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Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: Series 4 (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000145917
Added by: Stuart McLean
Added on: 10/11/2011 10:41
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    Review for Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: Series 4

    7 / 10

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    At last, thanks to Revelation, Irwin Allen fans can finally complete their collections. With a well overdue R2 release of 'The Time Tunnel' and 'The Land of the Giants' earlier this year, and the first three seasons of 'Voyage' too, this fourth and final season will allow completists to tuck this in next to the 'Lost in Space' sets and breathe a long sigh of relief. (Until the Blu-ray releases that is, if we ever get so lucky!)

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    Allen fans will forgive the drifting, desperate and occasionally ludicrous attempts to stay up with new sci-fi (Star Trek), camp comic book psychedelia (Batman / Green Hornet) and persuade backers that, despite attention now on the all-new 'Land of the Giants', that this TV stalwart was still able to move with the times. The truth is that Season 4 is all over the place, darting from one genre to the next, and often veering into the ridiculous. The cold-war double-plays of Seasons 1 and 2 were now history and the flights of fancy started in season 3 were allowed full rein here, despite dwindling budgets and dwindling interest. Or maybe because of that.

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    Of course, for many of us, this being the most relatively recent season, this is the version of the show that we best remember and which we're perhaps most fond of. Indefensible intellectually perhaps but then what has nostalgia ever had to do with common sense?

    So this time we get the widest and most fantastical of narratives, all greeted with the same lantern-jawed stoicism and wonderful, studio-based over-saturated sixties colouring. Fantastic!

    So - here's a question for you. What do doll-makers, time travellers, alien explorers and lobster-men have in common? Season 4 of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea of course. Hurrah!!

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    Some of the zaniness was inevitably the result of budget constraints and a healthy recycling policy (some of the props look very like those used in parallel series 'Lost in Space' and 'Land of the Giants'). You get the feeling that plots were designed around available props rather than the other way round.
    Picking a highlight (lowlight?) or two from a set featuring pirate ghosts, alien plants, an albino gorilla, a gigantic underwater magnet, wicked puppets, a lobster man, and an evil leprechaun amongst its many flights of fancy was never going to be easy, but I'm going to give it a go.

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    What the hell. You can't pick an episode from this set without acknowledging the sheer wonderous tackiness that is 'The Lobster Man'. It features possibly the worst costume ever used in a sci-fi series, including those creaky old Dr.Who episodes from the 60's.

    "The Abominable Snowman" is a lot of fun - again, for all the wrong reasons, and 'Man-Beast' may yet get the award for pushing the need to 'suspend dis-belief' to new, unchartered depths - with a plot that has Admiral Nelson turning into a Werewolf.

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    There are a couple of worthwhile extras here including the original black and white pilot 'Eleven Days to Zero' here in its broadcast version with ads intact, as well as a previously unaired version.

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    Like previous discs the 1.33:1 original TV aspect ratio transfers look excellent, really showing off those trademark saturated colours of Allen's. Audio is good too with mono 2.0 as an option (rather than straight mono). You'll never have seen these episodes looking this good before. Mastered on 35mm it leaves me wondering how great these would look on Blu-Ray, though sales of this may determine whether such a set ever gets a release, with all the extra re-mastering work involved in that. There are very little signs of wear and tear which makes me wonder whether this hasn't been subject to some judicious digital clean-up. Normally that would herald a lot of related puff about the re-mastering process but none of that here. Just a damned nice job well done.

    So - you know if you're the sort of person who likes this sort of stuff. If you are then this set is simply fantastic.

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