Land of the Lost (1974 franchise)

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Holly, Rick, Enik the Altrusian, and Will...

Summary

Rick Marshall, Will, and Holly, on a routine expedition, met the greatest earthquake ever known: high on the rapids, it struck their tiny raft, and plunged them down a thousand feet below - to the Land of the Lost....

Details

  • Release Date: 1974-1977; 1991-1992 (reboot); 2009 (parody film)
  • Country/Language: US, English
  • Genres/Technical: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure; Comedy/parody (film)
  • Setting: the Land of the Lost (compare to the Dreamlands and Hollow Earth)
  • Runtime: (original series was formatted for a half-hour commercial television slots)
  • Starring: Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman, Spencer Milligan, Phillip Paley
  • Creators: Allan Foshko, Marty Krofft, Sid Krofft
  • Writer: contributions in first two seasons from Theodore Sturgeon, Larry Niven, and others
  • Producer/Production Co: Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions
  • View Trailer: (link)
  • TVTropes: (link)
  • IMDB Page: (link)
  • Wikipedia Page (1974 Series): (link)
  • Wikipedia Page (1991 Series): (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: G (family-friendly)

The original 1974 series was generally family-friendly. The 1991 series revival would the the 1990s equivalent; the 2009 parody film added mild adult content and profanity, however.

The series does not write down very much to children: in spite of the creative but infamously cheap special effects and the kid-friendly format, the writing for the first two 1970s seasons was of surprisingly high quality, written by well-respected science fiction authors. For example, the series attempted to maintain an internal consistency for character development and for its pseudo-science. Also, the series creators worked closely with linguists to construct the Pakuni language spoken by Cha-Ka, and except for the Pakuni, Sleestaks, Altrusians, and other intelligent characters, the monsters were carefully researched to look and behave as much like real dinosaurs as the current science and the kid-friendly format would allow (though they might be treated a bit like pets or mascots by the Marshalls, herbivore dinosaurs ate plants, did not attack the family, and mostly stayed away from the Marshalls....)


Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • Ss___ (One and a Half Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; vaguely similar in tone)

Though the family-friendly franchise lacks the menace associated with Lovecraft's work, the series does hover pretty close to the same territory, with the mysterious portals to an alien "pocket universe" world outside of time and space, the bizarre ancient ruins and lost and decaying weather- and time- and planet-control technologies scattered across the landscape, the Sleestak Serpent Men with their mysterious Sleestak god, the sufficiently-advanced Altrusian civilization desperately trying to avoid an inevitable fall into savagery, lost civilizations, ancient astronauts, etc.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • (review needed)


Synopsis (SPOILERS)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

During a sudden earthquake on vacation, the Marshall family falls through a strange portal into what at first seems like a Hollow Earth paradise full of dinosaurs, and technologies imported from various times and places, and is later revealed to be a small, engineered "pocket universe" controlled by strange technology found abandoned around a world also populated by strange and alien beings. At the end of the first season in the episode "Circle", the Marshall family leave the Land of the Lost, only for their past selves to arrive after their departure, duplicates from an alternate timeline. The controversial third and final season saw heavy executive meddling, including a decline in the quality of writing and a dramatic break in the consistency detail and characterization, as well as a dispute over marketing tie-ins that led to the departure of the actor playing father "Rick Marshall" and the introduction of "Uncle Jack" to replace him between seasons. The not-as-well-received 1990s revival of the series introduced the Porter family who fell through a similar portal into the Land of the Lost, where they encountered a wild girl that was apparently originally intended to be Holly from the original series, but never developed in that direction. The poorly-received 2009 film is a complete reboot from the franchise with a slapstick comedic tone which tells much of the basic story of the original 1970s series, but with alterations to the original characters and the introduction of adult humor; it is probably best regarded as an out-of-continuity parody.


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

Associated Mythos Elements

  • TO DO
  • location: Land of the Lost, a pocket-universe set in a primeval wilderness dotted with strange alien ruins and objects that have fallen into the Land of the Lost from various times and places; compare to Hollow Earth and Dreamlands; the Land of the Lost was apparently manufactured by a (presumably humanoid) precursor race with highly-advanced alien technology
  • race: Sleestaks
  • race: Altrusians, a civilized version of the Sleestaks who both arose from and descended from the savagery of the Sleestaks; the Altrusians exist in a different timeline in either the distant past or distant future (or both), and communicate through a time/space portal
  • race: Pakuni, a friendly race of hairy humanoids (compare to Gnophkehs and Voormis)
  • deity: "Sleestak god" - compare to Tsathoggua or Shub-Niggurath
  • race: The Zarn, an extra-dimensional, translucent, glowing, psychic alien from a crashed translucent spacecraft
  • artifacts: "Pylons" (a number of ground-based shelters containing stone- and crystal-based technology that controls weather, terrain, climate, time, and space in the Land of the Lost), and "Skylons" (the air-based equivalent)

Keeper Notes

  • The basic premise is sound for a Call of Cthulhu campaign; just substitute pre-human Valusia, the Dreamlands, one of the caverns of the Lovecraftian Hollow Earth, or some similar Lovecraftian location for the Land of the Lost, trade in the dinosaurs for tentacle monsters, stock the place with a sufficient quantity of mysteries about the world to solve and clues to solve them with, stir in some conflict, and you're set to go with an exploration/investigation game involving an entire world....