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Sci-Fi TV of the 1970s and 80s – FIRE & WATER #127

Firestorm and Aquaman: The Fire and Water Podcast

The 127th episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST is now available for your listening pleasure! THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST is the official podcast of FIRESTORM FAN and THE AQUAMAN SHRINE.

Shag and Rob welcome guest Gene Hendricks (of The Hammer Podcasts) to discuss some of their favorite (and not-so-favorite) sci-fi TV shows of the 1970s and 1980s! ‎Felgercarb‬! Be sure to check out our Tumblr for the opening credits from 45 different sci-fi TV shows from the 70s & 80s:!

You can find the 127th episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST on iTunes. While you’re there, please drop us a review on the iTunes page. Every comment helps! Alternatively, you may play the podcast using the player below or by right-clicking “download”, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (102 MB).

As always, thanks to my co-host Rob Kelly, Sea King of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE, for doing all the post-production on these episodes! This episode brought to you in part by!

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Fire and Water Podcast #127

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  1. Love me some RED DWARF. The wife introduced me to the show.

    The first episode didn’t do much for me and I thought I wouldn’t like the series, but the second episode hooked me and held me for at least the next five seasons.

  2. Xum Yukinori says:

    Shag, I remember watching “The Voyagers” whilst overseas. The one episode I remember vividly involved Bogg and Jeffrey getting separated in time, with Bogg helping Lawrence of Arabia while Jerrfey met Thomas Edison, who took apart the Omni trying to find out how the flashing red light worked — as the inventor was struggling to perfect his light bulb invention at the time.

    Seeing the Omni disassembled on the worktable was a true “oh no” moment…

  3. This was a fun episode. I enjoyed the collective trip down memory lane. A few comments on shows that were mentioned:

    Star Trek: The Animated Series – It bugs me that this show has such a bad reputation among some fans. It is wholly undeserved.

    The Tomorrow People – An old favorite. The way Shag (I think it was) talked about it, the Tomorrow People had to shout “jaunt” before they teleported as if it were some kind of activation code. That’s not the way it worked at all. It was simply the word they used to *describe* teleporting. Chalk it up to being a British show, where the word “jaunt” is a bit more common. The recent CW series was something else entirely (that’s not a criticism, and I’m impressed with the number of original concepts they brought over. Still, that show had an entirely different tone from this one, created for an entirely different audience).

    Buck Rogers – I remember being particularly impressed by a bit of unintentional irony. Buck’s ill-fated launch in the credits was in the (then-future) year 1987. Because of the Challenger disaster the year previously, 1987 turned out to be the one year of the era when the US *didn’t* have *any* space flights.

    Doctor Who – Thanks for making sure that this was included. I imagine IMDB missed it purely because it didn’t *begin* in the 1970s (or the ’80s), but no discussion of the era’s sci-fi would be complete without it. It bugs me that so many folks who enjoy the show now don’t include or watch the original run. There’s so much more to this franchise than David Tennant and those who came after him (even “New Who” folks tend to give Eccleston short-shrift).

    Voyagers – This was a favorite as a kid. I made my own Omni out of cardboard and paper, and would imagine flying through time by jumping off of my bunkbed after “pressing” the “button” on it (often, thankfully, with a mattress pulled onto the floor!). I actually own the DVD set of this one, but in all honesty, I’ve only bothered to watch the first episode in the years that I’ve had the set.

    The Transformers – If you know me, or have followed my online presence at all, you already know that this is the franchise I follow more than any other. Rob, you’re dead to me after your dismissive comments (Not really. He and I had a bit of back and forth on this after a recent Film and Water broadcast. Still, show some respect!).

    Star Trek: The Next Generation – Another long-time favorite (probably ranks just after Transformers and Doctor Who for me). I still have much of my old figure collection, including the “old Admiral McCoy” figure mentioned (which, incidentally, came in the SECOND toyline for the show, done by Playmates. Galoob had previously launched a line of ST:TNG toys during the show’s first season. That line didn’t do terribly well, hence Galoob losing the license, but those figures are collectors items if you can find them).

    Probe – You’re right. It probably doesn’t belong on this list. I assume it was included because some of the plots broke the boundaries of existing science, but certainly no more so than, say, Mission: Impossible, which few consider a sci-fi franchise.

    Benji, Zax, and the Alien Prince – Yes, this is a pretty forgettable show, but a clarification is in order. This WAS a Saturday morning series. Live-action, at the end of the CBS Saturday morning schedule for the year it was on. (I’m somewhat stunned to learn, as I look the show up on IMDB, that a DVD set exists. Why do shows like *this* get to be on DVD, but I still can’t get Legend, the 1995 series starring Richard Dean Anderson and John DeLancie?)

  4. Tim Wallace says:

    2 words…Meeno Peluce! That kid guest starred all over the place in the late 70s/80s! When I was watching “Voyagers” I always wondered, in the back of my young head, if those guest appearances on shows like Love Boat, A-Team, Different Strokes…were a result of time hopping with the Omni?

    Ah, “Red Dwarf”…I still love that show! That was one I was totally invested in…the books, the audios (Chris “Rimmer” Barrie performed 2 of them “Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers” and “Better Than Life”…and pretty much nails impressions of the rest of the cast!), the VHS and later DVDs. I even subscribed to the official Smegazine for a while and bought the CD single of the Cat’s song “Tongue Tied”…ah, I’m a nerd, aren’t I?

    I had some knock-off Transformers myself…I clearly remember getting a G1 Shockwave from Radio Shack one year for Christmas…and loved it!

    “Planet of the Apes”…I actually didn’t stumble into the franchise until college, and saw the first film playing at a horror/sci-fi con…and was hooked! I own all the films, the animated series and the TV show, even had a chance to meet Booth Colman (TV’s Dr. Zaius) and proudly have his autographed photo hanging right next to my Micky Dolenz (see what I did there?)

    “Doctor Who”, “Twilight Zone”, “Max Headroom”, “Star Trek:TNG”, “Quantum Leap”, so many of the shows you talked about connected (so many more left me perplexed and confused, lol)…wow, so many great memories…and now, my Netflix list is flooded with stuff to watch…thanks guys!

    1. Darrin and Ruth says:

      Ah, a fellow Red Dwarf fanatic :-)

      Sounds like we have all the same collections including the audios and the Smegazine …

      Smoke me a kipper!

  5. Tim Wallace says:

    Oh…nearly forgot! Shag, there was a “V” action figure…well, 12 inch doll. One of my neighbor’s had it. It had a human face/mask that you could peel off to reveal the lizard face underneath!

  6. Just to clarify, the Casey Kasem/Transformers story actually came from Kyle Benning when he guested on our ConwayXover episode of Super Mates.

    Wow, you guys went through a TON of shows. Most I’ve heard of, many I’d seen, but there were a few I NEVER heard of…and my base geek knowledge is pretty broad, I think. Just goes to show how short a life span some of these genre shows had.

    Do you guys remember a series called “The Outlaws?” It starred Rod Taylor (of the Time Machine/The Birds fame) as a sheriff who is time tossed with both his posse and the outlaws they were chasing. They wind up in 1986. It only ran one season, but I recall liking the mix of western and sci-fi. This was around the same time the Hex comic was out from DC.

    None of you watched The Highwayman? That had Sam J. Jones of Flash Gordon! It had Jocko, the Energizer battery guy who looked like a real-life Popeye! It was a Road Warrior rip-off! What’s not to love?

    I remember Phoneix and Voyagers. As I recall the lead in Voyagers died a few years after playing Russian Roulette. At that point, he was off on another series.

    What, no Manimal?


  7. Jeff R. says:

    As Omissions Guy, I’ll complain mightily about the IBDM listmaker leaving Star Blazers (nee Space Battleship Yamato) off the list. (Much like Twilight Zone/Amazing Stories as mentioned, I always felt like people were ‘allowed’ to only like one out of this and Robotech.)

    Also, Wonder Woman. And, to a lesser extent, about their leaving out the various one-season wonders that wound up anthologized on Nickelodeons’ The Third Eye.

    The 1985 Twilight Zone is really underrated TV.

    Best of Both Worlds had a lot of precedents for season-ending cliffhangers. Dallas, say, among many other of the evening soaps. In this very podcast, I can think of at least on in Doctor Who (Logopolis), and Blake’s Seven more than once.

    1. Mentioning “The Third Eye” got me to recalling “Into the Labyrinth,” another old favorite, but I suppose that both of those shows are really more “fantasy” than “sci-fi,” anyway. Those two groups are often grouped together, but I got the impression that this list more-or-less intentionally excluded “fantasy” unless it had a strong sci-fi element.

  8. Xum Yukinori says:


    I also admit to have actually watched a few episodes of “Far Out Space Nuts” back in the mid-1970s. Much of what I recall was the “Lunch not Launch” bit and the mild attempts to simulate cartoon slapstick humor in live action (I recall a few monster alien chase sequences employed running the film forward-backward-forward-back-forward-back-resume (over-excessive use of the Cat Chow advert’s “chow chow chow” effect) to make them seem all the more ridiculous — though I do not recall laughing along with the laugh track. There were however a few clever one-liners that I still find amusing to this day. Like when glass-creature king John Carradine declared Bob Denver’s Junior to be the “chosen one” that would become king of his people (for a day):

    Junior: “Why me? How come I am the chosen one?”
    Glass King: “Because you are the one I chose.”

    And I obviously devoted too much time on this comment. Thank you for putting it up… and putting up with me.

  9. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    Shag, I’m with you on Voyagers – I absolutely loved this show as a kid. I am surprised Rob and Gene never heard of it. It seemed huge at the time, but maybe it was just huge just in my young boy’s brain, who knows. If I recall correctly, the show ended because the lead actor died on set of a movie after firing a prop gun too close to his head and killing himself by accident. Horrible. This wrecked me as a kid – one of the first times someone I liked and cared about (someone from TV, granted) died. I was devastated at the time. Haven’t seen the show since, so no clue if it would hold up for me now. I remember relating very much to the young boy – whatever happened to that actor?! – which I’m sure was the point of them casting a young boy as a lead on the show. He was our entry way into the adventures.

    Loved the discussion of the Springsteen NJ sublaw. I agree with you 100%, Rob. Bon Jovi is horrible. Bruce is magnificent.

    Great fun this episode, guys. Thanks for this diversion down memory lane!

  10. Anj says:

    Loved this show, laughing and wallowing in nostalgia as I listened. Some thoughts on some of these shows, as well as a ton of young Anj crushes that grew out of some of these series.

    1) Planet of the Apes live action – I saw a ton of these episodes as repurposed two hour movies much like Shag. Growing up, one of the local TV stations would run movies from 4p-6p. They would always have a Planet of the Apes week but it was never any of the 5 theatrical releases. It was always 2 episodes put together. I remember the blond human was a jack of all trades depending on what was needed for the show – a crackerjack horse rider, mechanic, chemist, etc.

    2) Space Nuts – like Rob, I have said ‘I said lunch, not launch!’ my whole life with no one else understanding what I mean. To hear that another human has that line in their lexicon made me happy!

    3) Mork and Mindy – ahhh Pam Dawber. One of my first boyhood crushes

    4) Buck Rogers – ahhh Erin Gray, one of my most lasting boyhood crushes, lasting to this day. How much did I love Erin Gray? I watched Silver Spoons! But seeing her as Wilma Deering, in her flight suit and blowing up aliens real good … priceless!

    5) V – I can’t think of a TV moment more burned on my brain than Jane Badler unhinging her jaw and eating a guinea pig! As a kid was horrified and entranced! I loved that show. And Freddy Krueger was ‘Willy the nice alien’! The whole ‘we’ll defeat the aliens with hot air balloons’ answer was somewhat lame. I also watched the recent reboot (Laura Vandervoort AND Morena Baccarin??) but was mostly underwhelmed.

    6) Automan – the only thing I truly remember is the 90degree turn gimmick which they used every episode. Desi Arnez was always in the passenger side and always kissed the glass of the window during them.

    7) Misfits of Science – another childhood crush, the ‘Dancin in the Dark’ era Courtney Cox. But my favorite recurring bit in the show was that the electricity guy occasionally had to discharge if he absorbed too much energy and he talked about it like needing to pee. One episode he was dancing around saying he ‘had to go’ and they told him to head into an alley.

    8) Robotech – I have a deep deep love for that show. While the first arc is the most famous, I have a fondness for the second arc, the Dana Sterling leading a tank division story involving the protoculture on earth. I have to rewatch this show.

    Thanks for letting me reminisce along with you all. So much fun!

  11. Kyle Benning says:

    This was a fantastic, fun, fun episode! Great work guys!

    Rob, you mention Wolfman Jack & American Graffiti, for those of you that are fans of that movie, do yourself a favor and track down a DVD version that has the movie dubbed in French. If you go to the Wolfman Jack scenes, they literally went in and changed the Wolf howling sounds everytime Wolfman Jack comes on the radio. Instead of the actual Wolf howl sound, they replaced it with, “Le woooo.” I shit you not, they seriously took out the howl and put in a French Le Woooo.

    Since Shag is such a Louis Gossett, Jr. fan, the 1989 Dolph Lundgren Punisher movie must be one of his all-time favorites. I love that movie, but it is in no way awesome, and Louis Gossett Jr does not add any sort of awesomeness to that movie. But hey, what other movie can you watch that has a montage scene of the protagonist blowing up shelves of liquor bottles and slot machines with a grenade launcher AFTER they have already been decimated by machine gun fire? No others come to mind.

    As Chris already said, the Transformers bit about Casey Kasem leaving Transformers came from me when I guested on the Franklins’ fantastic Super Mates podcast as part of the Conway X-over. For those that didn’t listen to the episode and for Rob, the #1 Transformers Fan on the interwebs, the gist of it is this, Cliffjumper, voiced by Casey Kasem (who also voiced the character Bluestreak (a silver Datsun 280ZX Turbo) and the Autobots’ Computer Teletran-1) was one of the few original Season 1 Transformers to survive the Autobot Holocaust that was the 1986 Transformers animated movie. However, Cliffjumper would fall off the face of the map at the beginning of Season 3 of the series due to Kasem having an issue with a writer’s joke. Season 3 of Transformers kicked off with an awesome 5-Part story (Five Faces of Darkness) that saw the Decepticon ranks decimated and dangerously low on Energon following Unicron’s attack on Cybertron (the movie). So the Decepticons have taken refuge on the planet Charr. The few Decepticons that were still on Earth have gone into hiding, taking safe haven in a fictional Middle Eastern country run by a military dictator. That fictional country was called Carbabya, which was a joke done by the writers to stand for “Car Bomb Ya.” Casey Kasem being of Lebanese descent, took offense, and walked off the series.

    As far as the Transformers toys, the first wave of figures that launched were pulling from multiple Japanese toylines (later waves would have new original molds created specifically for the show/comics and the new characters introduced in them). As such, since you had molds from 2 previously existing lines, plus new molds, you had a variety of construction materials. Some were all plastic, some were a combination of plastic and metal. Optimus Prime had a lot of cast metal on him (the base cab) yet had all plastic trailer. From my memory I believe Wheeljack had the highest metal content of any of the Autobot Cars, that thing weighed about 2 pounds! Both Optimus Prime and Wheeljack came from the 1970’s Japanese Toyline Diaclone.

    Shag, how did you not bring up the story of the F Bomb on one of the Droids or Ewoks movies, and how you had a direct impact on getting all future versions edited? (Heard it before on a TTF Star Wars Monthly Monday Episode)

    I loved the ALF Cartoon series, I wonder if that’s on NetFlix (I don’t have NetFlix). Man did I love that series as a kid. You had Ol BB Wolf as a villain, and I distinctly remember this episode where ALF comes across some village of like Turnip Farmers that have had a drought or something and so they capture ALF and strap him to this drilling machine and plan to sacrifice him to their rain gods and start chanting “TOUCH BOTTOM SOIL!! TOUCH BOTTOM SOIL!” Pretty freaking morbid, I bet I haven’t seen that episode since I was 5 years old, but here over 20 years later that chant and scene is still stuck in my head.

    And wow, yeah I totally forgot about those ALF phone cards or 10-10-220 or whatever ads from the 1990’s. Wasn’t Hulk Hogan in those ads with ALF? Man there used to be so many of those 10-10 or 1-800 discount paid phone ads, so weird that those were so huge and now have been completely obsoleted.

    Real Ghostbusters, man that cartoon was great, and it had some down right creepy moments. The Frank Welker voiced Boogie Man was terrifying. IDW had a fantastic Ghostbusters ongoing series (that was sadly cancelled) which written by my pal Erik Burnham, and during a story arc they actually had some back-up stories set in the Real Ghostbusters world, that took place inside the containment unit. In addition to writing the main series, Erik also wrote and drew the back-up feature. Sure enough things are going awry inside the containment unit, and the evil entity behind it was none other than the Boogie Man!! Erik new how much the Boogie Man from RGB terrified me as a kid, so he hooked me up with the original art page that features the big reveal!! Many of those episodes of the RGB cartoon were written by JMS.

    Glaring 80’s Ommissions: Where’s the love for Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, Silver Hawks, and M.A.S.K.? All had cartoons, comics, and toys! Those series were a great blend of fantasy/sword & sorcery mixed with sci-fi technology.
    Fantastic episode gentleman, Fan the Flame, Ride the Wave, and Strike the Hammer!

    PS: Someone out there in listener land really needs to start a podcast focused solely on covering the exploits of Composite Superman, Transformers, and the Legion of Super-Heroes and have Rob on as a guest.

  12. Xum Yukinori says:

    Earth 2 Chris and Michael,

    I believe you are both right about the tragic accidental death of Jon-Erik Hexum, the lead actor in “The Voyagers”. In between takes of shooting a scene of some spy programme, Hexum was indeed playing Russian Roulette with a prop gun loaded with one blank cartridge, no doubt thinking that a blank would not harm him if he lost…

    As for Meeno Puluce, who played young Jeffrey, I read somewhere that he became a history teacher, among other things (I recall the teaching profession for obvious reasons)…

  13. Quick minor correction re: Jon-Erik Hexum’s fate. It was in no way the reason for Voyagers!’s cancellation. The accident happened on the set of a show called “Cover Up” on October 12, 1984 (he actually died six days later). Voyagers! aired during the 1982-1983 season, so this was more than a full year after Voyagers! wrapped-up shooting, and was not picked up for a second season (due to network meddling, really. It was getting respectable ratings, but NBC thought they’d do better fighting 60 Minutes with another news show. They didn’t).

  14. Frank says:

    Boy, you guys were a lot more committed to watching low rent crap sci-fi than I ever was, but then again, I was more of a super-hero kid. As Rob said, I devoured every bit of tangential, insincere, barely-adaptation of pseudo-costumed heroics that crossed my eyes, from Hero at Large to Once A Hero, and every Sable in between. Did you guys cover Manimal? I always associate that show with a favored Mego-style action figure I played with while watching it.

    I know Space: 1999 from house ads for the comics and maybe some toys, but it looked totally boring and if I ever had the opportunity to watch it, I didn’t. I vaguely recall seeing The Black Hole, and I might have had a book & record for it, but I tend to confuse it with Space: 1999 because it was lame (though the villain’s toy was coolish.)

    I think they ran the animated Star Trek show on Nickelodeon when I was growing up, but I passed on it as well. I would catch the live action show around 10 o’clock on a local UHF channel occasionally, and liked that, but couldn’t get into the cartoon.

    They used to combine a few episodes of the POTA TV series into UHF afternoon movies on weekends, but I saw through that and deemed them the “fake” Apes movies that weren’t part of the “real” series. I also tended to see “Battle” as being more like the TV show than the other movies, and to this day try to dismiss it as an unnecessary extra after “Conquest.” The cartoon was more elusive. Maybe it was running on cable when I didn’t have it?

    As a kid, I saw Steve Austin as The Bionic Man, disregarding the show’s actual title. I watched it and The Bionic Woman passively, but wasn’t a serious fan. Again, only in syndication.

    I had several Battlestar: Galactica toys, including one of the leads (can’t recall if it was Apollo or Starbuck,) a Cylon, some red-skinned pinhead dude, and maybe an Adama? I’d see both iterations of the show in syndication, but it never held my attention for a full episode.

    I have a V toy story. It isn’t very good and I don’t feel like writing it, but suffice to say I really wanted a V toy. One of my most favorite things in the 1980s. Watched The Final Battle first run and caught the annual weeklong marathons on a local UHF station. Have all the period series on DVD and the paperback novelization of the first mini-series. Still haven’t even attempted to rewatch the TV show, though I gave the reimagining from the aughts a few episodes to let me down.

    I think I was too young for The Time Tunnel, but I did get to go to a bar once by the same name during the day while my mother was visiting a friend that worked there, and it was notable for the tunnel entrance. Oh, and I definitely remember watching Voyagers! in syndication, silly as it was. The dude from that show wasn’t really playing Russian Roulette, but was simply goofing around on the set of Cover-Up and committed unintentional suicide when he fired a blank directly into his temple, causing blunt force trauma that sent bits of his skull into his brain.

    Red Dwarf was one of those things I tried to watch a few times on PBS in the 1990s to see what the fuss was about. It was cute, but I didn’t stick with it as I did Blackadder.

    Gave New Who several seasons, but as a non-Whovian, it didn’t get better than Christopher Eccleston.

    Very vaguely recall The Highwayman, no clue about The Outlaws, but they do put me in mind of a personal favorite sci-fi western from the ’90s, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.

    Automan (ABC?) was a thing I watched when I had a lower threshold for entertainment, and he looked cool. Laura Brannigan of “Gloria” fame guested on an episode. Remember when the membrane between music videos and TV parts was that porous?

    I’m with Rob on Transformers as, what was it? Boxes smacking into one another? I had a few Go-Bots and simple plastic mini-Transformers, until I realized the novelty of those things wore off before I would finish eating at the Pizza Inn that was the next stop over from the K-Mart where they got purchased. The best thing about the cartoon was the sound effects.

    The main thing I remember about Misfits of Science in broadcast (ABC?) was an episode where some of them shrank and played a game of electronic Simon by jumping from button to button.

    Robotech came on right around the time I got out of school, so I habitually caught the last ten minutes of a given episode if I was lucky, just the credits if I wasn’t. The moment that really stuck with with me was when Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes were trapped in a trench during an attack, and began bonding romantically. I’d never seen that kind of sophistication in relationship development on a cartoon before, plus I liked Lisa WAY more than Minmei. That was my hook, not the tedious mech warfare. I tried watching some Robotech a few years ago on DVD, but it worked better as part of my development than it does as something I care to spend time with now. I felt the same way revisiting Battle of the Planets, but at least that still had super-hero action with cool costumes.

    I watched an embarrassing amount of Small Wonder– likely more than most any of the shows discussed. It came on weekend afternoons in UHF syndication, and I could watch it with my grandmother. I have revisited it since, and I’m not sure there ever was a TV show with worse across the board acting. Everything else was terrible too, but the acting caused me physical pain to watch.

    The ’80s Twilight Zone was so good I figure I’m probably a better human being for having watched it. Unfortunately, the episode that stuck with me the most involved an Elvis impersonator going back through time to meet The King in his early days, only to accidentally kill and replace him. Specifically, the impersonator sings “That’s Alright,” and Elvis takes offense at the mention of “mama,” so they fight to the death. One of the dumbest, most pandering stories of the lot, but as a kid it screwed with my head and still informs my conception of Presley. There was a cool short where a children’s TV show magician is really Satan tricking a kid into practicing dark magic, or the one where a woman who could stop time freezes a nuke right above her neighborhood, and therefore can never unstick time. It was good speculative/fanciful anthology fiction that suffered only because of direct comparison to one of the greatest TV shows of all time, plus the title sequence remains unnerving. As I recall, this was in prime time on CBS, plus syndication. I watched Amazing Stories on NBC, but it was so filled with prefabricated “wonderment” that even as a child I found it confectionary.

    I had my time with both versions of ALF and even had a doll at one point, but it’s another one of those things that if I try to watch it today I’m like “what was wrong with us collectively as a society that this was a happening?” I think my experience was fully on broadcast NBC, never embracing it as a rerun.

    Between Airplane! and The Girl, The Gold Watch & Everything movies, I went into the Starman TV show on a wave of Robert Hays goodwill. It was okay, but I didn’t miss it when it ended and the movie was much better. That was on ABC, right?

    I bought Captain Power, but the TV interaction didn’t work and the figure was never a favorite.

    Max Headroom was a trip. I watched it expecting something caustically funny like the talk show/Pepsi commercials, and was not prepared for dystopian science fiction with heavy British accents (both audible and tonal.) I still can’t believe this made it onto ABC’s schedule, as there’s never been anything like it on broadcast TV (though certainly on PBS and cable.) if Terry Gilliam had gone into TV during his heyday, it might have played like Mac Headroom. it clearly peaked with the pilot though, which I had on VHS for years, and I still reference Blipverts (and have edited podcasts with them in mind.) I was already on the Amanda Pays bandwagon long before The Flash, and I still get excited when Matt Frewer turns up in stuff. Remember the big controversy over whether Max was really CGI (and he wasn’t, though technology caught up with him a few years later?)

    Out of this World was a syndicated sitcom that ran with the Bewitched/Sabrina formula, except traded a closeted sorceress for a teenage half-alien girl with similar powers. Like Mork, she routinely closed episodes by conversing with her disembodied xeno-dad (through a cubed triangle thing) about the morals of a particular show. Her mother was played by the girl from Saturday Night Fever. If I recall correctly, the lead actors sang “Would You Like a To Swing From A Star” as the theme song. Don’t know how thus holds up, but surely better than Small Wonder.

  15. Darrin and Ruth says:

    Just started listening to this episode and it makes me feel old! I watched most of these shows during their original run. Not only did I watch Space 1999 during its original run, but I was a huge fan of its superior predecessor series UFO which I also saw during its original US run. Space 1999 actually started preproduction as the second season of UFO, but delays due to funding lead to the series being completely revamped into Space 1999. By the way, we saw Matin Landau at Dragon Con a few years ago. A delightful man.

    I also watched all those great Kroft shows during their original run and can still remember both Far Out Space Nuts and Lost Saucer fondly … LOL!

    Have long been a huge Red Dwarf fan. Ruth and I actually attended a Red Dwarf con in the UK a few years ago. All the cast love their fans. And two brand new seasons are coming soon!

    Great show as always!

  16. Darrin and Ruth says:

    The more I listen to this episode the older I feel. Surely I’m not that much older than all of you. I remember almost all of those 1970s shows that you all just wanted to skip. Now I know why every show I loved as a kid was canceled after 13 episodes. You guys weren’t watching … and don’t try making some excuse like “you weren’t born yet” :-)

    Logan’s Run was great fun. I loved the movie and I loved the series. The hovercraft vehicle was so well designed that it showed up in many other sci-fi movies and series in the years that followed. And Shagg, it had Heather Menzies in it. Surely you have something to say about that.

    Fantastic Journey was a fantastic little adventure show about a family stranded on an island in the Bermuda Triangle and patches of cloudy fog would transport them to different areas and different times. And everything Roddy McDowall in was great because Roddy McDowall was great in everything!

    Speaking of Roddy McDowall, Rob already knows that I’m a big Planet of the Apes fan from my letter about his Power Records show. I loved the live action POTA series. Sure, it was the Fugitive … but it was the Fugitive on the Planet of the Apes. That is much more entertaining.

    As for the animated Return to the Planet of the Apes series. It actually ignored the movies and live action series and instead was based more closely on the original Pierre Boulle novel where the apes were more advanced. That concept was originally considered for the first movie as well, but was abandoned due to costs.

    Ark II was great fun. It was one of those many live action shows made by Filmation. The Ark II was much more than a souped up RV and looked nothing like the one on Shazam. They spent lots of money designing that vehicle and it got the show lots of attention. The front of the Ark II was later used in the space ship designs in Space Academy and Jason of Star Command.

    And speaking of those two shows, the reason the same sets are used is that Jason of Star Command was a sequel to Space Academy. I guess once you graduated Space Academy you went on to Star Command. Jason Doohan was only in the first season of Jason of Star Command. He wasn’t available for the second season because he was filming Star Trek The Motion Picture.

    Quark was not a British comedy. It was an American show that starred Richard Benjamin who was a very popular actor in the 1970s before turning to directing. Originally a pilot episode that didn’t sell, NBC showed the pilot as a “special” and it surprisingly garnered some attention leading to an order for the following midseason. Sadly the show didn’t survive but it is known for ushering in the sci-fi comedy craze that followed in the 1980s. Plus, you have to smile at Tim Thomerson playing Gene and Jean. And Shagg, you would have loved the Barnstable twins.

    Shagg, Project UFO was the name of the series when it originally aried, but Project Bluebook was the name of the project referred to by the characters in the series. It might also be that the series was later syndicated using that title. Jack Webb was not in the series, but he produced it. The format was similar to his other shows like Adam-12 and Emergency in that it took actual cases of UFO sightings investigated by the government and dramatized them including the explanations of the sightings that the investigators found.

    Rob is correct. The original Buck Rogers pilot movie was shown in theaters. While it was made for TV, NBC was so impressed with the look of the final product that they felt it was good enough for a theatrical release. I saw it in the theatre as well including that fun dream sequence opening that looks like a disco version of the opening of a James Bond movie. I missed that sequence when the pilot aired on TV that fall without the dream sequence credits.

    Salvage-1 with Andy Griffith was goofy fun. Like Quark, it was initially a failed pilot that was shown as a “special” and got surprisingly high ratings so a series was ordered. It was literally about a junk yard owner who had the idea to collect the scrap in space and hired an astronaut to help him build a space ship. How could you not like a show with a premise like that!

    The Phoenix was an excellent show and the next time I’m at Dragon Con I’ll be looking to see Shagg staring toward the sun and floating from its energy … LOL!

    As Shagg said, Sapphire and Steel was a great series. Mysterious and adventurous. David McCallum from The Man from Uncle and Joanna Lumley following her time on The New Avengers but before Absolutely Fabulous.

    Sapphire and Steel are human looking alien elements that investigate paranormal activities and time loops. They are sometimes aided by other elements like Gold, Lead, and Silver.

    And yes, while the series ran six seasons as Rob mentioned, those are British seasons, so there are actually only 34 episodes in total.

    The audio dramas by Big Finish starring David Warner were equally great and sadly ended due to pirating. Big Finish stopped making them because more people were sharing them online than were buying them.

    Shagg, fantastic to hear you reference The Prisoner. Though it isn’t a 1970s show, it is an all-time favorite of mine. Ruth and I have had the pleasure to attend the amazing Six of One convention in Portmeirion, Wales on a couple of occasions. A truly magical place. And yes, I have played human chess there and I have been chased by a Rover … LOL!

    Great show guys! Thanks as always!

  17. Darrin and Ruth says:

    One final message from me about this fun episode.

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy actually didn’t start as a novel, but as a radio series on the BBC and I must completely disagree that the TV series is bad. It’s fantastic. A true classic. Sure, it looks cheap, but that is part of the charm.

    Sad none of you saw Otherworld. Another fun little fantasy adventure show from the 1980s that died after only a handful of episodes.

    Finally, for the listeners who haven’t met Gil Gerard I must share some more positive memories. Besides the many positive interactions I’ve had with him at various cons over the last 20 years, I will always remember a couple of stories Erin Gray has shared, including the time he walked on set and noticed that all of the extras in uniform in the background were men and he insisted they have a mix of men and women because he didn’t believe that was the way things would be in the future.

    Plus, when NBC completely revamped the series for season two they wanted to drop Erin Gray from the show and he refused to do the second season without her.

    Thanks again guys. I’ll try to avoid writing so much about the next episode :-)

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