Land of the Lost 1.2 – The Sleestak God

Our son was so brave tonight. I convinced myself some time ago that we’d have problems with this episode, but he handled it almost stoically, blanket held tightly, biting his lip. About twenty seconds before the Sleestak emerged from their hiding places, he was worried for a completely different reason: “They’re lost!”

Then the bad boys of Saturday morning showed up. “WHAT ARE THOSE?!” Daniel demanded, retreating to Mommy’s lap.

The original three Sleestak, incidentally, were all basketball players who went on to pro careers. John Lambert played for UCLA, and David Greenwood and Bill Laimbeer were still in high school, but were each close to seven feet tall, ideal for great big ungainly green monsters. Playing for Detroit some years later, Laimbeer was probably even meaner to his opponents than he was in his Sleestak costume on set.

You know, this show kind of has a reputation, mostly deserved, for being sort of rudimentary in direction. But the climactic scene of Rick and Cha-Ka rescuing Will and Holly from the Sleestak has a pretty amazing sense of urgency. Dennis Steinmetz directed this, and about half of season one overall, and despite a tiny continuity flaw that happens when the nearly-extinguished torch that Rick is carrying in the tunnel becomes a roaring, flaming threat when he enters the sacrifice room, the sequence is really amazing, with lots of quick cuts and close-ups of the looming monsters.

The other thing I noticed: Kathy Coleman spends much of season one being really annoying when she’s whining. But on the other hand, watch this with a kid. The whimpering really emphasizes how much trouble they’re in, and kept our four year-old riveted and electrified.

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