Retro Sci Fi TV: Land of the Giants (1968)

By | August 25, 2018

A look at shows from the past that may not have stood the test of time and/or that are relegated to their era, but many of us still have fond memories of them.

What Is It? In this late 60’s Irwin Allen entry, a sub-orbital shuttle passes through a dimension portal that transports seven Earth-people to another planet where the human-like inhabitants are twelve times their size.




Aired: ABC, 1968-70, 2 Seasons Totaling 51 Episodes

Starring: Gary Conway, Don Matheson, Deanna Lund, Heather Young, Don Marshall

Created By: Irwin Allen

Is It Must-Watch Sci Fi? Not really. It is worth checking out a few episodes, especially from the first season. But the stories start to get rather redundant pretty quickly.

 

The Skinny: Of the four 1960’s sci fi series that Irwin Allen is best known for (the others being Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and The Time Tunnel), this one has best stood the test of time. It has the cheesiness expected from an Irwin Allen entry, but it never slipped to the levels of camp absurdity achieved by Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea at their low points (though some of the second season episodes came close). It was pretty much just a straightforward sci fi romp with our heroes trying to escape from the predicaments presented by the giants each week. It also presented a very interesting world that was controlled by a totalitarian government that wanted to exploit the advanced science of Earth (the giants knew about our world even though we did not know about theirs). Irwin Allen was not interested in making any grand political statements, though, and kept this as a straight action-adventure show. In that respect it succeeded, and the idea of little people trying to survive on a world populated by giants was pretty cool at the time and presented plenty of story ideas (even if the show did seem to get repetitive at times). It is worth revisiting for those who may have seen it when they were young or for curious onlookers wanting to see one of the better examples of Allen’s output.

Cancelled Too Soon? Yes. This was actually the most expensive show on television at the time it aired (those big people props cost money) and the ratings, while not terrible, did not justify the cost. ABC decided not to continue the series for a third season and thus ended the Irwin Allen sci fi TV era (see below) by cancelling the show in the Spring of 1970.

Should It Be Rebooted?  Absolutely. This was a cool show when it first aired and could be again with a reboot / revival. This premise is pretty much timeless and the reboot could tap into the potential of the original dystopian setting, coming up with plenty of good storylines for the human characters and their interactions with the giants. In fact, this would work well as a sequel series to the original. A new ship could have passed through the dimensional rift with a new group of humans and maybe even bring back some of the original characters as older versions of themselves. It does not quite have the name recognition that the television networks might prefer because the show is considered a relic from an earlier age, but a reboot of this one could work if done properly.

Interesting Fact: When this show was cancelled after the 1969-70 season, it marked the end of Irwin Allen’s reign as godfather of cheesy 60’s sci fi TV which began with Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea in 1964. Allen would try the underwater pilot City Beneath the Sea in 1971 and take another sci fi stab with The Return of Captain Nemo in 1978, but neither would carry on into an ongoing series.

Where Can You Watch It? Hulu has the entire series available for streaming and it has also been released on DVD which for some reason is ridiculously high priced (and apparently out of print now).  You can also buy the seasons digitally from Amazon.com (for only $10 per season).

Buy the Irwin Allen 60’s TV Shows on DVD from Amazon.com:

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