Saturday, March 04, 2006

SATURDAY MORNING CULT TV BLOGGING: Land of the Lost: "The Sleestak God"

In our second installment of the 1974-1976 Sid and Marty Krofft live-action Saturday morning TV series, Land of the Lost, the stranded Marshall family is introduced - a bit unwillingly - to the other race of "people" inhabiting this unusual pocket universe: the fearsome Sleestak.

"The Sleestak God" opens with Holly and Will being tasked by their Dad, Rick Marshall, to get a refill from the nearby watering hole. The watering jug we saw last week ("Cha-Ka") has miraculously reproduced, and now the Marshalls have two of them. Anyway, Will and Holly head off across a bridge over a chasm (and Cha-Ka follows them...) as they find an amazing forgotten city carved into the side of an imposing mountain. Our first view of the city and the ancient temple dominating it is a nice, long, revealing pan left across the grounds (and it's actually a highly-detailed miniature)
. Before long, however, Holly and Will get chased by the guardian of the campus, an allosaurus they name "Big Alice."

On one wall near the city is scrawled in chalk the warning: BEWARE OF SLEESTAK. Since the message is written in English, this is our first inkling that other humans have before been trapped in the Land of the Lost.

When Will and Holly are captured by the hissing, reptilian Sleestak (who also adorn cross-bows as side-arms), Cha-Ka brings Rick Marshall to the temple. But will they arrive in time to save the kids from from being a sacrifice to the hungry, bellowing (and unseen...) Sleestak God that inhabits a misty pit?

Anyway, that's the plot of this second episode, written by David Gerrold and directed by Dennis Steinmetz. Since this is only the second episode of the series, it's clear that many of the concepts and people on the show are still being developed, and other than the dinosaurs, the Sleestaks may be the most important component. We don't know it yet, but they have a fascinating history (and future?) My only problem in this installment is that the Sleestak are supposed to be cave dwellers who can't stand light (and can be fought with the only weapon the Marshals have: fire!). However, three Sleestak attack Will and Holly outside the city in broad daylight, which seems odd and inconsistent.

This week also provides the first glimpse of another Land of the Lost native, the Triceratops named Spike. And we get more of Cha-Ka's language. "Osu" is the Paku word for water.

On the Gilligan's Island list of devices and instruments made by the Marshalls to make their stay in the Land of the Lost more "civilized," we see in "The Sleestak God" that Marshall has fashioned a basket out of twigs, and that Holly has built a broom out of straw (so she can do housework in the cave!) Finally, each of the Marshalls is now also wearing a small square mirror around their necks (where did they get these?) They can communicate using the mirrors - across vast distances - in Morse Cod, as Will and Rick do in this episode. Convenient that they should all know Morse Code, though, isn't it?

As for the geography of the Land of the Lost, this is the first episode in which viewers see the ravine separating High Bluff (and Grumpy's territory) from the Sleestak City (and Big Alice's territory).

Next week, we meet another (more friendly) denizen of The Land of the Lost in "Dopey."

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:04 PM