Saturday, June 04, 2016
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Flash Gordon: "Witch Woman" / "Micro Menace" (October 9, 1982)
In “Witch Woman,” Arboria is attacked by a monster called “Lobos.” This wolf monster -- one of Ming’s creations -- is worshiped as a God by Liza, Queen of the Lizard people.
In “Micro Menace,” the city of the Hawk-men is falling out of the sky and must be repaired.
It can be fixed only with a device invented by Dr. Zarkov called a “reverser,” but matters are not so simple.
Ming uses a shrink ray on Flash, Dale, Thun and Gremlin. Now they must work with a race of intelligent mouse/rat people to undo the shrink ray and save the city.
This week, we get two further rather undistinguished episodes of Flash Gordon (1979-1982). The second season format is really a downgrade from the serialized season one. And because there are two episodes per half-hour, the narratives feel simplistic and half-thought-out. The episodes are mostly mindless action and dopey comedic hijinks from Gremlin.
Surprisingly, “Witch Woman” features some nice moments involving Princess Aura. We see her checking security precautions in Arboria, and grappling with the Lobos without assistance from Flash or Barin.
It's nice to see that she is depicted here as capable and strong. It’s just too bad that for every good moment with Aura (one of the series’ most intriguing characters, given her arc…) we are also treated to moments with Gremlin doing magic tricks or juggling plates too.
“Micro Menace” brings back the Hawkmen, though they have almost nothing of interest to do in the story.
Instead, we get a story that feels like it came straight from Irwin Allen’s Land of the Giants (1968-1969). The episode strains our suspension of disbelief since Flash and Dale already have everything they need -- namely the reverser -- to escape all their predicaments.
At the end of the story, one character makes the pronouncement “may your cheese never go stale” (vis-à-vis the rat people…).
These stories are evidence, perhaps, that Flash Gordon, season two, has gone pretty stale indeed.
Next week: “Flash Back,” and “The Warrior”
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