Ark II series

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Ark II series

Post  BoG on Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:39 pm

Ark II was a short-lived sci-fi TV series aimed at kids; it originally aired on Saturday mornings in 1976, for a total of 15 episodes. In the premise, it was the 25th century (year 2476 or 500 years after it began to air), after ecological and warfare catastrophes had plunged mankind back to a sort of Dark Ages.  A small group of scientists had developed the machine of the title, a mobile laboratory Landmaster-type vehicle which was operated by 3 young people and a chimp (the chimp was smarter than today's chimps, able to speak a rough language). We never see the scientists or the supposed base from which this great vehicle originated. The mission was to seek out problem areas in this desolate future and remedy the problems, usually involving packs of human scavengers causing some kind of headaches or small-minded tyrants taking advantage of the weak.

The 3 young explorers were Jonah (Terry Lester as the blonde, bearded commander), Ruth (Jean Marie Hon) and Samuel. The chimp's name was Adam (note the biblical names).  It was entertaining for young kids as the rare live action adventure series on Saturday mornings, copying other TV fare such as the TV movies Planet Earth (74) and Strange New World (75), as well as the later Logan's Run series.  There were also theatrical features of the time that this resembled, such as Damnation Alley (77) with its own famous Landmaster vehicle, as well as The Ultimate Warrior (75) and Ravagers (79), though these were obviously much more violent in their depiction of a post-holocaust Earth.  
This was an obvious weakness to the stories in this juvenile series - since there couldn't be violent solutions to getting rid of the scavenger gangs of most episodes, most episodes had an open-ended slant to them. The gangs might have been dealt with temporarily at the end of the episodes, but there was nothing to prevent them from returning and causing further problems a day later, for example. There was also always an excuse to show the jet pack in action; this was the cool one-man flier used by Jonah to scout an area or impress the local natives. There was a similar use of such a gizmo in the Lost in Space series and it's still most famous for being in the pre-credits of the James Bond film Thunderball (1965).
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