Saturday, March 15, 2014
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Land of the Lost (1991 - 1992): "Annie in Charge" (November 7, 1992)
In “Annie in Charge,” the Porters learn that termites are decimating the support logs for the family tree house. Kevin and Mr. Porter head into the jungle to get more wood, leaving Annie in charge on the home front.
Unfortunately, Kevin and Mr. Porter experience amnesia after being exposed to a future cyborg’s toxic nerve gas.
When the same cyborg captures Christa and drags her inside the craft, it’s up to Annie -- still in charge -- to save the day. Her only weapon is Tasha’s horrible singing voice…
“Annie in Charge” is that old TV standby, the amnesia story.
This familiar tale has been featured in many cult-television series including The Adventures of Superman (“Panic in the Sky”), Star Trek: The Next Generation (“Conundrum”) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (“Tabula Rasa.”)
In stories of this type, protagonists unexpectedly succumb to amnesia, forgetting their identities, and facing a crisis without benefit of personal experience.
In this case, Mr. Porter and Kevin don’t remember who they are, where they are, or even who Annie is. The episode resolves a bit anemically when the amnesia simply “passes” and everything is back to normal again. Not even a mallet to the skull is required, alas…
The other plot strand in this episode involves, as per the title, Annie, and her experience taking care of Tasha and Stink and rescuing Kevin and Mr. Porter. The episode starts out by showing Annie as a wee bit power hungry. “Chop, chop!” she shouts, acting the role of drill sergeant, as a drum riff is heard on the soundtrack.
But once real danger is in the offing, Annie devises a plan to outsmart the cyborg and rescue Christa, using Tasha as a (very loud…) distraction.
Although not as weak as some episodes of the new Land of the Lost (1991 – 1992), “Annie in Charge” raises more questions than it answers.
For instance, how did the Cyborg (first seen in “Future Boy”) manage to survive his plunge off a mountain top?
Secondly, if his spaceship is here – and we see it in this episode – then how come the Porters don’t try to commandeer it and escape? Wouldn’t they at least want to get inside?
Finally, “Annie in Charge” finishes up with no mention of the termite problem, or the effort to replace the tree house’s support logs. It’s as if the whole thing never happened.
Still, in total, this is a harmless if undistinguished segment.
Next week, things take a turn for the worse with: “Make My Day”
Jules Verne's Mysterious Island opens with images of a turbulent, unsettled ocean (over opening credits and a brilliant, bombast...