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Journey into the past. (Part two.)
on 22 October 2012
The second, and final, season of "LOTG" gives us another twenty-five adventures of the Spindrift's stranded group of seven travellers. (Plus pesky dog, though "she" is occasionally useful.) This volume is also of glorious quality, including more worthwhile bonus features. The episodes themselves? Probably not really of the first season's overall standard, but still very entertaining. The writers were having to cope with Heather Young's inconvenient real-life pregnancy, and Betty's participation during the first third is limited. She even goes completely AWOL, during the middle third, before a final flourish in the last third. Her fetching salmony pink outfit puts her on a more even footing with Deanna Lund.
The opening titles feature a total revamp from the comic booky first season's, into something rather more adult. The theme music, similarly, is completely new. (Although the original music is used for a couple of early episodes, presumably to ensure continuity.) The ladies have another costume change, as does Don Matheson. Gone is his waistcoat, to be replaced by a more casual brown jacket. Kurt Kasznar is promoted to "special guest star" status, as he continues to provide an effectively hammy comic relief. Stefan Arngrim is growing up before our very eyes. Meanwhile, Deanna Lund is possibly even foxier in this season. (Check the last costume change, from "Doomsday" onwards, where she positively smoulders in her yellow outfit.) Kevin Hagen returns, as Inspector Kobick, but only for a few episodes. Extremely regrettable, as he helped to make the first season really rather sinister.
The exploding console denouement seems a little too present in this season, along the lines of the weekly "rock and roll" moment in "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea", but there are still some very good episodes. "Chamber Of Fear", "The Mechanical Man", "Collector's Item", Six Hours To Live" and "The Clones" are all worthwhile. "Doomsday", with a ruthless, sexy Francine York, could be a first season episode. "The Marionettes", with lovely Victoria Vetri, gives Betty a chance to shine whilst Deanna Lund gets "Fay Wrayed" a couple of times. However, the real stand-out is "The Unsuspected". This is an extremely gripping episode and, for me, easily the best of the season. Duffers include "A Place Called Earth", where the "futuristic" mood is plain silly. (Like those episodes of "The Time Tunnel", dare i say it.) Also "Land Of The Lost", "Pay The Piper", "The Secret City Of Limbo" and "Graveyard Of Fools", which are ludicrously fanciful. "Home Sweet Home" is rather preposterous, harking back to "The Time Tunnel".
In the "guest star watch", viewers will notice limey Chris Cary ("Garrison's Gorillas"), Sam Elliot ("Mission: Impossible"), Jerry Douglas ("The Young And The Restless".... hahaha!), a hammy Nehemiah Persoff, Tom Nardini ("Cowboy In Africa"), Alan Hale ("Casey Jones"), John Zaremba and Whit Bissell (both "Time Tunnel".) Also a youngish Bruce Dern. There are even a couple of thespian pugilists, in the form of Sugar Ray Robinson and a lumbering, wooden Jerry Quarry. (A "great white hope", who acted like he boxed.) Neither, to quote the well-worn phrase, should have thought about quitting the day job.
Overall, i definitely prefer the darker mood of the first season. The second season makes the mistake of going way too far down a more fanciful route. I suppose it was about the series "raising its game", but it does not quite work as well. Perhaps a continuation of the first season's dark mood was deemed unsuitable. This season's music isn't quite as "edgy", in addition, which also disappointed me. Anyhow, it is still worthy of a recommendation.