Five Things – 02.8.16 – What Is Planet…Planetearth?

1. The Starlost

This is pretty great.  A 1973 Sci-Fi series created by Harlan Ellison, The Starlost has a fun premise and a lot of promise.  Unfortunately, it fell pretty far from its original intentions and we’re left with a 16-episode glimmer of what might have been.


The Starlost follows Devon, a young man raised in a farming community who questions the truths he’s been taught.

Cypress Corner

He discovers that the leader of their community is faking the voice of their God, and when he tries to expose him is forced to escape.  With the help of one of the older residents of the community, he’s shown a tunnel through which to flee.


The tunnel turns out to be an industrial hallway, with technology that borders on magical.



Devon comes across a computer that looks like one of Dana Carvey’s characters from The Master of Disguise, and he learns the real scoop: his community is one of several biospheres aboard an ark which departed a dying Earth 500 years ago.  There was an accident 100 years into the voyage, and the ark got off course and became lost.  For the past 400 years the ark has been on a collision course with a sun, and Devon learns that someone needs to go to the bridge to correct the problem.


Computer 2 He returns to his community to tell them what he’s seen, but is immediately gagged and imprisoned.  He escapes with the help of his friend and takes his girlfriend who is engaged to his friend who helped him escape (it’s complicated) back into the belly of the ship.  The friend follows them to bring his fiancee back, and the trio comes together at the bridge to find the crew long dead.


Bridge 2

The bridge empty, the entire future of humanity on a collision course with a star, and a host of unique environments attached to the ship to explore and search for clues.  Pretty great setup for a series, right? Well, here’s the thing: the show is slow. Really slow.  They started with a new approach to filming, a way of matching an actor’s movements on a bluescreen with simultaneous camera-tracking on a model set, but that didn’t pan out.  As a result, the bluescreen technology that is there is pretty obvious.  There are good design ides, but poor implementation – the result of the original camera technique falling through as well as other budget cuts.  Ellison went on record as citing budget cuts as the reason his original story was dumbed down for the series.  Bit by bit, it added up to a less-than-ideal show.

But it still has charm. See for yourself.


2. Interceptor

From the same folks who made The Crystal TowerInterceptor was a 1989 game show that takes two contestant, gives them two locked briefcases, blindfolds them, sends them to remote locations via helicopter, and tasks them with finding the keys to each others briefcases and meeting up to unlock them.  Also there’s someone chasing them the entire time: The Interceptor.

One of the two briefcases contained $1000; the other contained weights.  Each briefcase had five infrared targets on them, and the Interceptor had twenty ‘bullets’ that he could use to take the targets out.  If they were all taken out, the case couldn’t be opened.

Here’s an episode.


3. Space Puppets

A beautiful ad for some spacey hand puppets…

Space Puppets


4.  Weebles Commercial

…and a beautiful commercial from the 1970s for those weirdly compelling Weebles dolls.


5. Nerds Plushes

I have to admit, I spent a lot of time as a kid convincing myself that the sugar nuggets inside of the Nerds boxes did resemble the characters on the outside.

Nerds Plushes