How to ruin something

I was watching this fantastic intro to one of my favorite tv shows of all time, Land of the Lost, when I saw this 1991 remake linked in the related content. This seems like a How-Not-To guide for remakes.

The new lyrics have the same simple honesty of "Marshall, Will and Holly, on a routine expedtion..." but lack the magic.

This world is strange and new

see the triple moons,

but don't you turn your back or

you'll become a snack

Cuz some Tyrannosaurus

could be hungry for us


  1. At Dragon Con this year, David Gerrold mentioned how there had been some rumblings about a LAND OF THE LOST reboot (probably around the time of the Will Ferrell version), but it seems to have gone into development limbo.

      1. That’s just privilege speaking. Not everyone has the resources to download BB’s current background image. It’s 29KB!!!

    1.  Not if those GIFs look like games like Loom.
      BB´s star background reminds me of Loom.
      And I freaking loved Loom.

  2.  I watched a couple of episodes of this. Realized they had serious creative problems when they showed the characters scaring off a T-Rex with current from a car battery running through aluminum foil.

  3. Personally, I’m with Adam Carolla on this one… Sid and Marty Krofft were hacks and the only reason why their stuff was “popular” was because there was nothing else on TV.

      1. I used to like him. He seemed like a nice guy. Now he’s in the bin labelled Dennis Miller, Victoria Jackson, etc.

        1. Corolla always had a hostile edge.  He had a couple weeks of popularity with the wingnuts, but maybe someone told them Adam is a really angry militant dickish atheist.

    1.  Well they WERE hacks, and yet…certainly even as a kid I was of the opinion that LOTL had writing that was vastly superior to say, Far  Out Space Nuts.  Kids fare sure, but ALMOST actually good.  And compare the stop motion of the original to the puppets of the remake. Even if the puppets don’t look much worse, the fact that they spent the money on stop motion in the original showed that they were really trying.

  4. The only issue I have with the ABC remake theme is the 80s/90s-era sensibilities. A bunch of shows from that era have themes with an appealing, music bed but terrible vocal mix that requires a lyric sheet to be heard.

    Other examples of this is DIC’s ” The Littles,” ”New Archies,” Saban’s ” Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers,” or ”Pokemon.”

    Examples where a kids show opening works may include, PBS’s ”3-2-1 Contact,” DIC’s ”ALF,” Sid and Marty Kroft’s ”Lidsville,” or Sunbow’s ”The Great Space Coaster”

    The show that does the best job with its intro music would have to be ”Dr. Science.” Look it up. Its the best.

  5. Hated the remake, loved the original… to a point. The actual original show ruined itself in its third season, when Spencer Milligan left. The first season or two had scripts by actual SF writers (Larry Niven and Theodore Sturgeon among them), but boy did things get dumb in Season Three. The acting was always, well, unsubtle… like a fine science fiction telenovela or something. But the geektastic intelligence of earlier plots (like Enik discovering his “primitive ancestors” the Sleestak were actually his degenerate descendants, which depressed the hell out of the arrogant li’l Altrusian, or the Season One finale which revealed the Marshalls were caught in a time loop which meant they were perfectly capable of leaving whenever their earlier selves arrived, which made sense but you kinda had to be there) was abandoned in favor of unrelenting hackery including Richard Kiel as a cruel and imposing but easily tricked Cro-Magnon who inexplicably spoke English about as well as you could expect any Richard Kiel character to speak, a fire-breathing dimetrodon named Torchy (which admittedly struck me as beyond awesome when I was six), two appearances by a Yeti which never scared Holly half so much as everything else in the Land did, and a Victorian balloonist who schemed to kidnap Cha-Ka and display him to paying audiences at two bits a head. Even the dinosaur FX suffered. I think someone must have lost or stolen or sat on the Grumpy tyrannosaur puppet head, since every close-up shot in Season Three which in the first two seasons should have featured the Grumpy tyrannosaur hand puppet, instead featured the green “Big Alice” allosaur puppet… even in the main title sequence.

    I tried to watch the 1991 remake, but couldn’t do it. Man, it blew hard.

    I’d pay cash money to see a serious reboot of the 1974 LotL. The movie was a seriously wasted opportunity. It should have gotten a Battlestar Galactica reboot treatment. The concept has more entertainment potential as halfway-serious SF/Fantasy than it did as Gen-X nostalgia spoof.

  6. I’m curious the age of everyone making those comments. I remember watching the 91 version as a kid, not knowing there was another, and loving it. 

      1. I was totally the target audience for the original: 5 years old during Season One.  But if you get a chance, watch a few episodes from the first or second season.  The chroma-key effects are dated, sure, and the acting is incredibly over-the-top, but the stories are generally quite entertaining.  Among the writers you had at least three Star Trek veterans in David Gerrold, Dorothy Fontana, and Walter Koenig, plus you also had three scripts from Larry Niven and at least one each from Theodore Sturgeon, Ben Bova, and Norman Spinrad.  I don’t believe the 1991 version can claim such credentials.

  7. The Slestak really made the show because the show wasn’t just about being chased by dinosaurs, it added all sorts of ambiguity and mystery and other-worldliness.

    1. I read somewhere that they only had 3 sleestak costumes, so you never see more than three of them in any scene.

      1. It’s true, they had one short Enik outfit and three tall Sleestak outfits.  No matter how big the Sleestak army any particular episode called for, you never saw more than 3 in any given shot.  I just watched all three seasons with my kids last month, so my memory is relatively fresh on that point.  It was weird how the budget was allocated.  Even though they built a few new sets for Season Three (since an earthquake destroyed their old High Bluff cave in the season premiere), they skimped on lots of things.  And I’m serious about Grumpy’s head.  The stop-motion puppet was still around in Season Three, though you didn’t see it much (Torchy became the favorite dinosaur villain, even taking over Grumpy’s distinctive roar), but every single time you saw a close-up of Grumpy where they used the hand puppet, it was either a recycled stock shot from the first two seasons, or the Big Alice puppet.  Like they thought we wouldn’t notice.

        How expensive could it have been to make a new Grumpy puppet?

  8. I’m in my forties, so I’m going to stick with my age group and prefer the ’74 version, even thought the 91 version has the same cheesy vibe. (Also, I don’t know what’s not to love about the lyrics to the ’91 show.)

    Final argument: banjos + life raft > no banjos + SUV.

  9. I was 11 when it aired. I was raised on Ray Harryhausen so I wasn’t impressed in that regard. I recall realizing it was shlock but watched it anyway. Back then it was slim pickens on a Saturday morning.

  10. You only like the older version because it’s the version you watched as a kid. They are both pretty crappy kid’s TV. As someone else pointed out, nostalgia is indeed a hell of a drug.

    1. I really don’t see how the 1991 intro remake is so terrible.  I mean, even while I was watching the 1977 intro as a kid I thought: this is one crappy intro.  The greenscreen effect with the river, the obvious miniatures that were supposed to be gigantic– c’mon, were they even trying? The only reason I tolerated it was because I liked the storylines: pylons, sleestaks, alternative universes.

      Thread Hijack Alert: If you want to go off on Terrible Intros, I can write a book on how bad the intro for “Star Trek: Enterprise” was.

    2.  It really is a drug. If I relax and close my eyes and call up a few images from my first movie viewing experience (pre-TV), I am gripped with synesthesia. For a few moments I literally smell the theater, feel the air pressure and temperature, and hear a few notes of speaker music. No other memory does this. It’s a unique and wonderful trip and I wish there were more of them.

  11. Haven’t seen this since I was a kid but if they’re on a rafting trip, why on Earth are they wearing what appear to be aircraft emergency life vests?  Pretty sure river rafting vests even from that era didn’t have little red inflation tubes on the chest.

  12. I used to watch the 90s version, probably being 11-12 years old at the time.  It was by no means my favorite show or anything, but it was entertaining, and had a catchy intro song.  Given that it ran for two seasons (three for the original), it couldn’t have been as bad as some might make it out to be.

  13. Bill Lambeer was a sleestak.

    It’s not the power of nostalgia, but the power of suspension of disbelief that really powers the show.

    If you’re not willing to do that, and engage the story, then I am afraid you’re lost. Turn in your Star Trek. Hand over your Wookie. Stop saying how dreamy that Cullen boy is. Put your Tolkein in the trash bin. Zombies? ZMOG! No! While we’re at it, nobody is going to buy a story about a moody emo teenager dressing in black and talking to skulls seeing ghosts because he thinks his uncle is going to kill him and already got his dad, so get rid of that Shakespeare, too. Disney!? Dumpster, please!

    It is through the suspension of disbelief that we engage and empower our imagination. Consider the not currently possible as possible. To expand beyond a purely empirical data driven perception of reality and expand our minds, and thereby the *actual* realm of possibility through invention.

    But then, some folk’ll just say the best way to introduce the concept of a pocket universe is to give the kids the topology book and a calculus text and figure it out on their own.

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