Saturday, May 11, 2013
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Shazam: "The Doom Buggy" (November 2, 1994)
This episode of the Filmation live-action Saturday morning series Shazam (1974 – 1977) is titled “The Doom Buggy,” and frankly, that’s a bit of a melodramatic title for such a pedestrian adventure.
In “The Doom Buggy,” a boy named Don decides to drop out of school, over the protests of his friend, Cathy (Lisa Eilbacher). Don thinks he doesn’t need an education, and already has the skills to be a great mechanic. He’s made up his mind and can’t be swayed.
Then, while driving in his dune buggy in the desert, Don has an accident and damages Mentor’s RV. The parts that Don needs to repair the RV are an hour away, but the young man proposes a short-cut and takes Billy Batson (Michael Gray) through a span of rough desert terrain called “Perdition Flats.”
The Elders have already told Billy that “Each of us, in his own way, is a teacher,” and so when Don’s dune buggy experiences difficulties in the harsh desert, Billy showcases his knowledge.
When the buggy becomes lost, for instance, Billy shows Don how to create a makeshift compass in the sand, using a stick and sunlight. The Elders had already prepared him for this eventuality too, informing him that a “dark shadow will show you the light.”
And then when a fire erupts in a nearby mineshaft, Billy -- as Captain Marvel -- uses an underground spring to put out the conflagration.
At the end of this harrowing adventure, Don decides not to drop out from school…and to continue his education instead. The episode ends with Mentor, Don, Cathy and Billy still lost in the desert, at least until they notice that Captain Marvel has written an arrow in the sky, next to the word “Exit.”
Speaking of exits, this week’s Shazam entry represents my last blog post on this particular Saturday morning series. I’ve watched and reviewed ten episodes of Shazam so far... and I’ll be honest about it: Outside of the nostalgia value, the series just isn’t particularly interesting. The stories are repetitive, preachy, and distinctly lacking in much by way of super-heroics. I’m finding it hard to write 300 words about each episode, and that’s a sure sign that it’s time to move on. I don't want to keep writing about the series, and start resorting to snark about it.
Or perhaps I should write, more charitably, that Shazam just isn’t as interesting as Ark II, Land of the Lost, or even Jason of Star Command. If you’ve seen one or two Shazam episodes, you’ve essentially seen them all.
So next Saturday, I start blogging Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973 – 1974), also from Filmation. I suspect there’s a lot more to write about there…