I remember watching every week that I was able to when this show was originally aired, all those weeks ago. Now I find myself the proud owner of the entire series on dvd, so that I can relive those glorious days of eco heroism.. like captain planet would do later in an animated way, with the help of his planeteers... and long before a certain former vice-president jumped on the eco bandwagon, and snagged critical appeal for his filmwork. Now I can watch whenever I choose my favorite episode of all the ark II episodes, the one with Jonathan Harris playing fagin to a group of new world children, riding around in a buckboard wagon.. True science fiction, and an incredible show that taught lessons concerning our shared planet without getting preachy about it
Although almost every science fiction show has legions of little fans, most sci-fi isn't produced with children in mind; Ark II was. Made for Saturday morning TV, the 30 minute live action program featured specially created vehicles and a vision that was unlike most other Saturday morning fare, then or now.
The stories themselves are not great drama, but most kids today could still watch and enjoy them. The characters included a father figure, a teenage girl, a pre-teen boy and also a chimpanzee. Together, they traveled the wastelands between isolated pockets of human habitation and helped to better the lives of the surviving people they met.
Although the scripts were written with children in mind the level of technology the show uses seems more fit for prime time. The real treat of Ark II was the "Ark" itself, a specially constructed vehicle built on a dump truck chassis so unusual it even garnered a spread in Popular Mechanics. The Ark also carried a small "rover" (pretty obviously a VW based dunebuggy) and a jet pack.
Overall this show was good and even though only a few were made, (15 episodes) it had a fairly long life in re-runs. Clearly a product of the 1970s, Ark II was in tune with the social and environmental movements of the time. Today, this show would be quite topical.
I watched this show on Saturday mornings as a kid and remembered the show but not the name. It was produced by Filmation, a long defunct production company that specialized in Children’s programming. The show follows a group of scientists that travel around in a futuristic “RV” called the Ark, while trying to rebuild the environment and civilization after it obliterated by the effects of pollution and waste. I loved the show as a kid. But as an adult it interests me only for sentimental reasons. Each episode had good themes, but as with many of Filmation’s productions it was hampered by a low budget. The acting was adequate, but not always. Again as with many low budget shows, I’m sure they did the best with what was given them. Some of the hi-lights of the show was some of it’s guest stars...the late Jonathan Harris (Lost in Space), Malachi Throne (character actor for many years), Helen Hunt (Mad About You), Jim Backus (Gilligan’s Island and voice of Mr. Magoo), the late Robert Ridgely (long time character and voice actor), and Geoffrey Lewis (long, long time character actor).
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