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Thunder In Paradise #13

"Endangered Species", then, which as cult TV fans will know, started out in life as the episode "Female Of The Species", over on Manimal. In that show, wild boy Jonathon Chase falls for a young woman who has been raised by wolves. She appeals to the animal in him, and he appeals to the animal in her. Eventually, after several murder attempts, and Jonathon turning into a number of beasties, she gets packed off somewhere where she can come to terms with being human again. It all goes well, despite the presence of Melody Anderson's appallingly useless cop Brooke McKenzie. Here there are no such hindrances. Instead we get manatees. This is definitely better than Melody Anderson, and the manatees act better, too.

So, the boys and Kelly are putting out signs designating certain areas as 'Manatee Zones', requiring boats to slow down in the area. Meanwhile, a gang of poachers are chasing wolves in a nearby forest. One of the wolves is not a wolf, however. It's a small, growly boy with a truly impressive tangle of hair. The poachers capture him, but when they then speed through a newly designated Manatee Zone, and nearly scalp the local residents, Spence and Bru give chase. They rescue the wolf boy, and the episode begins to blur neatly with its eighties predecessor. Where once Jonathon and Brooke (why Brooke? What's her interest?) went to a presentation on Wolf Girl and her situation, here Spence and Kelly go along to a presentation to find out how their little boy is getting along. In both cases a man turns up and throws an incendiary device at the respective Wolf People, in an effort to barbecue them. Wolf Girl ran off in a panic, to be pursued by Brooke with police siren blaring, apparently in the view that this would help to calm a terrified young woman. Wolf Boy runs off into a gang of Hells Angels. Jonathon changed into a hawk to fly after Wolf Girl, then into a panther to gain her trust. Spence just beats the living daylights out of the Hells Angels, then pretty much kidnaps Wolf Boy. Wolf Boy does not object, however, for he has a nice rug to sleep on at Casa Spence-And-Bru, and a veritable army of Disney cuddly toys to keep him company. Not that this is a Disney co-production or anything. The gang then set about trying to find out who their little friend is, that somebody should be so desperate to kill him. Bru and Kelly theorise about his origins, whilst Spence makes a stab at looking knowledgeable. It's an interesting writing exercise in the redistribution of dialogue for a different cast. Both shows have two men and one woman to share the lines between them, but there are no character similarities at all. The switch around of lines and plot does mostly work, though - mostly because Thunder doesn't have a Brooke McKenzie to get in the way and be annoying. Kelly may be a pretty young woman, but she's capable of doing useful things occasionally, a skill that poor Brooke never managed to acquire. For what it's worth, I do believe that Manimal was the better show. It's just that Thunder has the better support cast.

Detective work soon suggests that Wolf Boy may be Tommy Ralston, whose parents and sister were killed years earlier on a boat trip on a remote river. With the aid of some of Jessica's toys, he re-enacts the trip, and indicates that they were all killed by a woman. Ralston Aviation, the family business, is now owned by Ralston's female business partner, who seems an obvious suspect. Mostly because we've already seen that she's the one who wants Tommy dead. She has her evil minions kidnap him, and then stick him in a box and throw him off a boat, because on TV shows nobody can ever just shoot somebody simply. At this point, back in the eighties, Jonathon turned into a dolphin and rescued his Wolf Girl. Spence just has to jump in and drag Wolf Boy back up to the surface using his arms. Jonathon has the more interesting rescue technique, let's be honest. Then it's back home, where Tommy manages to say his name, before he goes off to a new life on the Navajo Reservation.

It's interesting seeing the same episode rewritten for a completely different show. The two respective Wolf People are an interesting pair as well. Wolf Girl is a bit wet, I must admit. No problem with her acting ability, she's just... wet. It is cute how she floods Jonathon's apartment with soap bubbles, though, after a tussle with the washing machine. Wolf Boy, on the other hand, is really rather good. I was quite impressed with the performance - which is, let's be honest, not something that you'd usually find yourself saying about much of Thunder In Paradise. Sons of famous Hollywood stars excepted, naturally. And formerly evil uncles.

Netted Wolf Boy.


Spence and Bru are unimpressed by some boaters who are speeding in a Manatee Zone, and decide to give chase.

Spencer helps the small, terrified boy feel better by shining a torch right in his face.

Wolf Boy faces an imminent barbecuing.

Hell's Angels wrestling!

Disney Product Placement Boy.

The winner of 1994's 'Evil Businesswoman Of The Year' Award.

Bru attempts to bath Wolf Boy.
Words cannot express how much I love this scene. And how much better at it he is than Melody Anderson.

Aqua Spence to the rescue!

The gang celebrate another job well done.

And Tommy celebrates remembering his real name.

Next time on Thunder In Paradise... Bru has a beard. And no, I don't mean Kelly.


( 4 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Dec. 4th, 2009 03:07 am (UTC)
See, this is what upset Jon during Cover Up, the fact that they recycled scripts from Magnum PI, after firing the better writer in the beginning. Still, wolfboy has real adorability in the screencaps, and it sounds like a neat 'kid in peril' episode. I actually started watching that wolf-girl episode on youtube, but got distracted! doh! I'll get back to it. You're right, Brooke seemed pretty useless in Manimal, she probably just wanted to be around Jonathon all the time, lol..and most likely wanted to see the competition with wolf girl.
As for Cover Up, there are some episodes posted on Youtube, and of course, I made a music video or three, lol.
Dec. 4th, 2009 10:37 am (UTC)
They reused "Magnum" scripts?! I didn't know that. That's mad. "Magnum" was a huge show, seen all over the world, and still airing when "Cover Up" was being made. At least "Thunder" had the sense to reuse a script from a show that hadn't aired in eleven years, and hadn't had a big audience even then.

If you've found the complete "Manimal" episodes on YT, don't forget to check out "Scrimshaw", as that's the one with Meeno Peluce guesting in it. :)
Dec. 5th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
Okay, let me clarify what I wrote, lol...actually, they were rehashing unused Magnum P.I scripts. Which is still pretty lazy and lame, it's like.."okay, this isn't good enough for Magnum, so let's give it to Cover Up...that'll help our series!" I'm gonna look for scrimshaw next. :D I saw the remainder of female of the species, and it was pretty good..loved the bubble scene.
Dec. 5th, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
Ouch. Using rejected scripts isn't exactly encouraging to the cast, is it. The studios never learn! It's that conveyor belt mentality again, I suppose.
( 4 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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