Fans of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA will finally be able to own all 110 episodes of this classic adventure series!
VOYAGE was a pioneer in its day—the first big budget science fiction television show that was episodic rather than anthology-based. Much of TV “sci-fi”—including the various incarnations of Star Trek—owes a debt to VOYAGE’s producer Irwin Allen for boldly exploring this then-untapped venue. For those who do not know, VOYAGE was also the longest running non-syndicated prime time science fiction series on a major U.S. network for nearly thirty years. In my book, that’s an impressive historic fact…and it wasn’t achieved by a fluke. The star power of Richard Basehart and David Hedison, backed by an able supporting cast, plus state-of-the art miniatures, sets, and special effects that remain impressive to this day, are all part of the recipe that made VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA a great success.
This volume contains a good mix of the storylines that made VOYAGE memorable throughout its four-year run, plus a couple of unprecedentedly light-hearted diversions into the realm of fantasy. Here are what I consider to be the highlights:
“Nightmare” – A tense thriller where Captain Crane’s world is turned upside down by an alien invader who wants to test humanity’s psychological aptitude for resisting attack. This is one of the last episodes to make use of the excellent stock music that was written for earlier seasons by Alexander Courage, Nelson Riddle, and other musical greats.
“Secret Of The Deep” – Action-packed spy adventure that in some ways is a free-for-all of almost every major plot device that the crew of the Seaview ever encountered. Guest star Peter Mark Richman is enjoyable as an egotistical double agent named Hendrix who exhibits lofty contempt for the bad guys as well as the good guys. Even though the evil benefactors are never seen or heard, they manage to get even with Hendrix in no subtle way. Lots of stock footage is incorporated here from some of VOYAGE’s best special effects scenes.
“Man-Beast” – Standout performance by David Hedison in this horror-tinged drama where Captain Crane transforms into a beast man due to an “accident” during a deep diving experiment. This is the third VOYAGE episode to feature characters turning into beast men, and while all of them are good, character-driven stories, this one rises above the others, with the resolution containing one of the most unexpected twists in the entire series. This is also the last episode to utilize Seaview’s very cool Diving Bell, and it gets launched a record four times! Excellent creature make-up by John Chambers of “Planet Of The Apes” fame.
“Attack” – Seaview’s last encounter with interstellar aliens is notable for the fact that one of them is a fifth columnist who aids the crew against the invaders. Extra-capable guest stars Skip Homeier and Kevin Hagen turn in their usual fine performances.
“The Edge Of Doom” – As Seaview is about to embark on a critical mission, Admiral Nelson receives a tip that one of his key officers has been replaced by an enemy impersonator. His efforts to uncover the imposter lead to explosive results—especially in the relational conflicts that arise between the main characters. This is an unforgettable episode that depicts what life aboard the Seaview was like for the crew, having to deal with intense and often bizarre life-or-death situations on an ongoing basis that sometimes pushed their sanity to the limits. At the same time, and perhaps as an intentional underscore, this episode gives us a glimpse into how the actors might have felt at this point in the series, having to play these characters that are under excessive stress in ways that come off as fresh and believable. The scars from this hour’s events run deep, and while kind words are exchanged before the curtain falls, there is also a sense that a true healing of the friendship between our heroes has yet to be achieved.
Both of VOYAGE’s last two episodes begin with a bang.
“The Death Clock” – Admiral Nelson is killed within the first five minutes!
“No Way Back” – The Seaview is destroyed within the first five minutes! (This kind of spectacle would not be repeated on television for about twenty years, when the U.S.S. Enterprise would be destroyed in the beginning of an episode of Star Trek – The Next Generation.)
I won’t give away the resolutions to these show-stopping teasers, but I will say this—VOYAGE was an innovative series that went out in style. Modern day television falls short of this kind of entertainment because it has forgotten how to be creative without being crude. Today we have flawless computer-generated effects but no imagination and even less soul. For this reason, shows like VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA stand as a testament for what can…
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This second set covers the last thirteen episodes of the fourth and final season (1967-1968) of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”. Among other things, a brand new artisan popup: director Charles Rondeau who will achieve some of the best episodes (“Nightmare”, “Secret of the Deep”, “The Death Clock”) and is also known for his input on many 1960′s espionage series as “Mission: Impossible”, “The Wild Wild West” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”.
These are the four episodes “not” to miss by all means necessary:
1. “Nightmare”: Captain Crane finds himself alone on the Seaview except for a phantom crew that begins a countdown to fire nuclear missiles on Washington D.C.
2. “Edge of Doom”: an espionage plot whose saboteur is a well-known Seaview officer.
3. “Secret of the Deep”: an espionage plot guest starring Peter Mark Richman as a double agent.
4. “The Death Clock”: Captain Crane assassinates Admiral Nelson under the influence of a time machine and attends his military sea funeral. Music by Harry Geller.
Time traveler Mr. Pem (Henry Jones) returns in “No Way Back” and meets again Admiral Nelson: the best of his two appearances and still directed by the same Robert Sparr from “The Wild Wild West”.
Following the theme of the season 3 offering “The Brand and the Beast” (the sequel to “Werewolf”) in which Admiral Nelson is turned into a werewolf, “Man-Beast” , also written by William Welch, shows Captain Crane who undergoes a state of biological regression due to the side effects of an experimental gas used to fight the high pressure of the deep sea inside the diving bell: one of the favourite episodes of actor David Hedison and whose means of sea exploration makes a veiled reference to a season 1 entitled “The Condemned”. Music by Leith Stevens.
Find the list of episodes from this volume 2:
“The Return of Blackbeard”
“The Terrible Leprechaun”
“The Lobster Man”
“The Abominable Snowman”
“Secret of the Deep”
“Edge of Doom”
“The Death Clock”
“No Way Back”
-English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
3. CC (closed-captions):
I too rejoice that my VTTBOTS collection will finally be complete.
I will not go so far as to “thank” FOX until they start completing other series.
This volume one and volume two business is as bad of publicity as I can imagine. And on old TV shows to boot!!
PS Where’s the complete Maverick?
77 Sunset Strip
Adventures in Paradise? etc: etc:
Some of these may not be licensed to FOX, but come on! Let’s get with it. Complete some of these classics(and quickly and at a fair price!) before we oldsters die off!!
Anybody with me on this?