Monday, August 11, 2014
Cult-TV Theme Watch: The Beach
The beach is…the place where I am at this very moment. I’m building sand castles with Joel, and having Godzilla adventures in the surf with him.
But seriously, the beach is a stretch of land along the shore-line of an ocean, a place of sand, sea-weed, swimmers, and other revelers. It smells of salt and sun-tan lotion.
The beach is a locale that has appeared quite frequently throughout cult-television history, and often represents a kind of natural innocence or paradise.
In Star Trek (1966 – 1969) the episode “The Naked Time” Captain Kirk (William Shatner) didn’t get to visit a beach, but – when under the influence of a virus that worked like alcohol intoxication – lamented the fact that as captain of the Enterprise he had “no beach to walk on.”
Everyone needs a beach to walk on.
In the Batman (1966 – 1968) third season episode “Surf’s Up! Joker’s Under!,” The clown prince of crime (Cesar Romero) captures a popular surfer, Skip Parker, and absorbs his abilities using a “transfer-o-meter.” He does this in hopes of becoming winning a surf contest and becoming famous, but Batman (Adam West) hits the beach to challenge him in the competition.
An early episode of Ghost Story/Circle of Fear (1972 - 1973) called "The Concrete Captain" was set largely on the beach, and featured Gena Rowlands as a woman in danger of becoming possessed by a ghost.
The Man from Atlantis (1976) -- a series about a man from the sea, frequently showcased scenes at the beach, including Mark Harris's (Patrick Duffy) first rescue from the deep.
A Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 – 1994) third season episode, “Booby Trap” sees Geordi La Forge take a date, Christy (Julie Warner) to a beach program on the Enterprise holodeck…but it doesn’t go well.
In the Land of the Lost (1991 – 1992) episode “Life’s a Beach,” the Porter family and Christa spend the day at the beach, unaware that dangerous sea life lurks in the surf, and that a siren (Marta Du Bois) could cause problems.
An episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993 – 1999), “Let He Who is Without Sin” is set on the pleasure planet of Rysa, a world renowned for its beautiful beaches.
In The X-Files (1993 – 2002) continuity, a derelict alien space craft of ancient origin is discovered on the beach in Cote d’Ivoire, and its presence seems to confirm the theory of panspermia: that life here began out there.
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 - 2003), the fifth season opener, "Buffy vs. Dracula" features a scene on the beach with the Scooby Gang.
Finally, in Lost (2004 – 2011), Oceanic Flight 815 crashes on a deserted island, on the beach. Many ensuing episodes of the series find the survivors camped out on the beach, especially since inland an unseen monster roars and shakes tree-tops.