Tag Archives: logan’s run

Logan’s Run 1.9 – The Judas Goat

I wasn’t very interested in the previous episode of Logan’s Run while our son enjoyed it, and tonight’s was one that I quite liked while he grumbled “This is the wrong episode for me.” He wasn’t interested in this at all. In it, the Sandmen use that face-change machine shown in the movie to give a Sandman the face of Hal 14, a dissident that Jessica knows, hoping that he can find Logan outside and persuade our heroes to return and become the figureheads of a (non-existent) rebellion.

But things get complicated in a very unexpected way. Logan, Jessica, and Rem are considering returning to the City of Domes when they get captured by the very first known runner to escape, a guy named Matthew. He has enslaved a small group of simple farmers who see him as their provider, and guard his complex in exchange for a daily hour of computer-controlled “joy.” It’s a complex and clever story with a couple of satisfying twists by John Meredyth Lucas, who had written a few episodes of Star Trek, Mannix, and The Six Million Dollar Man.

The most interesting bit for me, however, was the casting. The Sandman wearing Hal 14’s face is Nicholas Hammond, who was occasionally appearing in CBS’s Amazing Spider-Man specials at this time, and the lead slave, Garth, is played by Spencer Milligan, who had left Land of the Lost a couple of years before. So here’s a rare picture of three seventies sci-fi leading men all in the same TV episode!

Leave a comment

Filed under logan's run

Logan’s Run 1.8 – Fear Factor

Most of these episodes have been a very pleasant surprise, with even the weaker episodes better than I’d figured they would be. “Fear Factor” is a pretty weak one, though. Jared Martin plays our heroes’ ally in a weird community where a so-called doctor is trying to neutralize all the compassion of the people in his clinic and turn everyone into perfectly reasonable worker drones who don’t question anything. Not a bad premise, I guess, but it isn’t explored or developed. He’s trying to build an army, but he doesn’t know who they’re meant to fight. The most memorable scenes are set in some underground red hallways where the doctor is testing Logan’s bravery, precisely the same sort of test that Lex Luthor tried on Superman in the 1978 movie.

Our son really enjoyed it, however. At one point, Rem and one of the doctors get into a mental tug-of-war while wearing sci-fi headbands and he was hopping in his seat while drumming his legs he was so excited. Nice to have one of us be so excited by the experience.

The episode was written by John Sherlock, which certainly sounds like a pseudonym, and this seems to be his only screen credit, he is probably better remembered for his novels, which include 1964’s The Ordeal of Major Grigsby and 1986’s Golden Mile. A 1997 report in The Irish Times suggests that he credited himself as a “creative consultant” on several other movies and TV shows even if the Writer’s Guild doesn’t seem to have done that.

Leave a comment

Filed under logan's run

Logan’s Run 1.7 – Crypt

The grown-ups in the room sat up straight when we saw Harlan Ellison’s name in the credits. He wrote the original story of “Crypt,” with Al Hayes finishing the teleplay, and Ellison can typically be relied upon for something very interesting. He contributed a story with six scientists, frozen in cryogenic sleep for two hundred years and all suffering from an ancient plague, awakened today with only enough anti-toxin for three of them. Complications ensue when one of the six might be an impostor. One of the six is definitely a murderer, and then there were five.

I think the grown-ups might have been more entertained than our six year-old critic. The moral dilemma surrounding who will live was a bit over his head, and he also immediately identified the impostor. I’m not sure how he was able to nail his guess so accurately, but whodunits often lose their luster once you figure ’em out.

Of minor note: one of the six scientists is an engineer played by Christopher Stone, who was apparently contractually bound to appear as a guest star on every single prime-time drama made for American TV in the seventies. You know that guy with a mustache who was always being aggressive and rude? That guy. I believe we’ll see him again once or twice down the line.

Leave a comment

Filed under logan's run

Logan’s Run 1.6 – Half Life

This is a pretty good episode. It was written by Shimon Wincelberg, toward the end of his very long writing career – he’s probably best known today for his scripts for Star Trek and Have Gun, Will Travel – and guest-starred Kim Cattrall, toward the beginning of her very long acting career. It’s clumsy and simplistic, and the idea of a machine that splits people into “good” and “evil” versions while simultaneously copying their clothes is pretty darn silly, but it was entertaining enough. I really enjoyed the goofy disco lava light special effects generated by the machine, and the crazy kaleidoscope of Heather Menzies’ face, which looked like a bad acid trip, man.

As nice as it always is to look at Kim Cattrall, the really interesting guest star is William Smith, who was between recurring parts on several episodes each of Rich Man, Poor Man and Hawaii Five-O at the time this was made. Smith gets to play the leader of the ostensibly “good” community and the leader of the outcast “evil” community, but of course it’s the good guy who’s the villain and the cast-out who’s trying to do the right thing. It’s a great pair of performances, and, sensibly, the script may be about a silly machine, but Wincelberg was an intelligent enough writer to not hammer that point home.

We joked about the likelihood of splitting our son into two people. In a weird little coincidence, we watched this the same day that he saw an episode of the Teen Titans Go! cartoon in which Cyborg and Beast Boy start making magic duplicates of themselves so they could be lazy. We concluded that just one version of our son will do.

Leave a comment

Filed under logan's run

Logan’s Run 1.5 – Man Out of Time

Holy anna! Knock me over with a feather, because this episode of Logan’s Run is no-kidding terrific. We’ve been watching this show with slightly raised eyebrows, trying to enjoy it on its own humble terms, but this one’s fabulous. It’s about a guy from the 22nd Century who travels two hundred years into the future and meets up with our heroes, looking for his own version of Sanctuary.

It turns out that he’s one of a group of scientists who have been predicting the forthcoming nuclear war – remember, if you can, that in 1977, we were all pretty preoccupied with the likelihood that such a war wasn’t going to wait until 2118 to erupt – and have locked away a computer to process everything up until the inevitable bombs shut off the power. So he pops to the 24th Century to get the tapes, running afoul of the people in a well-meaning but illiterate farming community, led by Mel Ferrer, who worship the dormant computers.

It’s mainly only dated by the design. I kind of doubt that people in 2118 will still be using reel-to-reel magnetic tape, and I absolutely don’t believe that the tapes will still be in one piece in 2318. Otherwise, this really does a great job addressing the moral dilemma at the core and questioning whether the scientist could possibly prevent anything. I was loving this, beyond any notion that I might, even before the final twist, which is a downright delicious little humdinger.

I hopped on IMDB to find out what else for television this show’s writer, Noah Ward, had done. Turned out it was a pseudonym for David Gerrold, who’d spent 1974 screwing with kids’ heads by way of the time paradoxes in the first season of Land of the Lost. (In point of fact, I’d been drawing specific comparisons to the episode “The Stranger,” which Walter Koenig had written for Gerrold, already.) Man alive. If I’d seen his actual name in the credits, I’d have sat up straight and expected greatness. As it was, the quality of the story got my attention just fine with a false credit. What a fun hour!

Our son thought it was sad and weird, and then Mommy started confusing him with paradoxes with a twinkle in her eye.

Leave a comment

Filed under logan's run

Logan’s Run 1.4 – The Innocent

Logan and Jessica’s sheltered upbringing in the City of Domes helps to complicate this story by D.C. Fontana and Ray Brenner. On the one hand, if only they’d seen that episode of Twilight Zone where Billy Mumy keeps sending people into the cornfield, they’d have figured out that they needed to treat nineteen year-old Lisa, who lives alone in a bunker with a couple of robots, with kid gloves.

But there’s also the reality that the movie only glanced at and the TV show certainly never addressed: in Logan’s world, nineteen year-olds certainly seem to be very sexually active. Their world isn’t one where people seem to fall in love or forge committed relationships or acknowledge jealousy. But because Gregory Harrison has to play the part of a morally upright character, a hero in a TV series for kids in 1977, the subject of sex never comes up, but rather the importance of taking time to get to know people before you decide that you “like” them.

Because Logan’s a hero, he also asks Lisa to release the pursuing Sandmen from her version of the cornfield a day after they leave. To be blunt, that’s awful stupid of you, Moral Boy.

Lisa is played by Lisa Eilbacher, who we saw almost a year ago in that episode of Shazam! with the dune buggy. It’s kind of a thankless part, a psychokinetic girl who hasn’t had a conversation with another human in fifteen years and is hurting from puppy love, but it’s pitched perfectly toward kids. Ours really enjoyed this, even if, again, the grown-ups have seen this all before. I wouldn’t mind a surprise next time.

Leave a comment

Filed under logan's run

Logan’s Run 1.3 – Capture

Many shows in the seventies would have, instead of a pre-titles scene, a little teaser reel of bits from the episode you’re about to watch. Columbo did this, and so did The Rockford Files, often to good effect.

Unfortunately, somebody made the dumb decision to do that with this series and give away the big plot reveal, that Jessica has not actually been kidnapped by slave-trading mutants who live by a nearby swamp, but by a sadistic and downright demented couple who play “the most dangerous game.” They’re played by Horst Buchholz, who we saw in The Amazing Captain Nemo just four days ago, and Mary Woronov, who Goff and Roberts had cast in the legendary “Angels in Chains” episode of Charlie’s Angels the year before.

I was actively bothered by the spoiler. I don’t know why it aggravated me so much, but the episode didn’t have anything to keep my attention – “man is the most dangerous animal of all!” has never been a plot trope I enjoy – so my mind wandered and I imagined a different clip reel that suggested it was about Logan and Francis teaming up in a desperate bid to save Jessica, so that when the villains revealed their plans, it would have been a nasty surprise.

Leave a comment

Filed under logan's run

Logan’s Run 1.2 – The Collectors

You sort of get the idea that television in the seventies, back when they were making shows that could be run in whatever random order any goon at a TV station could show it, simply didn’t try very hard to find any internal consistency from episode to episode. This is only the second installment shown, but just like you could tune into any random episode of The Fugitive and understand the premise and watch David Janssen look like he’d been on the run forever, all the characters act like they’ve been looking for Sanctuary for many months and had all sorts of adventures we didn’t see.

Logan and Jessica also act far more intelligently and with more awareness than anybody who’s lived their lives in the sheltered upbringing that they’d had. They get caught by humanoid-looking aliens who are collecting specimens two-by-two throughout the galaxy, which I’d have thought would be the sort of premise that our heroes would have considerable trouble understanding. I guess Rem gave them a crash course in juvenile sci-fi sometime in those many months of stories we never saw, because Logan’s plan to make the baddies’ home planet believe this ship couldn’t escape Earth’s gravity is a pretty tall order for somebody who only learned the air outside his city wasn’t poisonous just a week previously.

Anyway, this is pretty silly and didn’t engage me very much, except for Rem, who is by far the most interesting, curious, and resourceful of the trio. The story is by James Schmerer, who had produced the final two seasons of the western drama The High Chapparal for NBC, but may have become acquainted with D.C. Fontana by contributing a script to the Star Trek cartoon in 1973. Among the guest stars playing the disguised-as-Earthings aliens, there’s Leslie Parrish in one of her final acting roles (she retired in 1978), and Angela Cartwright, who had played Penny in Lost in Space.

Leave a comment

Filed under logan's run