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5.0 out of 5 stars Ark II: The Complete Series a Great Buy!!, 9 May 2007
By 
B. Streutker "Book Addict" (Alexandria, KY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ark II: Complete Series [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I have very very fond memories of watching Ark II on Saturday mornings as an impressionable 8 year old in 1975. TV was so much more wholesome and moral back then when we compare it to the psychopathic trash that is broadcast nowadays to our beleaguered youth. Ark II was presented in a didactic method of drama that attempted to teach youngsters a moral or ethical truth while entertaining them at the same time.

When I look back on those lost years. there was no Bush..no AIDS..no Iraq war...no 911...it almost seems like a dream. The mid 1970's were also the years of such shows as (can you remember?) "Run Joe Run"..."Land of the Lost"..."Shazam and Isis hour". Am I making you feel old?

I think today's young pre teens would love ARK II. The didactic method of teaching core values to youth is lost in our Godless materialistic, Politically correct dystopian nightmare that is 21st Century America.

Take me back to 1975!!!

DESCRIPTION OF TV SHOW AND THE ACTORS:

Ark II was a live-action science fiction series aimed at children that aired on CBS beginning in 1975 as part of its Saturday morning line-up.

The show starred Terry Lester as Ark II's commander Jonah, Jean Marie Hon as Ruth, José Flores as Samuel, and a chimpanzee playing Adam. The cast is notable for its racial mix and the Biblical inspirations for the character names. The show's setting was in the post-apocalyptic 25th century (specifically, 2476), after Earth's civilizations were decimated by the effects of waste and pollution, falling back to a level comparable to the Dark Ages. Surviving scientists pooled their knowledge and resources, training three young people (and the chimp, who was capable of speech) to search for remnants of humanity, reintroducing lost ideas as they traveled the barren landscape in the high-tech Ark II.

The series is best-remembered for its titular vehicle: a futuristic six-wheeled combination RV and mobile laboratory. The vehicle was built from a fiberglass body on a garbage/dump truck chassis by the Brukaber Group. It is sometimes incorrectly reported that the Ark II was built by Dean Jeffries, who constructed various fantastic vehicles for science-fiction films and television. These include the Landmaster for the film Damnation Alley, with which the Ark II is sometimes confused. The front end of the Ark II prop was later re-used as the nose portion of the Seeker spacecraft in the Filmation series Space Academy.

In addition, the series also featured futuristic inventions such as a jetpack called the Jet Jumper, and the Ark Roamer, a smaller, 4-wheeled all-terrain vehicle built by Brubaker from a modified Brubaker Box (a kit car using a Volkswagen Beetle chassis).

The series featured memorable guest stars, including Jonathan Harris and, notably, Robby the Robot (as the title character built by Samuel in the episode "The Robot").

Only 15 half-hour episodes of the series were produced; however, these episodes were re-run by CBS for several years.

The opening credits for each episode summarized the show's backstory:

"For millions of years, Earth was fertile and rich. Then pollution and waste began to take their toll. Civilization fell into ruin. This is the world of the 25th century. Only a handful of scientists remain. Men who have vowed to rebuild what has been destroyed... This is their achievement... Ark II, a mobile storehouse of scientific knowledge, manned by a highly trained crew of young people. Their mission: to bring the hope of a new future to mankind."

"Ark II log, entry #1: I, Jonah, Ruth, Samuel and Adam are fully aware of the dangers we face as we venture into unknown, maybe even hostile, areas. But we're determined to bring the promise of a new civilization to our people and our planet."

In "The Launch of Ark II", the documentary filmed for the release of the DVD set, Lou Scheimer and others mention that the program was filmed during the summer of 1976 predominantly on location at what is now Malibu Creek State Park.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ark II - Log Entry: 2013, 18 Feb 2013
By 
Peter Karsten "Osiris" (Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ark II: Complete Series [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Ark II is a live-action science fiction series created by Filmation via CBS; it was produced in 1976 on location at Paramount Ranch near Malibu, California, for airing on Saturday mornings, thus aimed at children and teenagers. Only 15 episodes were ever made as the first season, but through re-runs over the years after production ceased it became a cult classic TV series.

- The Series -

Ark II had a racially mixed cast, starring Terry Lester as Captain Jonah (he also had the title of Commander in some episodes), Jean Marie Hon as Ruth, José Flores as Samuel, and a chimpanzee playing Adam. The show's premise was inspired by the story of Noah's Ark, and the characters were given names taken from the Bible.

The show's setting was in the post-apocalyptic 25th Century, after Earth's civilizations were decimated by the effects of waste, pollution, and warfare, falling back to a level comparable to the Dark Ages. Surviving scientists pooled their knowledge and resources, training three young people (and the chimp, who was capable of speech was voiced by Lou Scheimer) to search for remnants of humanity, reintroducing lost ideas as they travelled the barren landscape in the high-tech Ark II.

The series was unique in that it had a futuristic large white vehicle known as the `Ark II' (where the series got its name), which was a mobile laboratory for the crew to help explore the country, and for shorter journey's there was an all-terrain vehicle known as the Roamer, and Jonah had for his exploration a jetpack known as the `Jet Jumper'.

This was a great short-lived series, with only 15 episodes, I would have liked it to have gone for a second and third season, as there was enough imagination and scope for the series to develop. Perhaps budget restraints do not permit any further production; in any case Ark II was a unique show by any standards for the mid-70's.

- The Episodes -

Although this DVD Set has put these episodes in `Production Order' (nicely done), I have decided to place them in Ark II Log order as stated within the episodes by Jonah. In this way the Log entries are in numerical order, and thus more logical, (but there will be some problems with this as you will see) thus putting the Ark II episodes in a different viewing order.

The Mind Group
Production Number: 84010
Ark II Log: 36 & 37
Sector: 83 - Area: 16

The Ark II returns to War Lord Brack's territory in search of three abducted children. The youths possess paranormal powers of telepathy and telekinesis and distrust all "speakers" alike, including the crew of the Ark.

Personal Comment:
1] Notable Guest Star Malachi Throne who returns as Warlord Brack for his second and final appearance.
2] By putting the episodes into Ark II Log order we get our first continuity mix up, as this episode was shown after `The Flies', (starring Jonathan Harris and Malachi Throne); thus that is why Jonah and Brack recognise each other again. It would have been better to have the Ark II Log for `The Flies' as 36 & 37, while `The Mind Group', Ark II Log as 76 & 77, while `The Drought', (starring Jonathan Harris), Ark II Log would be 1444 & 1445, this would have made more sense. Naturally of course we could just ignore the Ark II log entries all together, as all three episodes are shown in production order.

Don Quixote
Production Number: 84020
Ark II Log: 38 & 39
Sector: N/A - Area: N/A

The crew of the Ark II whose efforts to disarm ancient explosives are complicated by a latter-day Don Quixote who is convinced the Ark is a giant white dragon and Jonah his nemesis the Black Knight.

Personal Comment:
1] Notable Guest Star Vito Scotti as Sancho Panza.
2] Out of all the episodes of this series there are two, I consider the most comical (with occasional stupidity thrown in), it is this episode and Robin Hood, (enough said).

Orkus
Production Number: 84021
Ark II Log: 41 & 42
Sector: 8 - Area: 13 & 14

Ruth and Adam suffer rapid advanced aging after exposure to gas from a lake polluted by Orkus, despot of a domed community of immortal elites who is also scheming to steal the Ark II to generate power for his dying city.

Personal Comment:
1] Notable Guest Star Geoffrey Lewis as Orkus.
2] One must always be careful what you desire, and immortality is one longing that man seems to crave; but as with anything there is a price to pay.
3] Orkus' enclosed village is the white amphitheatre use in the Planet of the Apes TV Series episode `The Gladiators'.
4] With this episode we come to the end of the series, and we end on a high note with a strong finish; all in all the series was a mixed bag of episodes on various levels.

The Balloon
Production Number: 84008
Ark II Log: 51 & 52
Sector: 14 - Area: 12

Red balloons bring word of an epidemic sweeping an isolated community, but its xenophobic leader is resistant to allowing the Ark II to enter with a vaccine.

Personal Comment:
1] Notable Guest Star is actor Guy Stockwell as The Leader.
2] In the world of tomorrow, there may well be isolated communities, who want to remain cut off from the rest of the world and or their surroundings. Because they want to be left alone to develop their own sense of security. But more often than not, depending on the situation, the isolated community will need outside help, as with the case in this episode when an epidemic is killing off its citizens.
3] Watch out for actor Del Monroe as the Masked Man, you may remember him from the TV Series `Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea as Kowalski.

The Cryogenic Man
Production Number: 84018
Ark II Log: 76? (67) & 68
Sector: 25 - Area: N/A

The Ark II crew unwittingly opens a Pandora's Box of pollution when they revive a 20th Century business tycoon determined to kick-start production of his trademark toxic chemical fertilizer.

Personal Comment:
1] Notable Guest Stars are Jim Backus (Gilligan's Island) as Arnie Pool & John Fiedler as Norman Funk.
2] As you may have noticed the first log entry does not coincide to the second log entry, (but the script does state that it is Log entry 67).
3] It's a pleasure to see Jim Backus in this light-hearted episode, doing what he does best, being Jim Backus.
4] On a serious side of things, we see in this episode what happens to people when they are awaken from cryo-sleep in the future (on their cryo-tubes both men were put to sleep in the year 1986). A culture shock awaits in many forms and trying to adapt to a different environment, from what people are use too. What will the world really be like in 500 years time-I shudder to think.
5] What a delight it is to awake in a world where money is worthless.

The Tank
Production Number: 84003
Ark II Log: 74 & 75
Sector: 18 - Area: 93

The Ark II comes upon a village that forbids machinery. Will they reconsider when a functional 20th-century battle tank could aid in the rescue of their leader's daughter, who was abducted by marauding scavengers?

Personal Comment:
1] Notable Guest Star is actor Marshall Thompson as Baxter.
2] In this episode we learn about the so-called evil of the machine, and through Baxter how it was the machine that made the world the way it is, thus banning the use of any machine to bring back some kind of purity towards survival with nature. In the end it was man...not machine that is/was evil in his use that brought man's demise from civilization.

The Drought
Production Number: 84013
Ark II Log: 76 & 77
Sector: 9 - Area: 42

During a devastating drought Fagan and his Flies return and hijack the Ark II in an attempt to secure a time capsule containing a cloud-seeding device. A primitive tribe that worships the time capsule has captured Ruth, Samuel and Adam.

Personal Comment:
1] Notable Guest Star Jonathan Harris who returns as Fagan for his second and final appearance.
2] By putting the episodes into Ark II Log order we get our second continuity mix up, as this episode was shown after `The Flies', (starring Jonathan Harris and Malachi Throne) and `The Mind Group', (starring Malachi Throne). It would have been better to have the Ark II Log for `The Flies' as 36 & 37, while `The Mind Group', Ark II Log as 76 & 77, while `The Drought', Ark II Log would be 1444 & 1445.
3] In this episode we get another glimpse at how human society has reverted back to pagan ways by worshiping artificial gods to appease their hardships.

Omega
Production Number: 84016
Ark II Log: 78 & 79
Sector: 49 - Area: 16

The Ark II encounters a community enslaved by a sentient super-computer housed in a black monolith. Samuel succumbs to the computer's control, jeopardizing Jonah's plan to deactivate it.

Personal Comment:
1] Notable Guest Stars are Harry Townes as Marcus & Helen Hunt as Diana, Marcus' grand-daughter.
2] This is another favourite episode of mine as a Super-Computer built in the 21st Century, known as `The Checkmate', takes over a small village upon its activation by the villagers.
3] With shades of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, having The Monolith and The Hal 9000 combined we get this new computer villain, but in the end it takes a chimpanzee to turn the Super-Computer off; and thus begin again anew-but this time for the good of humanity instead of against it.

The Robot
Production Number: 84015
Ark II Log: 93 & 94
Sector: 9 - Area: 14 & 15

After months of hard work Samuel creates a robot that could prove useful when exploring a sector permeated by a strange gas, but Jonah is unwilling to allow Alpha-One to assist and orders him deactivated, but Alphie has other ideas.

Personal Comment:
1] We come to one of my favourite episodes of this series, as Robby the Robot makes an appearance as Alpha One; it's great to see one of my favourite robots again, as Robby was introduced in the 1956's `Forbidden Planet'. Looking back on this series, I believe if Ark II had a second season, perhaps Robby would have made a great additional crew-member and thus more interesting stories could have been created because of it. This episode also has a fatal ending as Robby sacrifices himself to seal deadly gas in a fissure.
2] If you are quick to notice, there is a flying scene with the `Jet Jumper' and in the background you get a glimpse of the white amphitheatre use in the Planet of the Apes TV Series episode `The Gladiators'.
3] Also we can now understand how the scientists at their HQ can communicate with Ark II, as there is a scene to demonstrate this, thus this is how Ark II can travel to different locations to investigate any assignments it is given.

Robin Hood
Production Number: 84017
Ark II Log: 142 & 143
Sector: 25 - Area: N/A

When a tyrant hoards grain to create fuel while his people starve, a post-apocalyptic Robin Hood arises to right the wrong. The Ark II arrives hoping to mitigate the mayhem and mediate a peaceful solution.

Personal Comment:
1] Out of all the episodes of this series there are two, I consider the most comical (with occasional stupidity thrown in), it is this episode and Don Quixote; with that in mind just look at Lord Leslie's outfit, something out of D&D, (pretty bad).

The Wild Boy
Production Number: 84014
Ark II Log: 207 & 208
Sector: 14 - Area: 31

The crew of the Ark II steps in to protect a feral boy from angry villagers. Strange pulsating crystals unearthed by Jonah have a troubling side effect.

Personal Comment:
1] If there's one thing I'd like to try is the `Jet Jumper' Rocket Jet Pack, that is used throughout the series, boy it would be fun-and very expensive!
2] Having said the above, I'll take the Ark II as well; I'll have to build a bigger driveway now.

The Slaves
Production Number: 84005
Ark II Log: 405 & 406
Sector: 6 - Area: 64

Jonah is captured by Baron Vargas, a tyrant who uses magic to enslave his superstitious subjects. Ruth, Samuel and Adam must conjure up some scientific magic of their own to free their friend and break the Baron's spell.

Personal Comment:
1] In the opening prologue Jonah mentions Sector 6, but this may have been a partial number as he was cut off when captured.
2] In this episode, the world of the future, man has returned to slavery, to help him survive; or in this case-a single man by the name of Baron Vargas played by Michael Kermoyan. And to make sure he gets what he wants, he uses magic as an element of fear to keep his slaves in line. In the end Jonah uses his own particular magic via the Ark II, to librate the slaves so they can live free.

The Rule
Production Number: 84002
Ark II Log: 1441 & 1442
Sector: 16 - Area: 32

The Ark II comes upon a community in bondage to `The Rule', a merciless civil code that commands the elderly, disabled and sick be exiled from the village.

Personal Comment:
When civilized societies (define civilized societies) break down, new ones appear in the new world order of things; and interestingly people accept the new rules in order to survive and be fed. And those who do not conform or are no longer of use are cast out. But as we see in this episode, rules and feelings can change to better current circumstances and more importantly...ourselves.

The Flies
Production Number: 84001
Ark II Log: 1444 & 1445
Sector: 83 - Area: 12

A band of orphans led by Fagan, have found canisters of poison gas that they plan to use against the bullying War Lords. The Ark II crew must intervene to prevent mass murder.

Personal Comment:
1] Notable Guest Stars are Jonathan Harris (Lost in Space) as Fagan & Malachi Throne as Warlord Brack, in their first respective roles in this series.
2] By putting the episodes into Ark II Log order we get our third continuity mix up, as this episode was shown first before `The Mind Group', (starring Malachi Throne), and `The Drought', (starring Jonathan Harris). It would have been better to have the Ark II Log for `The Flies' as 36 & 37, while `The Mind Group', Ark II Log as 76 & 77, while `The Drought', Ark II Log would be 1444 & 1445.
3] Look closely at Brack's village and you will see in the background a familiar building; this building is from the `Planet of the Apes' TV series, thus this episode was filmed on the POTA Set which ended in production about 1 - 2 years ago when this episode was made.

The Lottery
Production Number: 84012
Ark II Log: 1481 & 1462? (1482)
Sector: N/A - Area: N/A

A tyrant employs a rigged lottery as a means of exiling those who threaten his power to an alternate dimension called the Forbidden Zone.

Personal Comment:
1] As you may have noticed the second log entry does not coincide to the first log entry, (and it is even in the script); thus it logically should have been 1482.
2] In this episode we learn the value of sharing, and man's thirst for water in his quest to find it; as again we see, if a person has control over a valuable resource, he or she is in control over others. It seems man's obsession for power is never ending, even in the 25th century.
3] Also of note is there is no Sector or Area location numbers for this episode.

- Series Recap -

So let's run through the above viewing order via the Ark II Logs', with some adjustments for good measure, plus I have added the some dates as well.

The Flies
Ark II Log: 36 & 37*
Sector: 83 - Area: 12
(18th January 2476)

Don Quixote
Ark II Log: 38 & 39
Sector: N/A - Area: N/A
(19th January 2476)

Orkus
Ark II Log: 41 & 42
Sector: 8 - Area: 13 & 14
(21st January 2476)

The Balloon
Ark II Log: 51 & 52
Sector: 14 - Area: 12
(26th January 2476)

The Cryogenic Man
Ark II Log: 67** & 68
Sector: 25 - Area: N/A
(3rd February 2476)

The Tank
Ark II Log: 74 & 75
Sector: 18 - Area: 93
(6th February 2476)

The Mind Group
Ark II Log: 76 & 77*
Sector: 83 - Area: 16
(7th February 2476)

Omega
Ark II Log: 78 & 79
Sector: 49 - Area: 16
(8th February 2476)

The Robot
Ark II Log: 93 & 94
Sector: 9 - Area: 14 & 15
(16th February 2476)

Robin Hood
Ark II Log: 142 & 143
Sector: 25 - Area: N/A
(11th March 2476)

The Wild Boy
Ark II Log: 207 & 208
Sector: 14 - Area: 31
(13th April 2476)

The Slaves
Ark II Log: 405 & 406
Sector: 6 - Area: 64
(20th - 21st July 2476)

The Rule
Ark II Log: 1441 & 1442
Sector: 16 - Area: 32
(21st December 2277)

The Drought
Ark II Log: 1444 & 1445*
Sector: 9 - Area: 42
(23rd December 2477)

The Lottery
Ark II Log: 1481 & 1482**
Sector: N/A - Area: N/A
(10th January 2278)

* Rearranged Ark II Log entries.
** The Corrected Ark II Log entry.

I have calculated the dates as it is assumed via the series that Jonah makes an average of two log entries a day; having said that, judging by The Lottery's Ark II Log, the Ark II has been travelling around the country for 741 days, i.e. 2 years and 10 days.

Now in calculating the dates I found that in order to fit the dates correctly, (well what I feel are correct), Jonah had to make 1 and or 3 Log entries per day in some cases. (The Slaves is a good example as this episode spanned 2 days and Jonah made 1 Log entry per day.

Although never mentioned within the series, The Ark II was set in the year 2476. This being the case, then the final date by the series end would be the 10th January 2478, if we started at the beginning of 2476; remembering that 2476 is a leap year, [366 (2476) + 365 (2477) + 10 (2478) = 741].

- The DVD Extras -

The DVD Set comes with 4 discs:

Disc 1: 4 Episodes (1-4) & Commentary Tracks on the episodes of `The Flies' and `The Slaves'.
Disc 2: 4 Episodes (5-8).
Disc 3: 4 Episodes (9-12).
Disc 4: 3 Episodes (13-15) & Ark II - 30 minute Documentary, Photo & Art Galleries, plus PDF versions of all 15 Ark II scripts via computer access.

- Pamphlet Episode Guide -

The DVD also comes with a fold-out pamphlet style `Episode Guide' for the series, this is good as it contains various information about the episodes and trivia with little single screen shots for each episode. Personally I would have preferred an 8 page booklet with the same layout and also having the type-face in larger print.

- Final Word -

I remember well back in the 70's watching this show plus other Filmation productions, it was great, it really takes me back. I highly recommend this series, plus another favourite of mine `The Secrets of Isis', that is also brilliant. The only thing I would have liked of course was more episodes, as the show was gradually getting better as the stories kept on improving, so there was still a lot the show had to offer and could have explored. It's sad now that we don't have Saturday morning shows like it was in the past, (if we do, it certainly is totally different) they were a lot of fun and even the cartoons were great as well.

Ark II was a great show, get it and experience your childhood memories or just for your collection, it was a show that had a lot of potential, that wasn't given a chance to expand the horizons of tomorrow.

Ark II - Log Entry: 2013 - Signing Off.

Thanks to the Ark II DVD Set and the pamphlet, Wikipedia and other Internet sources (basic story line episodes) for additional information.
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