Saturday, February 07, 2015

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: The Secrets of Isis: "The Sound of Silence."

In “The Sound of Silence,” Andrea Thomas (Joanna Cameron) develops a force field generator at the high school, only to see it stolen by a student named Bill, who is disappointed that he lost a science contest and now won’t have the money to purchase a new car.

Bill goes to a local crook named Evans and tries to sell him the stolen goods, hoping to get the money he needs.

Soon, Isis intervenes to recover the force field generator, and help set Bill’s moral compass back on track...

For a change, there’s actually some real sci-fi underlying an episode of The Secrets of Isis. In “The Sound of Silence,” Mrs. Thomas makes a force field generator that runs on uranium pellets (and therefore emits a small amount of radiation), but which can repel objects. We see her test the object, as Bill throws a tennis ball at her, and the force field kicks it back.

This sci-fi device is the key object of the episode, though the rest of the narrative covers familiar ground for the series: a teenager’s moral dilemma. In this case, Billy must decide if he wants to live a life of crime, or stay on the straight and narrow path.  He chooses wisely (this is a kid’s show…) and the mobsters are apprehended.

Isis displays some unique abilities in “The Sound of Silence.” She causes a lightning strike. The lightning hits and downs a tree, blocking criminal egress on a road. 

Later, it gets even weirder. Isis materializes a circle of trees around Evans and his muscle, Jocko, trapping them in a prison cell of sorts.  

Isis also proves, in the episode’s final moment that she is not affected by the force field generator.  In other words, Isis is immune to the natural faces that control the rest of us.  That’s pretty amazing, and it makes Bill’s choice -- to cooperate with the superhero -- seem all the wiser.

The sense of crisis in this episode emerges over the theft of the force-field which emits non-lethal amounts of radiation.  However, if someone is too close to the reactor for too long, they could be harmed.  So Isis must find Bill, and get the force field out of his possession before it is too late.  

Much like Filmation's Shazam, Isis is a woefully simple, straight-forward series, and the narratives don’t feature too much depth.  Even in light of these drawbacks, “The Sound of Silence” is a strong and watchable episode, in part because the force-field device adds a sense of both invention and urgency to the proceedings.

Next week: “Rockhound’s Roost.” 

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