Saturday, May 30, 2015
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Valley of the Dinosaurs: "Pteranodon" (October 12, 1974)
Kim, matriarch of the Butler family, suddenly falls ill during the Season of the Winds. She runs a high fever and suffers from extreme lassitude. Gara, matriarch of the cave family, believes she can help. She knows how to cure the illness -- which threatens to be contagious -- but needs some rare ingredients for her remedy.
Accordingly, Gara sends Gorak and Mr. Butler off to collect a turtle egg. Lok and Katie, meanwhile, must collect pteranodon eggs. The prehistoric family knows the pteronodons as “Ardock,” and is aware that procuring the resource won’t be easy. The plan is to make a “giant vitamin” that can heal anyone who gets sick.
Predictably, the pteranodons don’t wish to have their eggs taken, and chase Lok and Katie to remote Animal Island.
Meanwhile, Mr. Butler and Gorok come across a dinosaur boneyard during their quest, and Gara must grapple with a giant turtle.
This episode of Valley of the Dinosaurs (1974), “Pteranodon,” is a decent one in part because it doesn’t feature, simply, the men solving the crisis-of-the-week. Here, the female characters are prominent, particularly Gara. She makes the medicine to save Kim, and also, in the denouement, battles the aforementioned turtle.
Thus far, the series has focused a great deal on Gorak and his exploits, so it is nice to see Gara get her share of the action, and character development too. It’s also rewarding that the episode reveals she is both smart and knowledgeable (developing the remedy), and strong and brave (defeating the turtle).
The most tiresome aspect of the episode involves the jokes Katie tells. She keeps making wise cracks about dinosaurs or prehistoric animals being ugly. It’s a one-note kind of thing, and not very funny. I’m sure we look absolutely gorgeous to the dinosaurs, right? I get the idea is that Katie is supposed to have a wicked sense of humor, but the jokes aren’t varied, and don’t stick the landing. Her running commentary very quickly becomes old hat.
Still, “Pteranodon” is an entertaining episode, and one that deepens the characters. We feel concern for Kim, who faints and falls ill, and respect for Gara, as she treats her friend.