Friday, June 05, 2009

Land of the Lost - Season Three: Enik the Dick

The third and final season of Land of the Lost is often considered the ugly, misshapen, redheaded bastard stepchild of the series. Indeed, if the 13 episodes of which it consists were the only Land of the Lost ever created, the show would have been long since forgotten. But it’s worth mentioning that the initial impetus for doing this three part retrospective came from the desire to come to the defense of Season Three, and try to give a little bit of respect to the episodes that are routinely shunned even by the people who display their love of this show as a badge of honor.

Season Three again saw shifts in the production team, and even more noticeably, in front of the camera. As I understand it, Spencer Milligan couldn’t reach an amicable contract agreement and so he abruptly left the show. With his departure came new lyrics for the opening credits:

Will and Holly Marshall
As the earth beneath them trembled
Lost their father through the door of time
Uncle Jack went searching
And found those kids at last
Looking for a way to escape
From the Land of the Lost

Uncle Jack replaced Ranger Rick, and he was played by Ron Harper, best known to genre fans as astronaut Alan Virdon in the TV series incarnation of Planet of the Apes. He was a true uncle, rather than a father – instead of being preachy and bestowing wisdom, he was more often than not a man of action; a guy trying to get things done. I like Ron Harper, and if there’s a reason I’ve got some love for Season Three, much of it’s due to his presence. Would Spencer Milligan’s Rick have been as believable in many of these situations? Likely not. He’d accrued too much info during his time in the Land for these stories to work. In contrast, Uncle Jack was experiencing this madness through fresh eyes, and so he was more accepting.

Behind the scenes, Jon Kubichan and Sam Roeca took over as producer and story editor respectively, and between the two of them, they scripted the majority of the season. Their vision of the series was quite the departure from the two seasons that came before. Nearly everything - including the iconic elements such as the Sleestak, the Pakuni and the ubiquitous dinosaurs - got a major overhaul.

Find out how Land of the Lost ends by clicking here to read the rest of this piece at Premium Hollywood.