Planet of the Apes


Seasons & Episodes

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7| 0h30m| en

Two astronauts and a sympathetic chimp friend are fugitives in a future Earth dominated by a civilization of humanoid apes. Based on the 1968 Planet of the Apes film and its sequels, which were inspired by the novel of the same name by Pierre Boulle.


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20th Century Fox Television


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Platicsco Good story, Not enough for a whole film
Ghoulumbe Better than most people think
Connianatu How wonderful it is to see this fine actress carry a film and carry it so beautifully.
TrueHello Fun premise, good actors, bad writing. This film seemed to have potential at the beginning but it quickly devolves into a trite action film. Ultimately it's very boring.
Sparse Planet of the Apes (1974) is the first venture into television for Fox's once-lucrative Apes franchise, and despite the mixed results of some of their preceding attempts, managed to churn out an enjoyable albeit short-lived and somewhat mediocre series. It's not an allegorical powerhouse like the 1968 film, but it makes for some harmless fun nonetheless.The credited creator of the short series is Anthony Wilson, who recruited eight directors and sixteen writers to develop fourteen, forty-five minute episodes. Though you'll recognize one or two characters from this series (Zaius, and maybe Urko), it is part of a separate continuity and shouldn't be confused with the original five-film run. While watching this, I wasn't analyzing it intensely or taking pages upon pages of notes. I just had fun with it. This series can be campy, episodic, and often cliché. Bit it gets to the point. It doesn't beat you over the head with anything. It just enjoys itself.I didn't catch anything outstanding in the way of directing. It's competent given the material, but nothing that moved or impressed me beyond not being overtly bad. That being said, the cinematography is pretty good for TV, and you'll find some nice shots of the sets and nature scenes. The sets themselves are also well-made and do a decent job of implying a larger, more fleshed-out world. The prosthetics conceived by John Chambers are still generally holding up strong, though a slight decline in quality/care is apparent. The show is overall nice to look at, and complements the adventurous/lighthearted tone nicely.Among my favorite episodes are "The Trap", "The Good Seeds", & "Up Above the World So High". The first of which places Burke and Urko in an interesting dilemma, and it's cool to see them try to cooperate and figure their way out. It also feels a lot like an age-old fable, such as "The Blind Man & the Cripple". "The Good Seeds" and "Up Above the World So High" are entertaining by sharing interesting visual concepts and delightful humor.Like most television series this show shares several writers, but doesn't suffer from it very much as it was already episodic in format. This show presents nothing as profound as the original, but nothing offensive either. That being said, it doesn't completely ignore the franchise's core allegory for racism, and features interspecies friendships that explore this theme via metaphor. There's commentary on other things here and there, such as scientific experiments on animals and societal views of science, but nothing too substantial or overtly subtle. The show's meanings abide more so to moral lessons than complexly layered allegories. The series also has some interesting lore sometimes, and has a good sense of humor that's sometimes self- aware of its obscurity. Though, there are flaws.Pretty much every episode, someone gets captured or hurt and they find themselves in a predicament that they wiggle out of by the end of the episode. There's not much of an overall plot, and character development is generally kept to a minimum. Then there's the fact that the "astronauts crash-land on ape planet" trope is still the core premise, and the protagonists still take awhile to figure out they're on Earth (despite that everyone's speaking English, and that there are humans). The show still greatly benefits from its overall simplicity, so the predominant flaws don't detract much from the ability to enjoy it.As for the performances, Ron Harper and (especially) James Naughton are pretty funny as the astronauts Virdon and Burke. They're constantly spurting quips and remarks, that though cheesy, are very entertaining. I like McDowall's performance as Galen less than Cornelius, but a little more than Caesar. He certainly sets the air of a curious chimpanzee better than an ape revolutionary, and is a great companion to Virdon and Burke. Booth Colman is no Maurice Evans, but portrays a serviceable Dr. Zaius nonetheless. Mark Leonard is actually very good as General Urko, and keeps his campy villain role fresh. The various supporting roles throughout the episodes are competent for the 70's, and keep the acting overall pretty solid.The series music is by Lalo Schifrin, Earle Hagen, and Richard LaSalle, with the main theme by Lalo Schifrin. The score overall is serviceable. Nothing too memorable, but it sets the tone and doesn't distract from the action on screen.The short run the Planet of the Apes TV series had was all it really needed, since its episodic format could have ensured redundancy fairly quickly. For what it's worth, it's a lot of fun. This is by no means a must-watch (except maybe for Planet of the Apes buffs), but if you've got some spare afternoons to kill, then go for it! Score: 7/10
Bogmeister The Apes saga spawned this short-lived TV series as the movies ran out of steam (following the 5th film in '73): this follows 2 astronauts (Harper & Naughton - a 3rd man died on impact) whose spaceship crashes on Earth of the future (a little over a thousand years from now, in year 3085): humans in this time period are 2nd-class citizens, ruled by apes (Orangutans, Gorillas, and Chimps). There is little or no technology, and the 2 visitors are on the run with new friend chimp Galen (McDowall) from the forces of orangutan politico Zaius (Colman) and General Urko (Lenard), a bad-tempered gorilla. Running around a wilderness area, their travails took on a 'running around in circles' tempo, since they never strayed far from their main nemesis. Much of the action involved the astronauts being chased by gorillas on horseback or fighting them with judo & karate moves. The heroes' ultimate fates were never revealed. Of interest to viewers from the Bay Area in California, since this is where the action took place (one episode, for example, took place in the ruins of Oakland - pretty good set design for a TV series).The logistics of the series makes sense in so far as it logically occurs about 900 years before the events of the first 2 Apes films: humans here have not yet devolved to unspeaking brutes, being merely a docile but still intelligent servant class. However, this does contradict the events of the final 3 films, which does point to those as the creation of an alternate timeline: most familiar with the saga point out the dog in the very 1st episode (dogs were wiped out between the 3rd and 4th films); also, the astronauts find a book showing an advanced New York City from year 2503, which means, in this version of the saga, Apes took over around the 27th or 28th century whereas, in the 5th film, mankind had fallen by our time (early 21st century). Big difference. There's also a brief mention, in the first episode, of other astronauts who'd bedeviled Zaius 10 years earlier, but we never learn anything about them, except that they'd been killed.The stories themselves were often parables, commenting on certain social strictures from our own history, involving a persecution of a lower class; one episode had allusions to the Ku Klux Klan activities of a century past, with apes in hoods. A better early episode was "The Trap," where Urko and one of the astronauts get trapped together in an old ruin by an earthquake; Urko soon learns of his true heritage and that these humans are much more resourceful than he dreamed. Indeed, the two astronauts usually showed an advanced proficiency in all areas compared to this ape culture, even in such endeavors as farming. McDowall played his 3rd chimp character here, similar to his Cornelius and Caesar, but a little on the wild side. Lenard, better known for his Sarek character in the Star Trek TV shows and movies, probably did the best work here as the violence-prone but intelligent gorilla military leader.
silverscreen888 The very popular film "Planet of the Aoes", (1968) was adapted to a television series format by Anthony Wilson in 1974. Under the executive leadership of Howard Dimsdale, more than a dozen episodes were produced. The show was canceled before its producers had completed a season's worth of episodes; it has since become one of the most-highly-regarded of all one-hour television series, sci-fi or otherwise. I suggest this is because all but one of the original series' episodes, which was rather good, are even better-than-good. The idea level of the scripts, the actors employed and the story-lines were all quite unusually strong. The premise of the series as developed involved three astronauts on a mission to Earth's nearest stellar neighbor Alpha Centauri. Encountering an anomaly in space, their chronometers told them when they awakened that they had arrived in the year 3085; the planet they found themselves arriving upon was a vastly-changed Earth. One of their number was dead, but the others, played by Ron Harper and James Naughton, were captured by the rulers of the strange future civilization--apes. In that society, orangutans were administrators, chimpanzees scientists and gorillas the police and armed forces, all intelligent species who kept humans as slaves. After they had been assigned to the care of Dr. Zaius and his assistant Galen, it was Galen who discovered that other astronauts had found the new world; Galen and Zaius opposed General Urko's attempts to do away with the pair. And when Galen killed one of their guards accidentally, who was to execute the pair for having tried to escape, the three had to flee, and search for two things--the other astronauts who might still be on that strange world, and some way to try to reverse the time effect and get home.. This brilliant series was directed by such TV veterans as Alf Kjellin, Ralph Senensky, Bernard McEveety, John Meredyth Lucas, Arnold Laven, Jack Starrett and Don Weis. Writers for the series included Howard Dimsdale, Walter Black, Robert Hamner of "Star Trek" fame, Arthur Browne Jr., Edward J. Lakso, Robert W. Lenski, David P. Lewis, actor Booker T. Bradshaw, Art Wallace, S. Bar-David, Barry Oringer, Joe Ruby, Richard Collins, Anthony Lawrnece, and Ken Spears. Among the continuing cast, Mark Lenard was towering and powerful as General Urko; Roddy Macdowall and James Naughton, noted supporting actors, were very fine as Galen and astronaut Pete Burke. Booth Coleman, a classically-trained actor, brought Dr. Zaius to life; Ron Harper was very touching as astronaut Alan Virdon except for his lack of a classical accent. The show's theme was written by Lalo Schiffrin, with music composed by Earle Hagen and Richard LaSalle. "Star Trek" cinematographer Gerald Finnerman provided the lucid work for this series; the complex art direction for a strange civilization was the work of Arch Bacon; Stuart A. Reiss did the imaginative sets, and a team of makeup experts headed by Al Schultz and Dan Striepke did the complex ape makeup and more. Every week, guest stars were employed to play human serfs and apes; the list included Percy Rodrigues, Normal Alden, John Ireland, Zina Bethune, William Smith, Joanna Barnes, Sondra Locke, John Milford, Mikel Conrad, Joseph Ruskin, Beveryly Garland, Anne Seymour, Richard Devon, John Hoyt, Jane Actman, Jacqueline Scott, Roscoe Lee Browne, Jay Robinson, Lonny Chapman, Jerome Thor, Woodrow Parfey, Morgan Woodward and Royal Dano. This was a very fine production, with many values worthy of a feature film; a true collector's item.
CelluloidTime I have just returned from the Chiller Theatre Convention in NJ (April 25, 2004), where my children and I met in person with Ron Harper who played Alan Virdon in the "Planet of the Apes" television series. We encountered a genuinely "good guy", much like the noble character he played on the "Planet of the Apes" television series. The meeting made a favorable impression upon my children -- Mr. Harper's autograph is already framed and hanging on their wall.I enjoyed the "Planet of the Apes" television series as a child when it first aired in 1974, so I was intrigued to watch it again on DVD with my children. After watching the DVDs, I can report that I still enjoy the show. It is a shame that the series only ran for 14 episodes. Perhaps if Galen, Burke, and Virdon had been renewed for another season, the story lines would have broken-free from "The Fugitive"-type theme that dominated its (much too short) run? Even so, some of the episodes were of high quality, and, in my opinion, were actually as good as (if not better than) my two least favorite of the full-length "Planet of The Apes" motion pictures: "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" and "Battle for the Planet of the Apes". In particular, the episodes of the television series which took place within devastated city ruins standout in my mind as quite excellent television productions. I suggest that a single "Best of" DVD be released containing four of the better episodes for those fans who will find the $40 to $50 price tag for the Complete Series too steep.Some have questioned the logical inconsistencies in the television series. They note that some things that happen in the television series contradict things that happened in the films. One problem with their arguments -- with the introduction of time travel, the notion that history can be altered repeatedly by those who travel through time is introduced. Thus, the appearance of a dog in 3085 (the year depicted in the television series) does not contradict the claim made in "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" that all cats and dogs were killed-off in the late-20th Century. Theoretically, a future time traveler might have traveled back in time and caused an event that saved dogs from annihilation. Also, it is conceivable that dogs were re-introduced into society somewhere between the late-20th Century and 3085, as scientific advancements in genetics made it possible. So, there is little merit to the argument that some events depicted in the television series don't jibe with events depicted in the films. I feel that this television series very competently portrayed a believable ape-dominated world of the future. I recommend this box set, but with a caveat -- take your time getting through the 14 episodes, as the underlying "fugitive-on-the-run" theme can get monotonous if you watch all the episodes one-after-another.