The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries 2.13 – The Lady on Thursday at Ten

I’d like nothing better than to say that the Nancy Drew episodes were the best of this series, but that simply isn’t the case. The Hardy Boys segments this season, without the character, have been far better every time, and while some have been pretty dopey, a couple of them have been surprisingly intelligent and entertaining. So I honestly won’t be sorry to see Nancy go. The only stories of hers that I liked were in the first season. And so tonight’s show was the final solo outing for the character, and the last appearance of Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy, as she declined to continue as a guest star in what had been sold as a show that was one-half hers.

Marie wondered whether ABC and Universal decided to cancel her solo outings because they were of such remarkably lower quality than the Hardy Boys segments. My gut tells me – without any genuine black and white evidence – that the predominantly tween girls in the audience wanted to see Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson first and foremost, and weren’t interested when they weren’t on. I can’t even protest that surely some girls were tuning in for a positive female role model, because the Nancy of year two is not one. She’s unlikeable, illogical, muleheaded, and the way she destroys evidence at crime scenes is pretty amazing. So maybe the girls of 1978 were being superficial in only wanting to watch the dreamy guys, but who can blame them?

Guest starring in this last solo case of Nancy’s, there’s Nicholas Hammond and Simon Oakland, pretending to be policemen when they’re really criminals, and Los Angeles, pretending to be Manhattan when it is most emphatically Los Angeles. Television producers spent a lot of time in the seventies and eighties pretending that southern California was anyplace else, and I have spent a lot of time giggling about it when they fumbled, but…

…the episode begins with Nancy driving through Times Square at night, and she’s hopelessly lost, so every time she comes to a red light, she consults what appears to be a road map of Passaic County, probably because that’s the best the props department could do. You can make out Wanaque and Oakland on it. And it continues the following day, through palm trees and giant open skies and an ornately-designed police precinct that Barney Miller and Kojak couldn’t have dreamed they’d ever have worked from. The Hardy Boys were more successful in convincing me that they were in Egypt and Kenya this season. I look forward to seeing more from that show. It may be a kids’ show, but that crew was trying harder.

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!