Monday, April 03, 2017

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Telescopes

A telescope is an optical device that makes distant objects appear closer because of the arrangement of the instrument's lenses.

Telescopes are also all about one thing: looking at the night sky and dreaming about what’s out there, in the dark, in the galaxy beyond.

Telescopes have appeared frequently in cult-TV history.

For example in the Irwin Allen series Lost in Space (1965-1968), one episode, “The Girl in the Green Dimension,” involves a telescope at the Robinson camp, which can see into the future.

The Space: 1999 (1975-1977) episode “Another Time, Another Place” also prominently features a telescope. 

On a duplicate of Earth, Commander Koenig (Martin Landau) finds a settlement of Alphans, including a duplicate Victor Bergman (Barry Morse). Victor, who keeps a telescope, has already determined that another moon has entered Earth’s orbit, and that information troubles him…at least until Koenig reveals himself.

One of the greatest episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) is “The Inner Light,” which finds Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) living an alternate life on a planet doomed by climate change. At one point, he constructs a telescope, but in this case, the device is only a reminder of the stars that will never be achieved, for the population of the planet will die.

A telescope is also a regular feature in the Kent’s barn in Smallville (2001-2011). Clark (Tom Welling) looks through the telescope not only at the stars (where his distant home once existed…), but at the home of his love, Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk).

The new Doctor Who (2005 - ) has also featured telescopes on more than one occasion.  "Tooth and Claw" is one such example.  Later, the TARDIS seems to be equipped with a telescope and planetarium ("Journey to the Center of the TARDIS.")

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