Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 2 Episode 1

Jonah And The Whale

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Sep 19, 1965 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

Write A Review
out of 10
16 votes
  • A diving bell with Admiral Nelson and a Soviet scientist is swallowed by a giant sperm whale. The crew aboard the Seaview must rescue them before their air runs out.


    Season two curtain-raiser \'Jonah and the Whale\' is one of the best episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. I vividly remember it from when it first aired in 1965 and I was a lad of eight years- my family had just purchased a color TV for the fall season and this was the first episode of VTTBOTS shot in color, with a vivid palette of colors. More so than a typical sitcom or drama of the day, this was a show that needed to be in color, especially as in the second season the stories tended towards the fantastic whereas the first season was heavy on espionage and intrigue. The science in the science fiction episode was of course preposterous but the fiction was compelling. A US-Soviet co-venture saw the Seaview lower a diving bell to a destroyed underwater research station to collect information before it was completely destroyed by migrating whales- really! Of course a giant sperm whale viewed the diving bell as bait at the end of a line and proceeded to swallow it whole along with its passengers, Admiral Nelson and Soviet scientist Katya. On board the Seaview the only possible solution was decided upon instantly- knock out the whale with giant hypodermic needles and send three divers inside the whale\'s mouth to attach a line to the diving bell and reel it in. The inside of the whale has to be seen to be believed- not as realistic or terrifying as it seemed to me 41 years ago, it\'s still pretty cool and no doubt inspired some of the \'interiors\' from the following year\'s movie Fantastic Voyage.
    Even the biblical aspect of the story was well handled- it would have been easy to moralize, especially with a \'godless\' communist on-board (remember, the cold war was in full swing in 1965), but the story of Jonah was treated as a myth.
    If there is a flaw in this episode it is that the rescue was relatively easy, but the pacing was good and the tension was always palpable, so it\'s a small flaw and barely worth mentioning (I only mentioned it to explain why I only rate the episode as a 9.9 rather than a perfect 10).
    Kudos to Fox for continuing to release this show on DVD- better by far than the other Irwin Allen sci-fi shows of the 60\'s (Land of the Giants, Time Tunnel, Lost in Space), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is one of the best sci-fi series ever on television, and this episode ranks with the best of the Outer Limits or Star Trek OTS.