Saturday, November 01, 2014
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Godzilla: "The Time Dragons"
In “The Time Dragons,” the Calico detects a nuclear satellite falling from orbit on a collision course with the ship. Godzilla is summoned, but when he catches the falling object, the exploding uranium causes both the giant monster and the Calico to travel back in time, to a prehistoric epoch.
In this prehistoric age, the area is geologically unstable, and the Calico crews help save a tribe of cave-men from local threats including a tar pit, flooding, and a diplodocus. Peter, meanwhile, is nearly dinner for a carnivorous plant.
Godzilla and the Calico eventually make it back to the present -- to the moment immediately prior to the satellite’s fall from the sky -- but something else has come along to the present with them: a giant, combative dinosaur.'
The season finale of Hanna Barbera’s Godzilla (1978) is a fine note to go out on, one that -- like the best episodes of the series (“Colossus of Atlantis”) -- is crowded with ideas, and not just giant monster fights.
Here, a time travel story is pretty compelling, even if some key issues are side-stepped. For instance, if the Calico emerges from the time warp before the point it left, shouldn’t there be two such vessels now?
Similarly, none of the characters enunciate much concern that by saving the cave-men of the region, the crew is actually altering their own time-line, and the shape of the future. Perhaps that tribe was selected (by nature) to become extinct.
In short, no one stops to weigh their actions, or consider the idea that an act in the past (like the killing of a man-eating plant) could have repercussions for the timeline’s future.
Finally, it’s also a shame that there is no discussion of Godzilla that relates him to prehistory, presumably the age in which his species thrived. Would Godzilla feel more at home in this epoch, an age of giant creatures? Perhaps…
The crew never once voices the obvious idea that Godzilla has come home, and that, for his own good and happiness, perhaps should remain in this home.
Still, “The Time Dragon’s” book-end structure makes for some fun moments, with the meteor appearing at the episode’s beginning (to hurl the Calico and Godzilla back in time) and at the episode’s end, to hurl his dinosaur opponent back instead.
Sadly, “The Time Dragon” is the last commercially available episode of the 1978 Godzilla, so starting next week I’ll be reviewing a different series instead. I must admit, I really like this program and its occasional high-concept lunacy. If the second season should become available, I’ll continue blogging the Hanna Barbera series from that point.
Next week, I begin blogging Korg, 70,000 BC, a live-action Hanna-Barbera series from the mid-1970s.