Friday, July 01, 2016

Tarzan (Filmation): "Tarzan and the Vikings" (September 18, 1976)

The second episode of Filmation’s Tarzan (1976) is called “Tarzan and the Vikings” and in it, Tarzan and N’Kima unexpectedly see a Viking dragon ship sailing down a jungle river.

Tarzan saves the Viking crew, once it disembarks, from a black panther, but the Vikings are not impressed. They decide to take him back to their village as a slave.

In the village, Tarzan soon becomes involved in a local family issue. The leader Erik’s adult daughter, Karina, is betrothed to an insurrectionist named Torvalt, but is in love with a man named Bjorn. 

Bjorn wishes to be a law man, and so Karina’s father doesn’t respect him. He wants her to marry a warrior.  Tarzan reminds everyone that “courage comes in different shapes” and that “being able to fight does not mean you are a man.”

Threatened by Tarzan, Torvalt arranges at trap for him. Karina becomes trapped on a waterfall, and Tarzan goes to her rescue. Torvalt leaves Tarzan there, trapped, and tells everyone he is dead. 

But Bjorn comes to Tarzab;s rescue, and Tarzan is able to confront Torvalt and his lies. Erik comes to realize that heroes indeed can come in many forms.

This second episode of the animated Tarzan is not quite as engaging as the first, though the idea of a Viking culture taking root in an African jungle is a wonderful fantasy touch.  

During the course of the episode, Karina explains to Tarzan how a Viking ship was driven off course during a storm, because of Odin’s anger at the captain. The ship came ashore in the jungle, and a colony was formed. 

Other than that observation, it’s clear that this Tarzan series is mostly about Tarzan helping other people, and lecturing them, using his distinctive brand of wisdom to do so. There is not, at least so far, much going on in terms of Tarzan, his family, or background. 

Instead, each week he encounters fantastic kingdoms, and people in those kingdoms who need his help. That’s the formula.

Tarzan is portrayed in the series as a calm, fair individual. He never rises to take the bait when verbally abused by enemies.  He seems without ego. This i quite far from the image of a “wild man” that many hold of the character.

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