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Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: The Complete Series 2 (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000142851
Added by: Stuart McLean
Added on: 19/6/2011 15:53
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    Review for Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: The Complete Series 2

    8 / 10

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    Hurrah! This is the season that kicks off 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' as I best remember it. It's in colour for starters (alright - so I didn't see it that way first time round, but it's how the stills and merchandise always looked) and Seaview looks uber-cool with a new sleeker design which is the one generally used for model kits. And there's the addition of that flying saucer styled mini-sub which can even take to the air. Almost Thunderbird Two and Four in reverse!

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    Gone are the cold war plotting and scheming and in its place are high adventures and rescues, sometimes battling giant sea creatures and occasionally tackling some unknown alien force (which may be why it carries the 'sci-fi' genre tag to this day). Series Two definitely sets the tone for the two series that followed which really defines the series for most.

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    I imagine that Revelation will release a mega-set of all four seasons once each set has been released, though be warned - it really will be a mega mega set with some 110 hour-long (minus ad breaks) episodes. This set has all 26 colour episodes from Season 2 which, even in its own right, adds up to some marathon viewing. As such, the retail price point seems very reasonable indeed.

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    Season 2, in common with the previous season, is supposedly set in the near future - the 1970's. (Things get really exotic with seasons three and four which were supposedly based in the futuristic 1980s!).

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    Irwin Allen has become something of a cult figure having produced several series now considered cult classics. Revelation have just released Season 2 of 'Land of the Giants' (which I reviewed earlier this week) and the complete series of 'The Time Tunnel', which my reviewing cohort Jitender reviewed last week. With three Irwin Allen series hitting the shelves in the same week, it has created fresh excitement around the man and his work. (There are even rumours of a re-mastered 'Lost in Space' set in the air, though nothing confirmed as yet).

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    'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' features the crew of a top-secret nuclear submarine, Seaview.

    Admiral Nelson (Richard Basehart) is not only the Admiral in charge of Seaview; he designed it. He is ably supported by Captain Crane (David Hedison), Lt Commander Chip Morton (Robert Dowdell) and Chief Sharkey (Terry Becker, who replaced Henry Kulky who played Chief 'Curly' Jones in series one).

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    Of course, it's the younger (and more handsome) Captain who features in most adventures, with every episode bringing danger and excitement as another sea monster or lost civilization is discovered, or some top secret military weapon needs capturing. Crane is no stranger to danger.

    Gerry Anderson's influence can be strongly felt ('Stingray' and later 'Thunderbirds') with rescue missions quickly being added to the roster of responsibilities for Seaview and her crew.

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    Some episodes require a huge suspension of disbelief and even include one which features a cyborg replica of the good captain causing havoc on the ship, and a crew of shipwrecked soldiers from WWII refusing to believe that the war is over some 30 years on. There are also plenty of mad scientists plotting to wreak havoc on the world or just being misguided in their invention, and even visits by ghosts and supernatural forces. Luckily, the crew of Seaview consistently win the day.

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    Viewed in small doses and with decent intervals the show is a real joy to watch - a blast from the past, oozing nostalgic charm and vibrant sixties colour. However, viewed back to back (as was never intended) the repetition and formulaic approach starts to show and it becomes far less fun to watch.

    Picture quality is pretty good throughout though variable. Some sequences show more wear and tear than others. Compression is good throughout, despite a generous four episodes per disc. Audio options include mono and stereo, though I opted for original mono for this review.

    The last disc (disc 7) has just two episodes (rather than four) to complete the series, though contains some fun extras. There are all the usual production stills and publicity galleries as well as information on miniatures and merchandise. Perhaps the best of the 'gallery material is the MAD Magazine parody, 'Journey to see what's on the bottom' which features a ship called 'Seapew'.

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    There is also a wealth of mute 'effects' material and a six minute interview with David Hedson where he recalls his work with Allen on the series.

    Series 2 may well be a good place to start for anyone hoping to re-live their child-hood memories of this classic cult series. In small doses it delivers all the joy you can reasonably expect of vintage TV and if you liked this first time round, you're going to love the repeats. At the very reasonable price-point this is retailing at, I would suggest that acquiring a copy should be considered a no-brainer.

    Your Opinions and Comments

    Interesting how the consensus on Irwin Allen appears to be that it's best to take his shows in small doses.
    posted by Jitendar Canth on 19/6/2011 17:23
    They are terribly formulaic and, having spent so much on props and sets, they certainly get well-used across the many hours of material. To be fair, no one thought they would ever be scrutinised on complete sets the way they are being. And each episode was made to stand alone, so none of the thrills you get with a decent epiosdic anime for example!
    posted by Stuart McLean on 19/6/2011 18:00
    VTBS is probably one of the more "sensible" Irwin Allen shows.  There should be a health warning "HEALTH WARNING, WILL ROBINSON!!" on the Lost In Space box set.  Exposure to too many episodes (especially from the third season) will cause foaming at the mouth, irritation of the knees and acute bruising of the forehead caused by banging it against the floor.

    But in small doses it's great fun.
    posted by Mark Oates on 25/8/2011 04:50