Good films always raise compelling questions, whether the format is fiction or documentary fact.
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What a shame this didn't catch on in the US the way it did in the UK.That it didn't is something of a surprise, even all these years later, given the enduring popularity of the films. Still, in the brutal world of TV ratings, you have to be a hit straight away and this one just didn't cut it where and when it mattered.The series works all the same, even now. The characters are its main strength, but there are others. An excellent title sequence helps, particularly as the stories it introduces are generally interesting and sometimes moving. Music and scripts are of a high standard and the photography borders on inspired in some episodes.So, why didn't it catch on in the US? Well, here's my theory: it is very low key in tone and approach. Unless you happened to notice it was in the schedule, there was little to catch the eye.One side note: Many fans of the series have puzzled over the identity of the individual who "played" the dead Jonesy in the first episode. Well, since he's not even listed on the IMDb, that seems likely to remain a mystery!Rating: 7/10.
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I was in the 4th grade when this series came out. I bought the "planet of the apes" magazine every month and read it cover to cover... I was very, very much a Planet of the Apes (POTA) fanatic. I remember learning that POTA was coming to TV and was beside myself with joy. It was the greatest TV event of all time as far as I was concerned. But even at that young age, I was only half way through that first episode when I realized that it was really, really bad. The idea that I was going to be able to have POTA on TV...at home!...was amazing to me. I wanted to like it and was willing to forgive all sorts of junk, but I couldn't do it. I watched each episode, but it really felt like work to sit through. It was just bad, bad mid-70's TV that had people in ape suits. I would compare it to a Starsky and Hutch sort of thing, but that was a much better show!
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'Battle For The Planet Of The Apes' in 1973 was the last in the series of motion pictures inspired by Pierre Boulle's novel 'Monkey Planet'. Arthur P.Jacobs, the producer, had been planning a spin-off show for some time, but his sad death that year meant the idea had to be bequeathed to others.The series begins much in the same manner as the first movie. A spacecraft containing three American astronauts - only Alan Virdon ( Ron Harper ) and Pete Burke ( James Naughton ) survive - has crash landed on Earth in the far future. Apes have taken over and Man has been reduced to a slave workforce. Dr.Zaius ( Booth Colman ) fears the humans are a threat to Ape civilisation and wants them dead. A curious chimpanzee named Galen ( Roddy McDowall ) assists the astronauts to escape the clutches of vicious General Urko and his gorilla army, but in doing so inadvertently causes a death and so has to go on the run with them.'Apes' had little of the meaningful social commentary of the movies, playing more like David Janssen's 'The Fugitive'. Each week, our heroes arrived in a different community, got involved in a local difficulty, solved it, and moved on, all the time struggling to stay one step ahead of Urko ( 'The Incredible Hulk' series with Bill Bixby also utilised this format ).This show was my introduction to the 'Planet Of The Apes' universe. None of the movies had been seen on British television prior to the series. I.T.V. gave it a network showing on Sunday evenings, something the British-made 'Space: 1999' was not able to achieve.The performances were good, with Roddy McDowall's lovable 'Galen' capturing the hearts of millions. Like a good little boy, I dutifully bought the bubblegum cards, the Marvel Comics weekly, and proudly wore a 'Planet Of The Apes' T-shirt around town. You couldn't escape from the Apes in 1974.The show boasted a classic title sequence in which the premise was ingeniously spelt out in a few seconds. Imagine my horror when I learnt that it had been cancelled after only fourteen episodes! How did it end, I wondered, did Virdon and Burke ever get back to their own time? Had the show depended on British ratings for its survival, it would have lasted years. Only when I saw the movies years later did I realise how inferior the series was by comparison. Still, it occupies a special place in my heart. Compared to the Tim Burton fiasco, it is a towering work of genius!
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It changed the face of television forever. Based on the enormously popular and successful Planet of the Apes movie, the 1974 TV series has become a true cult classic. Now all 14 episodes (including "The Liberator," which never aired during the show's original run) have been compiled and are available to own for the first time.After their spacecraft travels through a time warp, two astronauts (Ron Harper, James Naughton) from 1981 crash-land back on Earth in the year 3085-a time when intelligent apes rule and humans have been reduced to servants or pets. Captured by the apes and sentenced to death, they are saved by a curious chimpanzee named Galen (Roddy McDowall). But now all three are on the run, trying to keep one step ahead of the gorilla army led by General Urko (Mark Lenard), who is determined to kill the renegades.