Monday, August 01, 2016

Cult-TV Theme Watch: The Sea

The sea is an expanse of salt water, which covers the earth’s surface, or some other planetary surface, theoretically.

The sea has been the primary setting of several cult-tv series over the decades.

Consider Irwin Allen’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-1968), a series about a high-tech submarine, The Seaview, which explores the Earth’s oceans. Although many episodes deal with Cold 

War scenarios and espionage, many episodes also contend with the Seaview’s encounters with giant monsters, and underwater civilizations.

Steven Spielberg’s SeaQuest DSV (1993-1996) is a veritable remake of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, one featuring another high-tech submarine and its underwater missions. 

In the future world of SeaQuest, the UEO (United Earth Oceans) patrols the ocean, brings supplies to undersea colonies, and excavates buried treasures like the Library of Alexandria. In the second season, following the pattern of Allen’s sixties series, more fanciful menaces are featured, including a giant crocodile, angry Greek Gods, and so forth.

In a Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-1974) episode, The U.S.S. Enterprise visits an ocean world, in the episode “The Ambergris Element,” and Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) are transformed into water-breathers.

And in Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001), a water planet or water world is encountered in the episode called “Thirty Days.” 

In Lost in Space (1965-1968), an early episode finds the Robinsons traversing an alien ocean in the chariot, in “The Hungry Sea.”

More terrestrial ocean-bound stories are featured on series such as Sea Hunt, starring Lloyd Bridge.  The series Lost (2004-2011) is set on an island in the middle of a sea or ocean.  Episodes such as “Adrift” involve (futile) attempts to escape the island by water route, using a raft.

Gerry Anderson’s UFO (1970) features a submarine/plane combo that launches from the sea, called “Skydiver,” and one episode – “Reflections in the Water” – features an alien base at the bottom of the ocean.  Another story, “Sub Smash” sees Skydiver plummet to the ocean floor, and Commander Straker (Ed Bishop) battle his claustrophobia.

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