-the-art by mid-'60s standards. As Admiral Nelson (Richard Basehart), Commander Crane (David Hedison) and the crew of the double-hulled, nuclear-powered submarine Seaview continue their first-season adventures, most of these episodes deliver plots that will be comfortably familiar to any fan of sci-fi adventure shows of the '60s: obsessive scientists conducting radical experiments, power-hungry villains from behind the Iron Curtain (typically from the unspecified "People's Republic"), and international criminals engaged in nefarious schemes of global domination. Before the series shifted to color film (in the second season) and greater emphasis on techno-gadgets and science fiction, some of these first-season episodes involve extraterrestrial beings or monsters that would become more common in subsequent seasons.
The best of these sci-fi episodes is "The Invaders" (original airdate January 25, 1965), guest-starring Robert Duvall (misspelled "Duval" in the credits) as a powerful alien awakened from suspended animation by an undersea earthquake. Other episodes feature such now-familiar guest stars as Edward Asner ("The Exile"), George Sanders ("The Traitor"), Leslie Nielsen ("The Creature"), a very young-looking Tom Skerritt (appearing briefly in the prologue of "The Enemies"), and such '60s TV stalwarts as Torin Thatcher, Skip Homeier, Alvy (Green Acres) Moore, J.D. Cannon, and Henry Silva. The most enjoyable episodes feature a deep-space robot that's been dangerously reprogrammed ("The Indestructible Man"); a giant sub-crushing jellyfish ("Mutiny"); modern-day Nazis ("The Last Battle"); humans surgically transformed into "The Amphibians"; an encounter with the Loch Ness Monster ("The Secret of the Loch"); and a cautionary tale ("The Human Computer") that may have inspired the later Star Trek episode "The Ultimate Computer." And while only a few of these episodes achieve genuine excellence, they're consistently well-written, and the father-and-son-like dynamic between Basehart and Hedison anchors the series with authentic naval authority. DVD extras include an amusing 5-minute blooper reel; a photo gallery of cover art from the highly collectible Voyage comic books published by Gold Key in the mid-'60s; and brief interview clips with David Hedison (looking great at nearly 80 years old) discussing the show's first season, his admiration for Richard Basehart, and the blooper reels that Irwin Allen compiled despite having "no sense of humor." For Voyage fans and anyone who's catching up on the best shows of the '60s, these DVDs offer loads of nostalgic entertainment. --Jeff Shannon
- 16 episodes on 3 discs
- David Hedison interviews
- Blooper reel
- Still gallery
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Top customer reviews
Great underwater special effects are always a hallmark of Irwin Allen's work, and "Voyage" is no exception. Plenty of action and interesting characters make the series fascinating to watch even forty years later, somehow unlike other sci-fi programs produced around the same era,"Voyage" does not seem too dated or absurd. Later episodes would resemble a "monster of the week" theme ultimately capsizing this imaginative series and culminating in the ridiculously titled episode "The Lobster Man." An infamous ending to a truly inspiring and entertaining program.
Later seasons would be filmed in color as this season is in glorious black and white. The DVD transfers are crystal clear and pristine, and unlike some of the other reviewers, I experienced no problems with my DVDs freezing or skipping.
The extras are fun too, although the interviews with David Hedison are a bit brief--really soundbites--if you think about it, but the blooper reel is amusing and a rare find. Apparently, there are more to come (according to the interview with Hedison), so that is definitely worth a look.
With the wonder of DVD compilations, I have now been able to see the installments in their original lengths, with great sound and picture enhancement. For that, I tip my hat to Twentieth Century Fox for its attention to detail, particularly on the "Voyage" and "Time Tunnel" sets, respectively.
Perhaps, the studio might go back and do the same for "Lost in Space," as it isn't up to par with the other two.
That said, I can now give my take on the compilation in question, the first half of the second season.
As has been previously stated, this was the first color season for the show and featured some physical changes to the Seaview and the awesome addition of the Flying Sub, enabling Admiral Nelson and crew to soar to new adventures, as well as sail to them. There are cast changes, notably Terry Becker replacing the late Henry Hulky as the new "chief." Alan Hunt was added to appeal to the younger audience but only lasted the second season.
Richard Basehart continued his commanding presence as "Admiral Nelson" and David Hedison resumed his role as the by-the-books "Captain Lee Crane." Del Monroe continued his role as the fan favorite "Kowalski" while Robert Dowdell was back as "Lt. Commander 'Chip' Morton." Richard Bull would be in a few episodes as "The Doctor" and Arch Whitting and Paul Trinka again assayed their respective roles of "Sparks" and "Patterson."
As far as the story lines go, there is a blend of action, sci-fi, and political intrigue in the first half of the second season. Some of the best shows highlight America's past and "future," though the latter was steeped in world conditions of the 60's. While the show does depend on state-of-the-art special effects, it is actually the character driven ones that are the best. Chief among the latter are "...And Five of Us Are Left," a drama wherein Nelson and a crewman come upon five survivors of World War II, living for almost three decades in a subterranean cave; "Escape from Venice," an exciting cat-and-mouse tale featuring great work from Basehart, Hedison, Hunt, and a superb supporting guest cast; "The Peacemaker," starring legendary filmmaker John Cassavettes as a treacherous American scientist; "The Silent Saboteurs," distinguished for a pre-Sulu appearance by George Takai.
"Jonah and the Whale" and "Leviathan" are the best of the SFX-laden installments, featuring great undersea shots and miniatures, while the latter sports a truly creepy transformation of a key character.
There are some that are just a lot of fun, especially by the actors that guest star. The twenty-something Victor Buono adds another in his long list of characterizations as the much older scientist bent on world domination in "The Cyborg." Charles Dierkop, who would the same year be featured in an uncredited part on producer Irwin Allen's "Lost in Space," has fun as the sinister lead character in "The Left-Handed Man." The same episode also features a scene-stealing turn from veteran actor Cyril Delevanti as a millionaire with evil machinations.
Dierkop would not be the only actor to appear more than once in an Allen production. Liam Sullivan, Regis Toomey, Lloyd Bochner, and Susan Flannery would appear in episodes from this season, as they had in the first season or the theatrical film of which the show was based.
The last episode in the set, "The Monster From Outer Space," has to feature one of the most laughable creations in the show's history, but, overall, it's not bad if one is into "alien possession."
Musically, two fine scores were contributed by Jerry Goldsmith ("Jonah and the Whale") and Nelson Riddle ("Escape from Venice"). The former score will be heavily borrowed throughout the duration of the show's run, while the latter is much lighter than the usual, reminiscent of the composer's work on "Batman".
The extras in this compilation are sparse and the split of the season is a downer; however, these two minuses can't detract from a classic of science fiction adventure.
Like other reviewers, I do wish it were possible to buy the DVDs as whole seasons. After Fox released the first season of Lost in Space, the retailers asked for a cheaper price point. Fox's solution was to break seasons in half and lower the price. Retailers see more sales when the prices are lower. If Fox continues to release this way, then I'd like to see them speed up the releases. The second half of this season is slated for release on February 20, 2007 - four months later. I'd like to see Fox release them every three months instead.
I read somewhere that Fox is considering the release of Land of the Giants in 2007, but it is not official yet.
I'd like to say to Fox, a big thank you for doing an excellent job on The Time Tunnel and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea DVDs. Please keep up your high standards through the final season of Voyage, and continue to do a fine job on Land of the Giants when you get to it.
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