Tuesday, November 01, 2005

CULT TV BLOGGING: Logan's Run: "The Innocent"

"If there's one thing I don't pretend to understand, it's the human mind," declares our friendly neighborhood android, REM (Donald Moffat) in this, the fifth episode of the short-lived CBS Logan's Run TV series from 1977. It's an interesting line from an interesting character, and this Metallic Mr. Spock has fast become the series' most valuable player. Logan and Jessica remain rather uncharismatic and bland - but REM - now he's cool.

"The Innocent" finds our intrepid heroes seeking to escape the Hapless Pursuer, Francis (Randy Powell), who is haplessly pursuing Logan and Jessica's solar craft with a Sandman ground car. Why the City of Domes - a hermetically-sealed metropolis steadfastly ignoring the existence of "outside" - would need to produce ground cars in the first place is a question we won't ask.

Anyway, Logan drives the solar craft into an "energy mine" field and discovers a a heavily guarded bunker behind a forcefield. Upon investigation, Logan, Jessica and REM find the facility (a pre-nuclear war test center for people with psychokinetic powers...) run by two servile robots, Nanny and Friend (Gene Tyburn) . These two (really lame-looking...) machines care for a lonely adolescent girl named Lisa (Lisa Eilbacher). She's lived there in that underground bunker all her life, and following the death of her father, has been all alone. But now she's an adolescent and suffering from pangs of love for the handsome Logan. She quickly determines that Jessica is an impediment and - like Anthony in The Twilight Zone's "It's a Good Life" - wishes Jessica away to a kind of limbo.

Besides featuring two of the goofiest robot designs you've ever seen, "The Innocents" is also a none-too-subtle re-do of the Star Trek episode "Charlie X," in which a lonely teenager has trouble adjusting to life on the Enterprise, forms a "crush" on Yeoman Rand, and is ultimately lectured to by Captain Kirk. This isn't a terrible Logan's Run episode, but nor is it a high point either. The best two installments so far are still the pilot and "Man Out of Time."

My problem with Logan's Run (the TV series) is simply that it is accomplished so cheaply...and that seems to limit the imagination of the series writers. Obviously, the creators of this TV program couldn't afford to create believable societies for Logan, Jessica and REM to encounter each week, so instead, the plan seemed to involve having them accidnetally happen upon laboratories, hospitals ("Fear Factor"), dream clinics ("Futurepast") and other unlikely mini-settlements.

This idea just doesn't really work for me. In my post-apocalyptic worlds, I want to see the societies that have been built from the ashes, not discover tiny enclaves with one guest star. Besides, hunters with a fully-powered house ("The Collector") and the like just raise too many questions. Where do they get power? How do they sustain it? Fortunately, "The Innocent" provides a nice easy answer to these questions: Lisa powers the whole facility with her psionic abilities. Oh, okay.

Like many episodes of Logan's Run so far, "The Innocent" is okay but not great. It feels like it would be more at home on The Fantastic Journey than here. I'll have to blog that series some day soon...

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