Although it aired during America’s optimistic bicentennial year, was set in the new Dark Ages of 25th century, and focused on a large, impressive, high-tech tank-like vehicle, the Ark II, which traversed the wasteland in order to aid the survivors of an environmental disaster.
In a hold-over from the popular youth movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ark II’s crew is described in each week’s opening narration as a “highly trained crew of young people.”
After capturing Jonah, Fagan takes the poison gas cylinders (and a gas mask to protect himself), and heads to the HQ of a local warlord Brack (Malachi Throne), who lives in the “ TV series and films. Fagan believes he has found “ ,” and attempts to wrest control of the warlords from Brack. Brack beats Fagan at his own game, however, and captures the Flies, forcing Fagan to forfeit his leadership,” actually the Ape City set from the live-action
One can see how this design influenced later outings, including The Motion Picture (1979). Also the exterior, post-apocalyptic set design is kind of interesting: a mix of the Old West, Vikings, and the aforementioned . Interestingly, Ark II presages the barbarity and chaos of (1981) on a TV budget and within TV restrictions.
The Ark II itself, built by the Brubaker Group, remains a remarkable piece of hardware, a life-size, operational vehicle. It looks thoroughly convincing….especially in motion. In the series, this high tech truck is equipped with a protective force field. The Ark II also billets a smaller exploratory vehicle, the fast-moving roamer.
Given this impressive CV, it’s odd that, by 1976, Post was helming Saturday morning television. He does a good job handling the actors and action in “The Flies,” and of introducing all of the various tech, from the Ark itself, to the roamer, to Jonah’s rocket pack (which looks identical to one used on Lost in Space years earlier.)