The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries 1.10 – Mystery of the Fallen Angels

The previous episode of Nancy Drew was full of established Hollywood stars making guest appearances, but this morning’s story was full of up-and-comers. Cast as four motorcycle-riding carnival workers who have a job on the side heisting appliances from fancy houses, there are two of the stars of Jason of Star Command, which would begin production a little more than a year later: Craig Littler and Susan O’Hanlon. Perhaps better known are the other two members of the gang: Jamie Lee Curtis and Robert Englund. Beverly Garland also has a major role in this story, but she was no up-and-comer; she probably had more than two hundred credits by the time she’d made this.

Also appearing, the Universal backlot. Well, it gets used in most of these episodes, but I don’t remember ever seeing it from this angle before. The carnival sets up on the other side of the studio pond, so the cameras are facing the “quaint coastal western” buildings and the riverboat, leading any viewer paying attention to ask the not unreasonable question where on Earth, other than a studio backlot, this carnival could possibly be. The actual story was just a bit of harmless fluff, but our son really enjoyed all the motorcycle stuff, including a big chase at the end that saw one or two of the “try your luck” stands destroyed by runaway bikes.

Speaking of Nancy Drew, we genuinely had no idea until yesterday that a new Nancy Drew film was released literally a month ago. I found the DVD at Target yesterday. Has anybody heard of this film? The 2007 movie with Emma Roberts has been on the “maybe” list to watch with our son for a while. Should we look at this one as well?

Buck Rogers 1.9 – Unchained Woman

Once again, a not-too-bad episode of this show gets a title so lurid it’s downright embarrassing. Guest star Jamie Lee Curtis is the unchained woman in question, because Buck breaks her out of a prison. It’s not a tawdry seventies exploitation prison as seen in some skeezy Filipino-made movie; it’s a perfectly civilized prison where everybody keeps their clothes on and are overseen by android guards.

Because 25th Century Earth is, as I’ve mentioned, 1970s America, Buck’s in the prison break business because the planet Zeta refuses to comply with Earth’s demands that they extradite Curtis’s character. That means Dr. Huer has no choice but to blow up their prison and release all the convicts. Zeta made him do it.

Despite the very questionable politics, it’s not bad. Our son loved the prison break and I enjoyed the android who pursues Buck across the desert to a small frontier town. He makes a rather grand entrance when everybody’s having a standoff with guns drawn, as though a menace from the earlier part of the story is telling the narrative that his role isn’t finished yet, no matter how much the other characters are ready to move on.