VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA-Diamonds in the Rough Seas
DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH SEAS---THE LATER VOYAGES AND WHY MANY WERE BETTER THAN OTHERS LIST-----
In this article I will take a look at the VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA episodes that were really quite good in the later years. The whole first season was rather good and of top quality. The second season began well enough and picked up with many good episodes, however, around the time of, say, MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE, the series became saddled with really awful and boring scripts, many of the outer space is invading us variety. In this article I will attempt to review only the episodes that merit some value from MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE to the last episode NO WAY BACK.
TERROR ON DINOSAUR ISLAND-Not a good one to start off a "best of" article on VOYAGE. This story has lots of holes in it. Yet, the Flying Sub sequences, the comical and dramatic banter between Nelson and Sharkey, the death of a crewman and the revenge seeking friend of his (part of the Seaview crew and also obssessed--not some outsider), Crane's devotion to finding Nelson and his own obssessed sounding voice when he hears Nelson calling on the island at the very end, and the music make this one entertaining, if not plausible.
KILLERS OF THE DEEP-this one had lots of stock footage from THE ENEMY BELOW but it keeps its pace up and Mike Ansara and the other guest stars handle their roles quite well. It also made a good switch to see Nelson hunting a sub for a change. Brilliant action sequences, unfortuneately they are all lifted from the movie THE ENEMY BELOW (whose music would be used in the dreadful NO ESCAPE FROM DEATH and almost every other fourth season episode.
DEADLY CREATURE BELOW-I like this one since its villians are so really bad--but good as bad guys (?!). Frankly, I think this creature story was better handled in both the first season THE CONDEMNED and the fourth season SECRET OF THE DEEP but it is nice to see Nelson so worried about human life that he looks for the lost criminal at the end of the story--which contrasts sharply with Crane's feelings and his utter violent tendencies in THE SILENT SABOTAURS.
THE PHANTOM STRIKES and RETURN OF THE PHANTOM-both very scary and odd, even for VOYAGE. This one seems to be the first supernatural and horror oriented story and with a ghost like Krugar who wants to take over Crane's body and seems to invade dreams like NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, it foreshadows that movie series. The entire episodes are very well made but Seaview once again seems isolated from the entire world--something which real subs may or may not seem. Effective stuff and the regulars do a tremendous job here. I especially like Nelson's convincing Chip that he is telling the truth about a ghost trying to possess Crane's body. Bob Dowdell does his best acting in this one. The relation between Chip and Nelson is seen for what is the first and just about the last time. A bit slow moving, both stories are, but this is needed to build the much appreciated atmosphere, so lacking in the later and supposed humor of THE HAUNTED SUBMARINE. Nelson's reactions to the female ghost in the sequel seems a bit overdone but this is probably the reaction most of us would have if it were real. Well done.
GRAVEYARD OF FEAR-Yes, a giant monster episode but done much better than the giant jellyfish story of season one, MUTINY. This one had color and atmosphere as well as the subplot of the aging woman and her lover. Added to that the electrical aspects of the jelly fish and the graveyard itself, we get one tense build up and an entertaining finale.
THE SHAPE OF DOOM-Not my favorite episode and certainly the weakest of the whale tales of VOYAGE but Kevin Hagen is really quite a good actor and rescues the entire hour. In character, he is so smug and obssessed while threatening the sub, Nelson, and Crane with the bomb...
DEAD MEN'S DOUBLOONS-a nice ironic twist here is that the ghostly pirates are really just fakes. They are criminals posing as the pirates of yesteryear. A good action filled episode and it was nice to see Crane and some of the others away from the Seaview and on an island. Nice Flying Sub scences. Albert Salmi is a very good guest star on all Allen's shows and his presense can usually save anything.
THE DEATH SHIP-tense murder mystery which scared me as a child. This time the killer was as real as you and I-the deadlist kind of killer--a human being. I recall being totally in the dark about who the killer was until the very end and was mystified at the death of Nelson and his return. Well written.
THE MONSTER'S WEB-Okay, a really hokey episode. But the guest star, Peter Mark Richman, makes it all worthwhile. And for once, the scientist out to prove himself and kill the thing that killed his crew, doesn't die at the end of the episode. Nelson seems to be written out of the show for a few sequences and a double is playing him while he is in sickbay. I also like the music written for this episode or at least the way it fits in with the old Goldsmith music.
THE MENFISH-A slow build up but the climax when the giant merman attacks Seaview is truly a masterpiece of effects and live action as well as music, all mixing well to create a great sequence. A classic episode, not perrect but better than some of the later monster shows. Nelson is not in this episode. He seems to be replaced with Admiral Parks which makes one feel a bit uncomfortable--Parks, not the hero of the entire series, can die and I really expected him to by the end of the episode.
THE MECHANICAL MAN-One of VOYAGE'S true oddities--an interesting monster-villain, played by James Darren, who seems just as suited playing the bad guy than the good ones. In fact, he is more interesting as the evil baddie than he ever was as a good guy. A slow build up but again, the ending is very well conceived. Nelson is not in this episode--again. He is sorely missed.
THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED-What was going on in this one? Who knew until the very end. No, it wasn't a deadly invasion from space. No, it wasn't a giant jellyfish. Both seemed to be the case at one point. Skip Homeier, frequent guest star of fantasy series, does an excellent job as the two timing senator. It was nice to see a bad guy who was from our side for a change. An interesting episode.
THE TERRIBLE TOYS-Okay, another wild one. Still, it used many of the props, musical cues, spacecraft, and everything else one can think of from past VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA and LOST IN SPACE episodes and Nelson being in the alien spaceship seemed somewhat Lovecraftian--these aliens seemed somewhat more intelligent, at least in feel and look. They also seemed to be more like gods or at least were stuck up to think that they were like gods. Paul Fix created some truly needed humor for the show here. Not a great one but not terrible either (hahaha).
DAY OF EVIL-I really like this one. It had so much that was good about it. The feel of the show leads me to wonder if the alien was really supposed to be a demon or the devil in the first draft of the script. He seemed so cunning and menacing without being physical. The cure for the radiation sickness and death was a good plot point--for both Crane and Patterson--could Nelson betray the world to save two of his crew? Basehart does an excellent job as the alien throughout. Hedison also does a great job here as the alien and a befuddled Crane. I particularly like the way the alien left the Seaview after being defeated--he doesn't die, he is recalled and the way he vanishes, coupled with a laugh from Basehart, a promise to meet again, and the odd music just make this whole hour worth it.
DEADLY WATERS-One of the only times we see a family member of one of the crew--Kowalski's brother Stan. A lot more deep sea involvement than usual with good tense suspense concerning a new diving suit unit and mixture and the Seaview stuck at the bottom trying to save the sub. But unlike so many of the third and fourth season stories, this time the being-stuck sequences have to do directly with the script. I also like how at the end we see Nelson and Sharkey's feelings for the evacuated Seaview as they are lifted from it via diving bell. A good adventure tale with more than usual character dramatics and drama. Proof that not all of VOYAGE's later tales are filled with monsters and invasions.
THING FROM INNER SPACE-All right, this one is a monster but for once, this monster actually comes from the ocean floor and not from outer space, thank goodness. This monster suit is one of Irwin Allen's scariest looking ones--almost too scary for an Allen show. Any scene with it is scary--especially with the smaller, man sized version. Coupled with the growling sound effect, it makes for quite an advesary. The real villian, though, is Hugh Marlowe's Bainbridge Wells. Marlowe is an underated actor and does his best here. Also, we get to see, very briefly, Patterson's father---who dies in the attack on them by the monster in the very beginning of the episode. At that time, we didn't realize he was Patterson's father, we correctly aren't told until later in the script. All of the above, added to the excellent climax as the thing chases Nelson throughout Seaview, add up to a rather good monster episode. And also as a rarity, the monster does not die at the end of the episode. It is still out there...
THE DEATH WATCH-Who knew what was going on until the last segment of this one? Surely, placed in this third season, it had to be the work of aliens taking over Crane, right? Wrong. This taunt drama with only Crane, Nelson, and Sharkey on board, handles the I'm-alone-on the Seaview tale rather well, better than most of the others that have tried before and after (THE HUMAN COMPUTER, NIGHTMARE, THE WAX MEN). The final fight, with Crane literally mad with hate as he attacks Nelson, is truly effective. The music is also quite good for this scene. The explanation could have been better told but it was fine and the episode is a rather entertaining one.
DEADLY INVASION-This DEATH episode is not as good as DEATH WATCH, nor is it a particularly great episode. Why include it? It is just so strange and is entertaining despite its faults. The faceless creatures, the idea that the aliens are tiny inside tiny spaceships and all the excellent scenes at the Sato Six complex (I just love how Nelson's watch makes the alien vanish) as well as the banter between Sharkey and Nelson (which also saved TERROR ON DINOSAUR ISLAND) make this unusual one an inclusion. The musical cuts were rather exciting here especially during the fight scences.
THE LOST BOMB-We learn Sharkey's middle name and see a friend of his from his past. There is also an enemy submarine and its crew featured and they are fleshed out characters. Gerald Mohr, a very fine actor, lends credence to his captain. Many of the scences come from season two's far superior episode THE PEACEMAKER. Yet, this one, yet another welcome relief from the monster-aliens episodes, is rather entertaining. And it is a bit of Irwin Allen irony and even foreshadows his future Disaster Films that the bomb kills the traitor, who, yes, happens to be Sharkey's friend. A nice touch. Sharkey, as always is great and in character.
THE CREATURE-THE THIRD SEASON-THE CREATURE-there were two. Not a very good story, not at all original but several elements stick in one's mind: Patterson telling Nelson he thinks he may have had to kill Crane (who was possessed by the alien swamp-like amoeba monster) and Nelson's somewhat reserved answer to him--keeping calm and in character, the taken over crewmen in the brig calling to Kowalski as one, all part of the monster, telling him to open the cell, Sharkey's killing of the taken over Dr. King, and the Lovecraftian type of creature life form that will take over all others. Again, we have a monster, this one is from the ocean floor and is quite horrid. Not as bad as either THE PLANT MAN, WEREWOLF, or THE BRAND OF THE BEAST.
DEATH FROM THE PAST-Not bad, but not great either. More Nazis. A bit overdone and a bit slow at the same time but this one has more than enough action in it and John Van Dreelen and Jan Merlin are very good guest stars who make the most of their parts, cunningly and smilingly smug and superior acting.
THE HEAT MONSTER-Any snow and ice based sequences are welcome. The episode, overall, is not. Even the usually good Alfred Ryder (the Phantom of the second season) cannot save this one, in fact, his character is rather annoying. The invisibility scences are okay.
THE FOSSIL MEN-I can't figure out why I like this one but I do. Perhaps the whole floating rock camoflage thing is really quite horrific and this is true in the opening teaser. I also like the humor between Sharkey and Nelson in this one and I couldn't wait ot get back to their scences on the underwater grotto. In fact, the grotto scences are the best part of this, unearthly and weird. I also like the idea that this menace is very, very old and includes a captain of the past, fossilized by the force in the grotto. I also think that Crane, and then Nelson, using a crowbar on the fossilman Wren is so bizarre. The fight sequences are very good and I enjoy the climax a great deal as Wren tells them that this is what they are going to all become. Also, Richards, a likeable character, dies--giving the VOYAGE universe a great deal of danger. This episode, underated, is really very enjoyable.
THE MERMAID-Despite the stock footage of the MERMEN, this one is quite good, too. The Mermaid is ethereal and mysterious as is her psychic control of Crane. The sequences of the Mermaid swimming undersea are quite well done, accompanied by music that fits. She is probably the only female that appears in the entire Seasons Three and Four. The merman (who killed a crewmember) and mermaid leave at the end so they, too, are still out there. The mermaid helped the crew find a lost bomb. Lots of stock footage from THE PEACEMAKER and THE LOST BOMB but overall enjoyable.
THE MUMMY-Not bad but some of the mummy sequences are done in too much light. It is actually pretty horrific but when the two crewmen it attacks turn up alive--that ruins some of the tenseness. Other crewmen stay dead--but sometimes as the one crewman who was killed by it in the Flying Sub---they turn up later in other episodes! The takeover of Crane is very well done and Hedison acts rather well in this one. The mummy in the shadows is very scary and its face quite unsettling. Nelson getting so close to it at the climax makes this ending quite nerve wracking. I also like the Egyptian type music borrowed from some Fox historical movie. And the Flying Sub scences on the dock as seen through its window viewport. Entertaining.
SHADOWMAN-Hated this one. More aliens. More takeovers. More invasion. The only reason I mention it is it seems to have some link to LOST IN SPACE's Saticon aliens in THE GALAXY GIFT and the same aliens--unnamed in VOYAGE and in LOST IN SPACE'S earlier WRECK OF THE ROBOT, are all very alike. Their voices sound the same and the same music is played when we see them (original LOST music as well as from THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL). And the aliens here, claim to come from Alpha Centaurai. I know this is reading into it but could the aliens on LOST IN SPACE be the same, aware of the Robinsons due to the Robinson's desire to get to Alpha Centuarai and the aliens want to hamper the Robinson's getting there--as they also want (in an earlier time period than LOST IN SPACE) to hamper Nelson and crew's launch of the space capsule and the space program overall. If there is one true link, storywise between VOYAGE and LOST, this is it. But the script is awful.
NO ESCAPE FROM DEATH-Almost ALL stock footage. Bad hour-one of the worst. The music is the only saving grace--it is from the movie THE ENEMY BELOW and sounds great in this episode (as well as many Fourth Season ones). Stock comes from SUBMARINE SUNK HERE, JONAH AND THE WHALE, GRAVEYARD OF FEAR and THE MECHANICAL MAN).
THE WAX MEN-Micheal Dunn as the clown is irresistable, both somehow kind and totally evil at the same kind--he'd kind of kill you with a smile. His genius and insanity is nicely played and if not for him, this would be another doubles on the ship episode with copies of the crew...things are odd though with the doubles here being wax! The music in this one is as good, if not better, than all the music from before it. Hedison is really very good here, conveying the true sense of fear one would have in this situation.
DESTROY SEAVIEW!-Slow moving and a bit routine, this one has a brainwashed Nelson trying to do in the crew. It is a bit like other episodes such as THE TRAITOR and THE SABOTEUR but it holds up as an entertaining hour of spy and action stuff, more akin to season one and the early half of season two and for that it is worth mentioning. Many consider this to be the third season's best episode.
FIRES OF DEATH-certainly a good one to start a season (4th) with, unlike MONSTER FROM THE INFERNO in the 3rd season. This one has the stern and always serious Vic Jory lending credence and menace to the alchemist, Dr. Turner, one of the more interesting villains of the last year and another (FOSSIL MEN) from out of our own past. Chip has something to do, even if it is being turned into one of Turner's experiments. There are new special effects as a volcano threatens Seaview (and the volcano works even if it is the same type of set as in DESTROY SEAVIEW!). The new Flying Sub sequences are great and the music, almost all of it from THE ENEMY BELOW is well used, better here than from the movie it was in. And those Seaview shaking scenes have been perfected to near perfection.
THE DEADLY DOLLS-Anything with Vincent Price can't be too bad. He lends a great feel to this alien invasion (yes, again) tale. This alien is an energy form and it needs a new shell--Seaview. It is also very Lovecraftian and an errie atmosphere adds to the hour. Crane is once more very violent, burning his puppet self with such fervor that I wasn't sure it was the real Crane who survived. The fight sequences are well done and the climax with Crane being beaten by the puppet people is unsettling. The Nelson doll was quite humorous. I would have liked to see the other dolls more. Again, a nice mix of previous music.
CAVE OF THE DEAD-A supernatural episode that beats THE HAUNTED SUBMARINE hands down. It has the same type of premise: a doomed sea captain and his crew are to sail the seas forever with no rest unless Nelson does something for them. In this one, Nelson must die by the knife he took from the skeleton of the captain in a cave. A couple of things don't add up under scrutiny--why didn't the ghost kill Nelson in the cave just after they find the knife--perhaps it had to happen under water. The diving bell sequence and the Flying Sub's rescue claw are well worth seeing this one for. But the episode could survive without them. Warren Stevens, who always brings up the quality of anything he is in and is a frequent guest star on Allen's shows, particularly VOYAGE, plays the captain of the Flying Dutchman. The fight scene between a taken over Crane (what again, Bullwinkle!?) trying to kill Nelson works only because the ghost is standing, full length in the vent, watching the whole thing! This scene is rather scary and unsettling. The entire hour is well done and the skeletons as Nelson comes back aboard are rather creepy, not in design but in what they represent.
JOURNEY WITH FEAR-Not a great one but not bad either. Some new concepts besides invasion, this one does have aliens. Launching a rocket from the Seaview to Venus, the men of Seaview must contend with the aliens who intervene and take it to Venus, as well as a Flying Sub with Nelson. At one point they try to take Seaview to the planet but fail with not enough power (this was done on SEAQUEST when aliens kidnap that sub to another planet). Chip has a prominent part again--he is one of the two crewmen who take the first flight out, the second is killed and Chip is blinded, Dowdell doing a good job at pretending to be blind. The episode has a different feel to the others and for that it is represented here.
SEALED ORDERS-is perhaps an overrated episode. It is another of the illusion are creating havoc episodes (so well done on LOST IN SPACE in FLIGHT INTO THE FUTURE and LAND OF THE GIANTS in NIGHTMARE.) At first, it is not obvious to what is happening but after awhile it really is. This one also represents the type of episode where everyone disappears one by one (done on GILLIGAN'S ISLAND once or twice and on LOST IN SPACE--SPACE CREATURE, and also in LAND OF THE GIANTS--NIGHTMARE). Illusions also figure in this season's NIGHTMARE but not to good measure. The wild photographic effects and new music really highlight the episode. Other than that...it really gets kind of boring. For first viewings it is pretty good and one wonders what is going on. FLIGHT INTO THE FUTURE handled the illusions best though.
MAN OF MANY FACES-an excellent episode similar to season two's early ones. The outdoor sequences with Crane's escape from the truck is well done and gives the show a much needed land sequence. The subplot about the Moon coming closer to the Earth is welcome and this one holds interest and suspense all the way through. One tends to get this one mixed up with EDGE OF DOOM which has similar aspects to it. I truly adore the confused look on Sharkey's face as he passes the same crewman twice--realizing one is an imposter. We also see more of the Nelson Institute of Marine Research.
FATAL CARGO-I like gorilla stories and this one is nothing special, in fact, I seem to recall an old horror film that had a very similar concept to the white gorilla. The best part is when the gorilla corners Chip and Sharkey and the two men realize that their weapon is not loaded! Having something that powerful on a sub is fairly common to Seaview but it is rather scary if you think about it. I am glad that the real killer is the human, using the gorilla rather than the gorilla itself.
TIME LOCK-another different feel episode. By now though, Seaview may have well been lost in the sea, since the real world has little to do with the plots or is hardly even seen at all. John Crawford relates that his more macho voice was dubbed over the one he put on for this future man---a more effeminate voice which remains in the scenes to next week however. Other than the future and Alpha, the bad guy, this one has little more to recommend it.
RESCUE-One of the most enjoyable episodes of the whole series. Beach, one of Seaview's men is a spy and he has another of the crew on his side. Crane is stuck at the bottom of the sea. Beach played by Don Dubbins is a child faced evil killer with no heart. He fools all the men of Seaview and kills several of the men, two divers who are given the wrong air mixture. Lots of underwater action and lots of excellent scenes, both character wise and plot wise.
TERROR-is really not very good or logical and the men yet again come up with another device to destroy another threat--again an alien from space. The reason this one is so different is that this threat is a red orchid in a jar! And when Nelson's Flying Sub is blown up by the Seaview--Nelson returns unhurt and just as alien as ever. Some terrific music used here but not much else. At this point I'd say--TOO MANY ALIEN INVASIONS. Its worse than DOCTOR WHO for alien invasions.
A TIME TO DIE-Also not a favorite but Henry Jones as Mr. Pem makes it worth it. For a time travel story it could be better and more exciting but this one moves slow. I do like the music, again, and Jones' Mr. Pem is interesting enough. I like the sequence where Kowalski and Sharkey find Nelson in his office on the submarine while Pem sits and converses with Nelson, who has apparently become partners with this slimy man. We also get to see more of the Nelson Institute of Marine Research. This episode reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode--very talky. Okay episode.
BLOW UP-the cast does a fine job of acting as Nelson, manipulated by a toxic gas in his system, goes paranoid, not unlike Steve in LAND OF THE GIANTS-THE UNSUSPECTED. Seeing Nelson abuse Chip is unsettling but fun, "I never trusted you. It's the eyes, you can never tell what you were thinking..." He also goes against the ship's Doc, wanting him in the brig. There are many unusual shots of the Seaview both above and below the sea surface as well as never before seen sections inside the ship. Well made.
DEADLY AMPHIBIANS-I realize not many like this one---justifiably so. It has many flaws. But again, the menace is not from space but from the ocean depths. This gives it a different feel but again, Nelson devises some new device to hold the beasts at bay. The face masks, very amphibian are pretty well done except for the creature that talks--we can see the actor's mouth moving beneath what is supposed to be the creature's mouth. Not a very good part of that mask and more fitting for something like Sil in DOCTOR WHO. The creatures are fairly well conceived otherwise. And there is something surreal about this one.
THE RETURN OF BLACKBEARD-the less said the better. The only saving grace is the excellent Mullendore music. And that's it. Oh, and we get to Nelson's bathroom on the sub.
THE LOBSTER MAN-I just like the outfit of the creature but a really bad one. I also like the idea that Nelson is trapped in the alien's space rocket. Not a good episode.
NIGHTMARE-Although I hate this one I rather like the scenes where the fake Nelson, Chip, Sharkey and others don't react at all to an irate, confused Crane while they talk of treason and war. It seems to be an outlook that we haven't seen--another way of looking at what they are doing to prevent war in episodes such as DOOMSDAY from season one. But the rest of this turkey is not good.
THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN-I like the monster suit. That's really about it. It was very, very scary when I was younger. Now it just seems silly and a bit surreal. One unintentionally humorous part is when Chip and Crane discuss "the question now is--who will be next," and the next thing we see is Nelson walking down a hallway on his jolly way, alone, despite several murders of crewmen. The build up of the monster's first full bodied appearance is really well done and it is scary since we hear its heavy breathing, see a shadow on the wall in a hallway, and maybe see a flash of its claw and its feet--but not it. This one terrified me as a child.
SECRET OF THE DEEP-Yes, I know--its loaded with stock footage but this time it works unlike in NO ESCAPE FROM DEATH. The stock footage is woven into a stronger plot--nothing new--a united group from many countries--has a sea base on the ocean floor, dedicated to destroying anything that stands in their way of power and ruling the seas. They have an unbelievable arsenal of weapons and monsters: the creatures from LEVIATHAN, the whale from JONAH AND THE WHALE, and extensive footage of the bubble headed thing from DEADLY CREATURE BELOW. Peter Mark Richman makes the bad guy, well, really bad and adds to it all. And the rousing climax, not too different from DEADLY CREATURE BELOW at all is better handled and directed.
MAN BEAST-The fact that the music is different and that we have a villian who is supposed to be confined to a wheelchair added to the fact that Nelson is confined in the diving bell in the climax with the creature that Crane has become in order to save him, make this werewolf type tale better than the previous two werewolf stories. And the makeup on Crane and the other werewolf is so very scary. Essentially it is more of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type makeup and story. I am also glad the diving bell was getting a stupendous workout this season. The Flying Sub claws appear again.
SAVAGE JUNGLE-I know, more space aliens. Again, though, this one is bizarre. They are plants and three of them wear army outfits in camaflague! The other is a member of Seaview's crew somehow and he is quite an interesting, obssessed fellow. The other thing to recommend this is the music, a nice mix of new and old, some from Season One's THE MIST OF SILENCE. And of coarse we have the odd circumstance of having Seaview filled with jungles!
FLAMING ICE-Aliens again (SIGH!). But the Seaview is back in the polar ice cap. The alien makeup is not bad and it is nice to see it snow inside the Seaview (do I see a trend here?). Kowalski, Del Monroe, gives a nice performance of being obssessed at finding Nelson and Sharkey, and of being cold--one can almost feel his freezing condition. Its very odd that Dowdell appears as an alien guard here. This seemed to be a version of a sci-fic movie called SNOW DEVILS made in Italy as part of a TV series but turned into three or four features instead. Flames at the polar ice caps are a strange sight indeed and one cannot put this episode down too much. it is just so bizarre.
ATTACK!-URRGGGGhhhhhh--more aliens from space! This one can almost be dismissed. Kevin Hagen is not in good form here, almost sleep walking through his role, the often good Skip Homeier is not much better as an alien ally. The best thing about this one is the surreal alien base--an undersea grotto with sky and alien saucer dock surrounded by a forcefield--and that room where Nelson and Kowalski are being held--upsidedown--is sooo weird. Nothing else new here but a good try.
THE EDGE OF DOOM-The question wasn't who was the saboteur but what was making Sharkey do what he was doing---but of course this wasn't really Sharkey. We had a few twists and turns here which helped and this was a fairly decent story. We also get to see many more sections of the Nelson Institute of Marine Research. An interesting scence has Nelson barely acknowledge Crane's presence while trusting Sharkey and Chip and ordering them to his room to explain their new situation. That is not easy to forget and it is easy to see how Crane is troubled by it.
THE DEATH CLOCK-another illusion type episode. However, this time, the illusions aren't really illusions. In part, they are real. From a time that hasn't yet happened in another dimension which twists time and space and alters reality---Crane kills Nelson and we see his funeral. I recall thinking that this must be the last episode and that funeral was quite shocking. By the time Crane and Sharky find their way back from the island, I realized Nelson would be back when the 4th dimension machine was destroyed. GENERAL HOSPITAL'S Chris Robinson as Mallory makes for a generally calm villian, the ship's corman, who rarely loses his control over himself or his machine. The fourth dimension of a future that Mallory had planned invades our time. This is a highly well done tale, even if at times it is ununderstandable. Strange but at least there are no aliens.
NO WAY BACK-Now, this is the last one and Seaview does blow up! Shocking and even more so when we see just after that--the Nelson Institute of Marine Research and not the Seaview. Pem returns in grand tradition, enjoying everyone's shocked reactions. Nelson gets the upper hand on him at first, showing him that his photo was taken as he tried to get into NIMR. Pem tells Nelson he can save Seaview if Nelson allows him to perfect another time device. They go back to a time just before the blast. Pem sends Seaview back in time again--this time to the historic meeting of Benedict Arnold and Major Andre--to change the course of history. A very good episode, much better than A TIME TO DIE and TIMELOCK. We get to see Kowalski wondering what will happen to Major Andre, who is treated in the script as sympathetic. Arnold is also treated kindly by the script. We also see more of the NIMR. One fabulous shot is of the Seaview in the sea, just off shore of an 18th century town! Nelson goes back in time after Pem is accidentally killed and his plot is foiled, gets the bomb Pem planted off Seaview and restores time. Not a bad one to go out on, a good story and again, NO ALIENS, thank goodness.
So there you have it: 55 gems, liberally counted, with a few stinkers among them admittedly. So the ones I left out must be really bad!!!! These would include both werewolf tales, HAUNTED SUBMARINE, MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE, THE SKY'S ON FIRE (not bad but just a remake of the VOYAGE movie), MONSTER FROM THE INFERNO, NIGHT OF TERROR, THE PLANT MAN, DOOMSDAY ISLAND, DEADLY CLOUD, and THE TERRIBLE LEPRECHAUN. Admittedly, this list of baddies should include: TERROR IN DINOSAUR ISLAND (it makes little sense), THE MONSTER'S WEB, THE HEAT MONSTER, SHADOWMAN, NO ESCAPE FROM DEATH, JOURNEY WITH FEAR, TIME LOCK, TERROR, A TIME TO DIE, DEADLY AMPHIBIANS, THE RETURN OF BLACKBEARD, THE LOBSTER MAN, NIGHTMARE, and THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN. Their inclusion on the "good list" is explained under each section. Others that are personal favorites but are noted as not favorites of other fans are: THE FOSSIL MEN, THE TERRIBLE TOYS, THING FROM INNER SPACE, DEADLY INVASION, THE CREATURE, THE DEADLY DOLLS, CAVE OF THE DEAD, JOURNEY WITH FEAR, TIME LOCK, TERROR, DEADLY AMPHIBIANS, SECRET OF THE DEEP, MAN BEAST, SAVAGE JUNGLE, FLAMING ICE, ATTACK!, and THE DEATH CLOCK. These would probably appear on a conservative list of the bad episodes. All in all, there is much in seasons 3 and 4 that should not be overlooked. They are not as strong as seasons 1 and 2 but there is some merit to be looked for. Only one doesn't always enjoy sifting the mud for the gems.