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For never was a story of more woe,

Than this of Juliet, and everybody else who's stuck with her in this stupid episode.

By the second year and the twelfth episode, you'd expect them to have some idea of what they're doing; but whoever wrote this script clearly hadn't bothered to read the show bible. That or they hadn't been sent one to begin with. Mark seems to spend several days on dry land, without any mention of needing to breathe water, and his all important sunglasses are absent as well. Suddenly he can breathe air perfectly happily, and the sun no longer hurts his eyes. Did we just teleport into a completely different show for forty-five minutes?!

But anyway. In another of his "swim through a hole in some rocks and find yourself in another world" adventures, Mark swims through a hole in some rocks and finds himself in another world. In this instance he gets zapped through a magic fountain into the middle of the plot of Romeo & Juliet; except that here they're grown ups and not teenagers. You know, every time I think I'm immune to the hopelessness of Man From Atlantis, it manages to spring new levels of bad upon me. This episode is no exception. How can a show in which a water-breathing man finds magical worlds hidden under the sea possibly be so unengaging? Did they have to try really hard to make it so dull? There's some nice fights this time, and there's even a bit of sword play - which can never, ever be a bad thing - but even that's not enough to save this. It's just a complete mess from start to finish.

There's nothing wrong with swimming through a hole in some rocks and finding yourself in Mediaeval Europe. Quite the opposite. Given how much I loved season one of Primeval, in which people regularly walked through holes in thin air and found themselves in the ancient past, I couldn't complain about the concept even if I wanted to. I'm not going to object to the bad guy being named "Tibble", even though it makes him sound like somebody's pet cat. I'm not even going to bother objecting to the bloody silly submarine, and the utter uselessness of Elizabeth. I've already done that. And probably will again. Forgetting that Mark needs to breathe water, however, I certainly am going to object to. It's the entire point of the character! If the story was strong enough, I might be willing to cut the writer a little slack, but it's not. Not even nearly.

Back in the plot, despite everything that they've gone through so far, and the other odd things that Mark has found under the sea, Elizabeth refuses to believe that he's found himself in Inexplicable Romeo & Juliet Land. She insists that he must have dreamt it all. Because he's so familiar with human culture, presumably, him having only recently washed up, and not getting any other pop culture references at all, ever. Still, you can't blame the poor woman for arguing. What else has she got to do? There they all are, her and the rest of the submarine crew, floating at the bottom of the sea every week, waiting for Mark to finish having his adventures so that they can drive him home. Life is so enthralling for them. They're never allowed to leave the sub, they're never given much of anything to say, they just have their little buttons to press. I'd argue over stupid things too, if I was them.

That's pretty much it, really. The end of the story gets rewritten, as Mark is able to prevent Romeo and Juliet from committing suicide, and they go off to live happily ever after somewhere safe. Not sure how far away they can go, though. Is it actually Mediaeval Europe that they're in, or just a bit of it that's hidden under the sea? Because if it's the latter, they're pretty limited as to how far away from Verona they can move. Unless all these undersea worlds are actual full-sized worlds, of course. We're never really told anything about that, so I guess it's all up to the viewer.

Always supposing that the viewer cares enough to give it that much thought.

Comments

( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
crabby_lioness
Apr. 17th, 2011 01:35 am (UTC)
I wondered when you'd get to this one. Even my kid self thought it set new standards for bad.
swordznsorcery
Apr. 17th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
It's not the worst one, though! I really want to like this show, but it's doing its very best to make sure that I don't.
crabby_lioness
Apr. 18th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
According to some of the stories Patrick Duffy has told over the years, the staff didn't have a clue what they were doing. Not a clue.
swordznsorcery
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)
I wish I could say I'm surprised.
elenopa
Apr. 17th, 2011 10:49 am (UTC)
This show got to two seasons?

I really don't remember any of this, but I know I watched it.

Remembering other shows of my youth, do you remember 'The Gemini Man'? That was one about the guy who could turn himself invisible, but only for a certain amount a day. He had a special watch with a button to press for the switch.
swordznsorcery
Apr. 17th, 2011 02:31 pm (UTC)
Technically it had two seasons, yes. The first four episodes were movie length, and aired in 1977; then the series proper aired in 1978, according to the TX dates on various series guides around the Net.

"The Gemini Man" I haven't seen properly, but the pilot movie airs every so often on Channel 5. The star was Ben Murphy, who I know a lot better from "Alias Smith & Jones". It was a little too jokey for my tastes, like its stable-mate, "The Invisible Man", but it seems to have been very popular. Quite short-lived, though. Seems that fantasy and sci-fi have always had a hard time on TV.
ladygretchen
Apr. 18th, 2011 05:20 am (UTC)
Yep, I have to say this was my least favorite episode...and CW Hyde. arrh! They really pushed the boundaries with Mark and I was literally gasping for air FOR HIM so he could find some water. Ooh, I'd love to read Patrick Duffy's stories. I know he has a deep appreciation for the show and it's concept-and it was his big break, but yeah, they needed to get themselves together.
( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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