A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although the main characters in this vintage kids' series are almost always in trouble, they never appear to be in real peril -- which is one of the reasons the show was so popular with young kids in the 1970s. But even though the content is mild (there's no sex, drinking, or swearing, and the occasional fight scenes are decidedly lacking in action), the show's exceptionally low-end production values and poor special effects make it feel extremely dated in the 21st century. It will probably appeal more to former children of the '70s than to their own kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
During a "routine expedition," the Marshall family finds their raft plummeting over an immense waterfall and falling through a mysterious dimensional portal into a strange land populated by hungry dinosaurs and alien creatures. And they haven't just gone back in time -- they've entered a new world, the LAND OF THE LOST, where they meet the peaceful, ape-like Pakuni and the hostile Sleestaks, lizard-like beasts that seem bent on capturing the humans and sacrificing them to their god. Rick Marshall (Spencer Milligan), his young daughter Holly (Kathy Coleman), and teenage son Will (Wesley Eure) must work together to survive while they explore the realm and look for a way home.
Is it any good?
When Land of the Lost debuted in 1974, the dimensional-travel yarn was relegated to a Saturday morning slot aimed at kids and given a budget appropriate for an audience with an averge height of less than four feet. The cheap sets, oh-so-fake costumes, mediocre acting, and primitive effects -- typical for shows produced by the prolific Sid and Marty Krofft -- were unimpressive then, and they haven't aged well in the intervening decades.
Still, the Emmy-nominated series was considered groundbreaking at the time and attracted several top sci-fi writers, who explored a variety of complex ideas about inter-dimensional transit, the potential paradoxes of time-travel, and evolution. Many of these themes have since appeared in big-budget adult series like Lost, Heroes, and Stargate SG-1. The fun in Land of the Lost comes from its scripts, not its production values, and if your kids can get past the cheesy effects, they'll probably enjoy the thought-provoking story. Because, really, what kid won't enjoy a show that features both dinosaurs and aliens?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why some TV shows and movies stand up to the the test of time and others don't. Parents: Do you still like this show as much as you did when you were a kid? Would you expect your kids to? Kids: What shows do you watch now do you think you'll still like when you're an adult? Families can also discuss how they think they'd fare in a situation like the Marshalls'? Would you work well together, or would you argue? Do you think the family dynamics on the show seem realistic? How does the show compare to other shows or movies about people who find themselves trapped in a hostile wilderness?