Planet of the Apes (TV series, 1974, USA) C-50m. (14 episodes) n/r D: Jack Starrett, Bernard McEveety, Arnold Laven et al. Starring Roddy McDowall, Ron Harper, James Naughton, Mark Lenard, Ron Stein, Booth Colman. Interesting continuation of the science-fiction franchise as a television series, using the same sets and special effects. Lalo Schifrin's bizarre score is also retained. (1) Escape from Tomorrow - McDowall plays intelligent chimp Galen (not the Cornelius/Caesar he played in the movies), who is sent to investigate by Zaius (from the originals) when two astronauts crashland on the planet. At the beginning they are helped by a friendly human but later must fend for themselves. (2) The Gladiators The two astronauts flee with Galen to a nearby community of apes, are captured and turned into gladiators. Mild intermezzo. (3) The Trap The astronauts flee from the Gorillas into an abandoned town, where an earthquake opens up the earth, and Naughton and a gorilla are trapped in an old subway station. They have to help each other to survive. Fairly good. (4) The Good Seed On their continued flight from the gorillas the astronauts and Galen find shelter on a farm of Chimps. They help them with the farmwork and a pregnant cow. As uninteresting as it sounds. (5) The Legacy D: Richard McEveety. Back in a crumbling urban landscape the astronauts find a machine that produces a holographic message. One of the astronauts gets captured. (6) Tomorrow's Tide (7) The Surgeon (8) The Deception (9) The Horse Race (10) The Interrogation (11) The Tyrant (12) The Cure (13) The Liberators (14) Up Above the World So High: From episode 6 onwards, the adventures more or less resemble each other. The astronauts (more like rural missionaries by now) help communities of apes, keep running from gorillas and bond with other humans. None of the episodes live up to the first few episodes. Nothing new. Biggest flaw may be the unconvincing lead actors, especially Naughton looks as if he just didn't care. It's easy to see why this was cancelled after only 14 episodes. Followed by an animated TV series.

© Ron Altman