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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE FANTASTIC FOUR, 12 July 2007
By 
Kelvin J. Dickinson (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Irwin Allen Television Productions, 1964-1970: A Critical History of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", "Lost in Space", "The Time Tunnel" and "Land of the Giants" (Hardcover)
IRWIN ALLEN's quartet of classic tv series - VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, LOST IN SPACE, THE TIME TUNNEL and LAND OF THE GIANTS - never quite got the exposure they deserved on this side of the pond. Of course they were aired, and repeated, but over time seem to have been eclipsed in the British Public's memory largely by Gene Roddenberry's STAR TREK, the ultimate future behemoth of American network science-fiction.

I'm therefore very grateful that JON ABBOTT has written such an excellent critical appraisal of these particular shows. But this is no dry reference book. Far from it. It's clear from the outset that the author has a deep affection for Allen's output and he's not shy to admit it, but neither is he afraid to highlight the many inconsistencies and absurdities associated with a producer known primarily for being a showman. We're told that spectacle was the name of Irwin's game and sometimes logic could suffer as a result. So when you think of a combined total of 274 episodes over 6 short years, it's not overly surprising that assaults on coherence and the overuse of stock footage were common misdemeanours, but Abbott is also right to point out that our weekly trips via sea, space, time and outsized environments were seldom dull. And, more often than not, we were rewarded with a box of delights within the framework of, let's not forget this, some conceptually stunning ideas: a nuclear supersub, patrolling the oceans, battling Cold War enemies, natural disasters and alien invaders; a cowardly saboteur wrecking a space family's mission to colonise Earth's nearest habitable world; a top secret government time-travel project, on the verge of being closed down, losing two of its most dedicated scientists within the 'infinite corridors of time' in their attempts to prove it successful; a transatlantic space flight being sucked into a vortex and crashing on an Earth-type planet inhabited by giants. Pretty exciting stuff I'd say. Add to that a glut of likeable characters, great sets, convincing miniatures and outrageous special effects - ignoring those ghastly puffs of smoke masquerading as explosions - and there you have it: textbook Irwin Allen. Not heavy, not deep, just very entertaining.

And all this is brought superbly to life in the form of episode reviews and fascinating overviews, including substantial information about the regular casts, guest stars, directors and various production personnel. Especially interesting to me were details and comments about the relatively small group of writers Allen used across his four productions (some of whom performed cost-cutting miracles by recycling props, plots and stock footage to an almost surreal degree). In fact, there's so much to get your teeth into here that you'll find yourself revisiting this book many times over. I certainly have, and recently in conjunction with the DVD releases of Voyage and Time Tunnel. Ah, but there's a caveat to this heavenly indulgence: with the exception of 'Lost in Space' everything else requires importing from the USA. Oh, and did I mention you'll also need a multi-region DVD player? It's an irritatingly contemporary take on the original problem.

I'd like to finish by saying that Jon Abbott has produced a very worthy and compelling read. His style is open and accessible, yet knowledgeable and authoritative. I like that, and having read the book, I certainly feel more empowered to discuss each show's respective merits with confidence and clarity. Not bad for a (confession time!) middle-aged Trekkie. And to top it all off, I was very happy to discover that Jon's a Brit like me!...icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned.

Don't forget, apart from being a highly enjoyable read in its own right, this book is also an invaluable companion piece to classic fantasy television from a bygone era - ideal for specific and casual genre fans alike - so, go on, get importing.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

PS: My favourite shows in order: (1) Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. (2) The Time Tunnel. (=3) Lost in Space & Land of the Giants
PPS: Jon, beg to differ on one thing: I thought the VTTBOTS episode 'The Death Watch' was pretty good for a bottle show.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars if you enjoy irwins work you will love this, 16 April 2009
By 
F. Macdonald - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Irwin Allen Television Productions, 1964-1970: A Critical History of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", "Lost in Space", "The Time Tunnel" and "Land of the Giants" (Hardcover)
reviewed by Peter in Cumbria- i have read good sections of this book and its a perfect companion for the dvd 'the fantasy worlds of irwin allen' available from amazom region 1. Its the only book ive seen about his productions,the price may seem alot at over 40 but i cannot recommend it highly enough.Its the best referrence book ive read and Jon Abbott has surpassed himself with his knowledge of Irwins work,all episodes of all productions -its all there...wonderful.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, 13 Feb 2007
By 
Mr. J. Beedell (Southend on Sea England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Irwin Allen Television Productions, 1964-1970: A Critical History of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", "Lost in Space", "The Time Tunnel" and "Land of the Giants" (Hardcover)
Mr Abbott has a writing style all of his own he is a fan of allen's work
I met him in london a long time ago and he told me he would like to write a book about Irwin TV Shows I ran the fan club for his shows in the 1980's
Buy it!
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