Land of the Giants

Land of the Giants
Landofgiants.gif
GenreScience fiction
Created byIrwin Allen
Directed byHarry Harris
Irwin Allen
Sobey Martin
Nathan Juran
StarringGary Conway
Don Matheson
Kurt Kasznar
Don Marshall
Stefan Arngrim
Deanna Lund
Heather Young
Theme music composerJohn Williams
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes51 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Irwin Allen[1]
Producer(s)Irwin Allen
Running time60 minutes (including commercials)
Production company(s)Irwin Allen Productions
Kent Productions
Distributor20th Century-Fox Television
(1970–1971)
20th Television (current)
Release
Original networkABC
Picture format1.33 : 1
Audio formatWebsite

Land of the Giants is an hour-long American science fiction television program lasting two seasons beginning on September 22, 1968, and ending on March 22, 1970. The show was created and produced by Irwin Allen. Land of the Giants was the fourth of Allen's science fiction TV series. The show was aired on ABC and released by 20th Century Fox Television. The series was filmed entirely in color and ran for 51 episodes. The show starred Gary Conway and special guest star Kurt Kasznar.

Five novels based on the television series, including three written by acclaimed science fiction author Murray Leinster, were published in 1968 and 1969.[2]

Show premise

The travelers are trapped in a giant zoo.

Set fifteen years in the then future year 1983, the series tells the tale of the crew and passengers of a sub-orbital transport ship named Spindrift. In the pilot episode, the Spindrift is en route from Los Angeles to London, on an ultra fast sub-orbital flight. Just beyond Earth's boundary with space, the Spindrift encounters a magnetic space storm, and is dragged through a space warp to a mysterious planet where everything is twelve times larger than on Earth, whose inhabitants the Earthlings nickname "the Giants." The Spindrift crash-lands, and the damage renders it inoperable.

Very little is known about the home planet of the Giants. This is partially because the Spindrift crew very seldom leave the area where their spaceship crashes in the opening episode. Only two other (unidentified) giant societies are ever seen, in the episodes "The Land of the Lost" and "The Secret City of Limbo."

No name is ever established for the mysterious planet, but the inhabitants seem to know of Earth, Venus and Mars, referring to them by name in one episode. Exactly where the planet is located is also never made clear. In the episode "On a Clear Night You Can See Earth," Captain Steve Burton (Gary Conway) claims to have seen Earth through a set of infrared goggles invented by the giants, implying that the two planets are near enough to see one from the other. The only established method by which Earth people may reach the giants' planet is high-altitude flight, passing through what one giant calls a "dimension lock".

Although various episodes establish that at least six other flights have landed on the planet, no episode confirms anyone ever returning to Earth. The first mention of other visitors from Earth was in episode 2, "Ghost Town," in which another ship was said to have crashed long ago without any survivors. In episode 4, "Underground," another Earth ship is described as crashing three years previously, again with no survivors.

Several episodes show crews surviving the initial crash, only to be killed later. The episode "Brainwash" has a crew of little people surviving long enough to build a radio station that can communicate with Earth. They are killed shortly after that. The episodes "Golden Cage" and "The Lost Ones" show there have been a few survivors of other crashes. Only the Spindrift crew seems to have survived for long with its party intact.

One continent, or hemisphere, is dominated by an authoritarian government which tolerates full freedoms within a capitalist system, but it does not tolerate any effort to effect political change. Exactly what the political situation is on other continents is not known, although at least one overseas land has a despotic ruler. The Air Traffic Control tells those who venture out to sea that they should turn back, that nothing beyond that sea has been explored nor is there current contact; whether this is an official government line or the truth is not known.

Culturally, the Giant society closely resembles the contemporary United States of 1968 (in various episodes it has a police force, private hospitals, prisons, a State Governor, radio and television services, a zoo, jazz clubs, even a racetrack – and the Giants speak English, drive American cars, attend Vaudeville-style theatres, and even play chess). The Earth people find themselves able to cope, and their efforts to get around are facilitated by the ubiquity of large drains leading directly from interior rooms to the pavement, in an outside wall of most buildings. The Giant government has offered a reward for the capture of the small Earth people (whom the Giants call the little people).

In spite of the authoritarianism, there are several dissident movements at work that either help other dissenters (such as the Earth people) or are actively working to unseat the ruling party. The government has established the SID, Special Investigations Department, to deal with assorted dissidents but it also takes the lead in dealing with the Earth people. The Giant technology mostly resembles mid-20th century Earth, but inconsistently: significantly more advanced in some episodes (e.g. cloning, cybernetics, force fields, magnetic stunners, androids, and teleporters) and slightly behind in others (no microelectronics, hearing aids, or manned space flight).

The little people's objectives are: (1) survival, by obtaining food and avoiding capture by the Giants or attacks from animals, such as cats and dogs; and (2) repair of their spacecraft, so they can attempt to return to Earth. They largely manage to survive by the help of sympathizers and stealth, making the most of their small size, plus their ingenuity in using their technology where it's superior to that of the Giants.

They do not achieve the second objective, as the primary systems of the craft are severely damaged, although in some episodes (including "The Flight Plan") Burton implies it is only a lack of fuel which prevents the ship lifting off. The secondary systems are insufficient to enable them to achieve the sub-orbital flight required. They are unable to use Giant technology, as it is bulky and less advanced; in one episode an experimental nuclear reactor, provided by an engineering student, produces dangerous side effects and is prone to overloading. They also cannot trust the Giants, who in another episode ("Target: Earth") offer the little people a ride home in exchange for technical assistance with their space program, but then double-cross them.

They are aided in the first goal, and at least somewhat hindered in the second, by the leadership of Captain Burton. He behaves as a leader, and as protector to the passengers and crew, and his leadership has rescued them from some difficulties. But Burton also tries to keep the Giants from ever reaching Earth. In the episode "Brainwash," Giant police officer Ashim (Warren Stevens) says "Maybe we can find the home planet of these little people. It may be a very tiny world, but rich beyond our dreams." In several episodes, Burton puts keeping the Giants away from Earth above the need to get his people home. At the end of those episodes, he destroys devices that would get the Spindrift back to Earth but which would probably enable the Giants to journey there too.

Episodes often have the Giants capturing one of the passengers or crew, with the rest having to effect a rescue. The Earth people avoid capture most of the time, because their spaceship is hidden in a wood (in several episodes, described by the Giants as a park) outside the city limits. They also occasionally form alliances with individual Giants for some common beneficial purpose.

The show had no proper conclusion about the humans' attempts to return to Earth, and the final episode, "Graveyard of Fools," was a universal tale that could have taken place anytime in the second season. The penultimate episode, "Wild Journey" (guest starring Bruce Dern), has Steve and Dan using alien technology to travel back in time to Earth just a few hours before their ill-fated flight. In a storyline lifted from the Lost In Space episode "The Time Merchant," they attempt to alter the timeline but only succeed in ensuring that the events of the first episode, "The Crash," take place (footage from the pilot, where Spindrift becomes lost, is included in this episode), creating a Twilight Zone-style twist ending, with the impression of a recurring cycle of inevitable events.

The first season comprised a regular 26 episodes, but season two was left one episode short, having only 25 episodes, leaving the impression that "Graveyard of Fools" was not originally intended to be the final episode of the season. The show thus comprises only 51 episodes (or 52 episodes including the unaired pilot).

Other Languages
日本語: 巨人の惑星
português: Land of the Giants
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Land of the Giants