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THE TOMORROW PEOPLE-The Vanishing Earth


Chase - Posted on 03 December 2009

THE VANISHING EARTH

 

1

 

As worldwide disasters pick up, TIM tells the Tp that the world may only have three days. Everyone watches hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, and other disasters on the screen in the Lab. John feels they have to do something and fast. Fade into the theme with an unfocused John. Ginge and Lefty ride their motorcycles to Clacton On Sea, a seaside amusement park with dolphins and a haunted house and shooting games. Ginge tries his hand at the shooting gallery games and tells Lefty he was born in the wrong time. He should have been born in the Wild West when men were men and women were…something. Carol is at the North Pole, urgh, doing something, like setting up a neutrino ray to detect neutrinos; Stephen is at the basse of a volcano, setting off another and it makes the most annoying sound. Carol complains when she gets back. Stephen tells Kenny that he’s not roasted chicken and Kenny reminds Stephen that he wouldn’t let Kenny come. Say, wasn’t Kenny a TP long before Stephen? Why is Stephen telling Kenny what to do? They set the readings. When Stephen comes back, Carol whines about where she was and he lightly teases her…saying something. Stephen also brags that he trounced Kenny’s soccer team last Saturday. TIM tells him that it was luck much to Kenny’s smiling. TIM suggests taking Peters off the left wing and putting Davis in the goal. Stephen asks TIM if there is anything he doesn’t know about and TIM answers, “No.”  TIM is taking readings about the world wide disasters. John and Stephen agree they have to do something about them but what?

 

Soooo…Stephen and Kenny play 3 D chess and Stephen is told that TIM knows where Ginge and Lefty are. Stephen says, “I should have guessed.”  He also says, “Big deal,”  to hearing where. TIM tells him we all have our pleasures, Stephen.”

 

In the meantime, Smithers, a man at the carnival ticket booth, talks to Joy, a girl. What they say is beyond me. I can’t hear them nor understand them. Smithers does call the Spidron, using codes such as Gateway One and Gateway Two. Wonder why? Smithers sends Joy to go entice Ginge, who shows her how he shoots. She returns the favor by shooting all her targets down. She tells him that Lefty is a man of few words. She asks Ginge if he is married, if anyone will miss him. She runs from him. Lefty gets three tickets for them to go into the haunted house. Ginge, laughs, as he throws Lefty’s ticket down and it goes between two pieces  of wood and he can’t get it. Joy and Ginge go into the haunted house where she avoids him and leaves him in some kind of trap that he falls down. Two helmeted men with spacesuits or seemingly spacesuits pull guns on him. He fights with them and runs off. He runs into a strange withered hand. Was this a plant man or something?

 

The TP get readings and find out that the Clacton On Sea amusement park is being hit by a storm. Before this a storm hit Dallas, Texas. The disasters have reached a new high in frequency. John tells a worried Carol that he is not sure they should do anything to save the Earth even if they could. Stephen comments on how the Saps abuse their planet. Kenny worries about Ginge and Lefty.  Ginge is hit by a falling stock footage of debris and when he gets up and he fires the ray gun he took from one of the guards  and uses it on a wall. Something with the strange plant hand once again makes itself somewhat known…and Ginge is hit with some kind of ray and yells.                 

 

REVIEW: Wow. This is the worst episode since the start. For some reason, maybe it was the copy I watched, the sound was terrible, the dialog hard to hear and the story incomprehensible. Stock footage is used and not too well. As if that’s not bad enough, the story focuses on Ginge and Joy and Smithers and Lefty and some old man who turns out to be a telepathic policeman named Steen. So what? I’d offer a Stephen like , “Big deal!”  Oh, and just why does Steen open a passport or something and stamp his thumb into it and after that stamp, we see Ginge’s face? What? What does focus on the TP, doesn’t do them justice. John seems perfectly happy to let the world tear itself apart; Kenny is more interested in neutrino explanations for his teacher; Carol is wide eyed and neurotic again; and Stephen seems judgmental  and ready to spring to the attack on Kenny (about beating him at rugby or soccer; lightly  teasing Carol; and also saying, “Big deal,”  to Ginge and Lefty’s time at Clacton On Sea amusement park while HE plays some kind of 3d chess game in the lab with Kenny!). While it is nice to see outside locations after the last story’s preoccupation with studio bound sets, there’s not much to it this episode. Ginge seems back to being mean to Lefty and for no reason except for a laugh, leaving him for a blond girl. Then when he gets into the mess he himself created in a way, he blames the TP, “Ever since I got mixed up with those flamingkids, I’ve been right up to my neck in it.” The dialog that is able to be heard, makes no sense; the stock mixes poorly. At one point we see a volcano stock footage shot of someone among it walking with a stick and we’re supposed to believe it’s Stephen. Maybe? At another black and white debris falls from the ceiling at Ginge. The camera work cannot save this, the music we’ve all heard before and the visuals aren’t up to par. Even shooting in a quaint nice outside carnival does not help. They start to talk about how the TP would be treated if they were found out by the authorities or if they revealed themselves. They’d be treated as weapons or have to be guarded against those who use them against others.  As if this episode isn’t bad enough, the dvd info says that this story sees the start of Chris Harding and Liz U’MBondo. Uhm, it doesn’t. I defy anyone to figure out what Smithers and Joy say when they first appear.  MST 3000 would make short work of this ep. It’s really quite terrible and senseless and poor.

And as if to hit an all new low, and I know it's supposed to be funny, on the commentary Peter Vaughn Clarke tells us that Mike Standing (Ginge) and others of the crew set him up, as a 13 or 14 yr old or 15 yr old (he wasn't 15 here though) with a female fan. He calls her a moose and Nick Young agrees that she was not the nicest looking girl and Clarke says he made a snog and a  play for her chest! That plus in a fanzine about ten years ago, it was rumored that Clarke was chasing anything in trousers...so he might be gay so for him to be making this comment is MOST inappropriate on so many levels.

2

 

Ginge is hit by the ray and is taken over by the Spidron. He is given a number—197 and taken away by guard 300. John asks Stephen and Kenny to recalibrate the readings Stephen obtained from Siberia yesterday. John  and Carol head off for some volcano to get more readings while Carol whines some more about having to tell the Sap, “We’ve just go to!”  Later, at the volcano she whines some more, “We’ve just go to save the Saps, John, we’ve just got to!”  Gosh, get her off this show! Before she and John leave, Kenny expresses his displeasure at always being the one left behind. Carol promises that next time she will be the one to stay behind. Smithers wants to get more money and tells Joy this. She will arrange a meeting between him and the Spidron, which appeared to Ginge as some kind of fungus like plant growth as well as at the center a being in some kind of white robe with a pointed hat not unlike that the Pope seems to wear but honestly it looks more like  a KKK member. And sounds like the bloke from TERROR OF THE ZYGONS, John Woodnut. Steen continues to watch the “action” through a telescope. Lefty arrives at the Lab and tells them Ginge has not been back to his home. Stephen leaves with Lefty to go find Ginge. In the meantime, a third tornado in three days rips through Central America as displayed on the Lab screen via stock footage. Joy tells Smithers he will get all that is coming to him. Stephen arrives and goes through the haunted house, detecting (through his special powers?) some kind of electronic gear under the Hall of Mirrors. When he tries to go through the ride again, Smithers will not let him. Stephen and Lefty sneak in the back way. Lefty gets caught in a mirror trap box but Stephen uses something to smash the glass and pulls Lefty out. Lefty legs it, happily leaving a willing Stephen to investigate further. John and Carol return and they link with Kenny at the link table to contact Stephen, who tells them what is going on. Stephen manages to avoid Smithers and Joy for a time in the Hall of Mirrors at Smithers fires on him with a real run. But it is Joy who fires a stun gun at him, paralysis will only be for a few minutes. She stopped Smithers shooting him with a real gun (why?). Joy tells him that she will inform headquarters he died in the line of duty and maybe he will get a Galactic Commendation. Is she just teasing? Why would she contact anyone about this? She and Smithers toss Stephen off the pier and into the water. Once in the water, Stephen’s body turns face up so the actor can breathe. And he doesn’t sink. The old man Steen is watching all this. Carol and John strip out of their Action Suits as John calls them. The pair will go to the Clacton On Sea amusement place. Joy locks Smithers in a room and gives the first hint that she is not of this world, nor is Spidron. Carol and John jaunt to the amusement park and spot Lefty as he rides his motorcycle out past a sign that says THE COMEDIANS as seen on the hit tv show. Carol and John jaunt to the pier  and spot a man rescuing Stephen from the water, carrying him bodily as the boy is still unconscious. The man smiles at them and then somehow in a strange alien like jaunt, vanishes, the jaunt making a noise not unlike an older tape machine getting a tape stuck in it or played backwards. The two just stare at the empty space…the man, Steen and Stephen in his arms, both gone.

 

REVIEW: Not much to review. It is certainly better than the first episode of this story and having Ginge out of it, that is one thing that helps. Sammie Winmill can’t leave this series fast enough, however, for me. She just whines, and almost every line of “drama” is delivered the same way and every line of “concern” is delivered the same way. She’s totally awful and annoying even though I’ve seen an interview of her now and she seems a nice person. For all it’s worth, I can tolerate the actor who plays Kenny more even his delivery is wooden and stilted. He’s given not much to do though and I guess the producers didn’t have enough confidence in him to give him more to do. At least here, there’s a lot of location shooting, a haunted  house and Hall of Mirrors within and a strange set up for the villain and the shocking scene of a young teen being thrown off  a pier into the water, face down! At one shot, the Lab looks bigger and different from in other shots. The dialog seems to indicate a longer time has gone by between the first ep and this ep, possibly a day or longer since it seems Ginge is gone for at least one night  and that Stephen went to Siberia yesterday. Was that the area he was making readings at a volcanic area? It is also mentioned by Smithers that Ginge is the bloke they nicked on Monday with the implication that this is not declared by him on a Monday. Years later, at least two SARAH JANE ADVENTURES would mimic this story in setting at least and still not do as good a job with it. One has Sarah vanish from her own time line thanks to dying early and the other one, abysmal, has an alien girl need people to play with…or something.  Better than the first ep of this story.        

3

 

Carol and John jaunt  back to the Lab to find Stephen claiming he’s  beating Kenny at some kind of chess game but then he admits that he is being beaten by Kenny. Stephen has no recollection of being dumped into the water, nor of being at the haunted house but it starts to come back. Somehow I thought there was more to this story and more to how Steen did it but it’s not on the DVD. In any event TIM realizes that a being of advanced electrical cybernetics has tampered and erased parts of his memory circuits. Kenny has no idea what happened either, only that Stephen seemed to be in the Lab the whole time and Stephen’s clothes are dry.

 

Harry Steen (yes, that’s his name) knocks on the door of the office of Smithers, who is reading a comic book such as Diddle Diddie or something. Smithers won’t let him in but Steen vanishes from the front of the door to inside the office. Steen admits to being a galactic policeman. Or something. He gets no where with Smithers so he leaves. Smithers tries to call the police but the police ask for his own phone number. He hangs up and calls Spidron.

 

In the meantime, Spidron and Joy talk. At one point Joy seems to be smoking opium but I once thought it was just her alien food or alien gas that she needed. They confer and figure out that maybe Stephen wasn’t galactic police. Spidron makes Joy make guards bring Ginge to them and they strap him down to a table just before releasing him from mind control. They have a strange hat on his head which looks like a beer drink with tubes running into and out of it. Ginge threatens them when they mention he has a Neanderthal intelligence. Ginge calls him an overgrown Ku Klux Klan and it sounds like he says Crew Klux Klan.  Spidron orders Smithers down to his lair.

 

John, Stephen and Carol jaunt to the haunted house (apparently called The Ghost Train?) and go to the Hall of Mirrors. As Carol guards, John and Stephen meet and thank Harry Steen (Galactic Agent 3462XLW or XOW) who tells them his name and that he is a galactic police man. He has been chasing the Spidron and also probably Zandor (known to Stephen at Joy…although I don’t think he ever heard her name) for a long time. The pair have been on this planet for four years, making people vanish from all over the world. The people are being used as slave labor to mine magmamite, the thing that binds the core of planet’s crusts together. If it is removed, enough of it gone could destroy a planet and the pair of aliens have done it before. When she returns, Carol wonders why Steen hasn’t stopped them already. He says it is because Earth was once a closed world but isn’t now thanks to the TP. What does that mean? Again, I was sure there was more dialog but the DVD doesn’t seem to have what I remember. Maybe memory cheats? Stephen thanks Steen, telling him if he were a cat he’d have only 8 lives left. Smithers cannot get down to Spidron and calls him from the office. When Spidron finds out Smithers is alone, Spidron raises his arms and a red blare blast kills Smithers.

 

John, Carol, Steen, and Stephen jaunt down to the mining area, which Steen figures is as close to the core of the Earth as one can get without being killed. Ginge, on the table, manages to get one of his hands free. Having been warned by Smithers just before he was killed, Spidron decides to release all the kidnapped humans from mind control and cause confusion. He also opens the mines’ gateways or something and this makes lava head toward the humans. Unlike most of these chapter serial type villains in white cloaks and hoods, Spidron warns Joy to get away and meet him elsewhere. He figures the advanced telepaths above will never abandon this lesser species, man, and while trying to save them, will perish with them.  Stephen is sing his mind powers to figure out what happened and that the mind control has been released. Carol gasps that lava is coming…we see the confusion as the prisoners, now free, try to escape it.           

 

On another note, the DVD info is wrong. It seems that the info got mixed in with info from THE BLUE AND THE GREEN. Liz Adare and Chris Chittel as Liz and Chris do not star until the next story THE BLUE AND THE GREEN.

   

REVIEW: Well, that wasn’t bad but not very entertaining either. Still, I find Peter Vaughn Clarke infinitely watchable. Again, this episode seems filled with nonTP characters going about their business in the plot and we get long bits of Spidron (a motionless immobile villain if ever there was one) and Joy/Sandor, a bit with Ginge, and Steen and Smithers. It also seems shorter than I remember and I wonder if bits were left out of it for the DVD. We see one bit repeated as the mind controlled kidnapped slaves come out of their mind control and wander around aimlessly TWICE in the same direction. Stephen is using his mind powers as are the others to do what exactly? Watch that? Carol’s not terrible in this but really… she may have more experience than Peter Vaughn Clarke but he’s really much better and more natural than she is. Kenny is once more sidelined and is almost talking furniture. One can see the future of Timus in Steen somewhat but Steen is less abrasive or pompous and that’s less fun. He is basically an adult TP. And that’s less fun. So overall, this story isn’t scoring any marks with a poor acting from the actress that played Joy; not great acting from Sammie AGAIN; almost no parts for the TP; and more from Ginge. Not to mention, now our heroes need a hero to guide and inform them. It’s not bad but it’s really undermining the entire theme of the show really and the fun drains away…

4

 

Steen quiets down the Saps while TIM refuses to allow Kenny to jaunt down to them all.  As Spidron makes his leave, Joy is hit by Ginge, who gets up and moves the lava flow values to a closed position. Then, Joy hits him down. Carol finds a door to this room. Inside, Spidron tells Sandor to leave and he seems to vanish. Steen uses a lump of circle stuff to blow the door away. Inside, Joy says goodbye to Steen and uses a matter transmitter to escape. Spidron uses a hologram to taunt Steen with his image and a last speech. Everyone wonders if they can use the matter transmitter to get the Saps to safety but Steen wonders if it is booby trapped. Stephen takes a chance despite everyone’s concerned warnings and jumps inside it. It seems okay. Carol puts her arm around him, motherly. Apparently they send everyone back up using it.   

 

The world wide disasters continue. In the Lab, everyone watches flooding and TIM tells them about evacuations. The San Andreas Fault is fully active. There is a crack on a runway at Heathrow Airport. A quake hits the Lab. It is the third in 24 hours. John tells TIM to shut the informative news off. Clearly John is in disgust. Magnmite is rare in the universe so getting more is out of the question. Steen also tells them that scientists have been working for many years on making a synthetic version of it but haven’t yet succeeded. An mass evacuation of the Earth is also out of the questions since such an operation would take too long. They’d have to use ships that can hold 30,000 people and are the size of the Earth’s moon to do it. Steen also worries that if he contacted the Galactic Police they’d just order him off Earth since Earth is a minor planet to them on the rim of a very undistinguished solar system. He tells them that 64 million planets are across five galaxies are in the Galactic Federation with one million plus including Earth applying for admission. NONE of this is clear I’m afraid. Is he talking of having put the Earth into the running himself or have the TP done it between scenes? How many days have gone by? It can’t be more than one or two at the most, if that. TIM shows them a news report of locales telling that a UFO crashed into the Thames near Teddington Loch. Steen tells them that Zandor and Spidron have to use a Kalindor (a spaceship) to escape Earth as they are not telepathic or psi at all. Spidron is afraid of telepathic species and Steen wants to capture him and give him treatment for that.

 

Sandor is not a shape changer but humanoid. She walks along the Thames embankment and goes down into a lit up sewer area to meet Spidron, who remarks that this smells like and reminds him of his home. Zandor is supposed to load the magnamite onto his ship hidden in the Thames River.  

 

Ginge and Lefty load supplies onto a small boat for Steen, who tells them that they have to remain behind. Ginge asks why he wasn’t told that before. Steen admits they wouldn’t have helped if he had. Ginge makes some comment about Steen that seems like an insult and handing out tickets in the Milky Way. What’s he on about? The equipment on the boat finds the spaceship but Spidron uses some device to blow up the boat. Steen realizes what was about to happen and yells, “Jaunt! Jaunt for your lives!”  Carol, Stephen, Steen, John, and Kenny jaunt off just in time. In the meantime, Joy has stunned Ginge and Lefty and brought them to Spidron. How? Or did she/he brainwash them on the spot? The Tp and Steen find their motorbikes (PPE556 and 557). John spots a sewer opening and in the TP and Steen go. Inside, Steen has to hit down a brainwashed Ginge and Lefty, who recover quickly. As they enter the sewer, Carol feels one of her intuitions of something bad. John tells Steen to expect trouble as they've come to rely on Carol's intuition--it's one of her gifts. Well, for Pete's Sake, they've just nearly been blown up, of course, expect trouble! 

 

Spidron has the ability to turn himself into liquid and leave. He claims something is wrong with the matter transmitter so he has to leave Joy to Steen. He’s done this on purpose. When she tries to stun him, he raises his plant like hands and zaps the stun gun from her’s. Steen and the Tp arrive. Steen tells Joy he will not let her leave and she will have to stay on this planet as it breaks up. He urges John to get Stephen, Kenny and Carol to leave. The younger Tp will not go. Ginge urges them to leave, too. He and Lefty will stay to see Joy gets what is coming to her. Steen tells the Tp that they should go to their alien friends, The Zaphostrians and stay there. The Tp go through the gates and leave as the place shakes and starts to fall apart.

 

In the end, Steen makes a deal with Zandor. She will tell him where the magnamite is that she hid from Spidron and if it proves correct, Steen will let her go. Steen tells the TP all this later in the Lab as the Earth is saved. The magmamite was in containers in the mining area. Steen tells them when the lava hit the containers, the magmamite was exposed and came out and went back into the Earth. Joy/Zandor hid it there from Spidron, knowing that he will double cross her. She never put the substance on the spaceship so Spidron left in his ship with plain mercury. Huh? How did Joy plan on getting away anyway? Use the matter transmitter maybe?  Steen goes on to tell them that the Earth is now a part of the Federation and that soon there will be more of the Tomorrow People if children such as themselves look inside themselves to unlock the hidden power there and realize it. Ginge claims he and Lefty cannot stand it if there will be more them and asks Lefty if that is true. Everyone laughs as Lefty responds, “No, Ginge.”    

 

Note: Steen also tells them that non telepaths will come to Earth from time to time, not realizing the Earth is a closed world but telepaths need the permission of the TP.

 

REVIEW: Blah. I don’t know what’s wrong with it. Perhaps it’s the same criticisms as last week’s. Steen takes charge and leaves the TP to supporting roles. Ginge and Lefty handle heavy work; Ginge handles the fighting; the TP are left to do…not much really. If Steen were not here, the Tp wouldn’t have found out about the Spidron or Sandor and the Earth would have been destroyed. The stuff about the Federation is intriguing but we’re not told much or SHOWN much. Everything interesting about this story is told to us rather than shown to us and even then, not enough is told to us. Where is the Federation? What is it? There is some nice location work, a change of locale even if it is sewer (a forerunner of the spider lady in RUNAWAY BRIDE?), the Thames embankment. Yet again, this does not really live up to the promise of the entire premise or the characters.

 

Of note, there is a first season novel called THE VISITOR which seems to take place some time during this first season, usually placed here but truth is it probably occurs before this story.                    

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