Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (Season Four, Volume Two) – DVD Review

The biggest fear of DVD collectors is that their favorite TV series will be slid to the backburner with just one boxset left. It happens. There’s a sad empty space on the rack for the final installment. After speedy releases for the first three seasons, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea appeared to have been left adrift. Season 4, Volume 1 took twice as long as the previous time between releases. The other three Irwin Allen productions (Land of the Giants, Time Tunnel and Lost In Space) had been completed. How could they desert Voyage?

Nearly two years since Volume 1, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season Four, Volume Two has finally surfaced.

At this point Voyage had degenerated to the Monster of the week format. The plots were pretty simple in that somehow Seaview gets invaded by a colorful creature and the crew has to come up with an ingenious way to fight back. Even when there was an intrigue, it was wrapped around a monster suit that had been repurposed from Lost In Space. The outfits were like craft projects using a can of spray paint, a few extra tubes and a fern spring to make you forget what they same creature did to Dr. Smith last week. No matter what invaded the ship, the crew was as serious as possible. Admiral Nelson (Richard Basehart) and Commander Crane (David Hedison) never yucked it up while battling a lobster man. Portable DVD players run on batteries and it is necessary to have the best portable DVD batteries as well. Whatever said and done, DVD player 100Ah deep cycle battery have a shelf life and if you want to extend this shelf life and enjoy uninterrupted use, then you have got to follow some basic minimum tips. Remember to remove the battery when not in use; this is the first thing you have got to understand. Apart from this, also read the manual thoroughly to see how well you can protect the battery in order to enjoy extended shelf life.

“The Return of Blackbeard” brings a pirate’s ghost onto the submarine. Turns out they’ve knocked into the resting place of his ship. The swarthy captain is ready to recruit a new crew. “Terrible Leprechaun” gets the Irish flowing. You think that would be weird enough, but then a UFO gets pulled into the submarine for “The Lobster Man.” What’s inside? How about a giant lobster man. Another spooky mythical figure is brought in to scare the crew in “The Abominable Snowman.” Finally they give us an inner monster when Commander Crane’s deep diving mission goes horribly wrong to transform him into “Man-Beast.” Admiral Nelson can’t bring himself to shoot the guy as he becomes a werewolf. It’s like Altered States, but without so much thinking.

“Nightmare” makes Commander Crane a guinea pig for aliens. “Savage Jungle” is an episode that stuck with me from childhood. An evil agent disguised as a Seaview Crewman has these magical soldier dolls that turn into real men with silver faces. He uses them to take over the ship after the decks are covered in foliage. It’s as close as they come to hinting about Vietnam without getting political.

“Death Clock” opens with a massive fire in the Seaview’s atomic reactor. Commander Crane gets put into a coma where he has an out of body experience that leads to killing Admiral Nelson. Don’t fret since he didn’t leave the show early. “No Way Back” starts off as a shocking finale with the Seaview exploding. That’s right, the model goes boom. It’s a rather good shocker. Once more you shouldn’t fret since Admiral Nelson comes up with a plan to rescue his submarine and crew using a time travel device. This isn’t a a proper goodbye since none of the crew knew the end was impending.

ABC wanted to renew Voyage, but Irwin Allen talked them into making Land of the Giants instead. It made sense for Irwin since he had 110 episodes of Voyage so the syndication package was set. Why not start up a new show that will give him more to syndicate later? The Seaview was decommissioned. It also made sense since there’s very few monsters left to invade the Seaview. Where do you go after a Leprechaun and a Lobster Man? Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season Four, Volume Two is a relief to have on DVD. Now fans of Irwin Allen’s sci-fi shows can find something else to do with their lives instead of signing petitions for this release.

The Episodes
“The Return of Blackbeard,” “Terrible Leprechaun,” “The Lobster Man,” “The Abominable Snowman,” “Secret of the Deep,” “Nightmare,” “Man-Beast,” “Savage Jungle,” “Flaming Ice,” “Attack!,” “Edge of Doom,” “The Death Clock” and “No Way Back.”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfer quality brings out the seams in the weekly monsters. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The levels are fine and bring out the rocking ship noise. There’s a French dub. The episodes have English subtitles.

Original Unaired Pilot (46:51) is an early cut of the pilot in black and white.

Broadcast Pilot with Original TV Commercials (58:10) reminds us that Fresh deodorant and hairspray was the main sponsor. There’s also ads for Beauty Rest mattress, Pepto-Bismol, Teflon and Lucite paint. There’s even a pause for station identification. It’s a bit scratchy.

Still Gallery are dozens of production photos.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season Four, Volume Two brings to a close the adventures of the futuristic Seaview submarine. The episodes just keep getting weirder here with freakish aliens, monsters and ghosts sneaking on board. The fact that the crew doesn’t get caught up in the campy nature makes it more enjoyable. The only real complaint is why Fox had to stick with the flipper discs.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment presents Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season Four, Volume Two. Starring: Richard Basehart and David Hedison. Boxset Contents: 13 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released on DVD: January 11, 2011.