Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Ark II: "The Wild Boy" (September 25, 1976)

This week on Filmation's post-apocalyptic Saturday morning TV series Ark II,  Captain Jonah (Terry Lester) and his crew conduct a geophysical survey in Sector 14, Area 31.  The mission is to discover “rare minerals.”  But before long, a primitive-appearing young human, Isaiah (Mitch Vogel), interferes with their work, and Jonah is nearly trapped in a dark cave.

Local villagers warn the Ark II team that Isaiah is dangerous and that they plan to “put him in a cage and take him out to the great desert.”  Rather than allowing this exile to happen, the crew attempts to befriend the wild boy.  Isaiah is welcomed aboard the Ark  II vehicle and taught how to operate the craft's systems.  However, when Isaiah spots the recently mined crystals, he grows violent and angry, and runs away.

Soon, Isaiah's reasons are all too clear.  The crystals release a dangerous gas that sucks up oxygen, making the Ark II crew suffer from lassitude and fatigue.   While Jonah and Ruth go off to find Isaiah, Samuel loses control of the Ark II, and Jonah must re-board it while the great vehicle is in motion.

Isaiah reveals that his parents died in the cave where the minerals were recovered, and now he fears both it and the crystal.  Understanding this, the villagers make peace with Isaiah and welcome him into the family.  Jonah, meanwhile, arranges for the cave with the dangerous minerals to be permanently sealed.

The twin lessons on Ark II this week are “trust and affection can accomplish more than fear,” and, no less important, even evolved, peaceful folks like Jonah and Ruth can “still learn from those who haven’t had,” the same level of education.

In less didactic terms, “The Wild Boy” is a cool episode of this 1970's Saturday morning TV series for a few reasons.  

The first is that this story provides for the closest thing to a car chase we  get on the program's roster.  Samuel loses control of the Ark II, and Jonah and Ruth must catch up in the Roamer and board the craft in motion.  This sequence is well-shot, and amps up the action quotient of the episode and the series considerably.

Secondly, and I know this probably seems minor, but this episode features a great aft-to-fore pan of the interior Ark II set.  It’s one thing to see the set in close-ups, or in establishing shots.  It’s quite another to track the whole set, and see the breadth and scope of it.  It’s really an impressive design, and so far as I can discern, this is a new shot.

Next Week: Robby guest stars in “The Robot.”


  1. John, nice review of "The Wild Boy". As a boy in '76, the exciting Roamer chase to board the the Ark II was as exciting as prime time television action. It reminded me of a western with a cowboy on horseback chasing a runaway wagon or stagecoach. The aft-to-fore pan of the interior Ark II set was extremely impressive for Filmation's production design was surpassing '70s Logan's Run series et. al.


  2. Great episode.



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