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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Planet Of The Apes: The Complete TV Series (1974/Live Action)

Planet Of The Apes: The Complete TV Series (1974/Live Action)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Episodes: C+



YOU DAMN DIRTY APES…You’ve done it again, this time on TV!  In 1974 the creators and writing team from the Planet of the Apes film series decided to branch out to a different arena not yet explored by their powerhouse of a franchise, television.  This TV series is a true cult classic that apparently has a true fan base even beyond just the film series.  The TV Series, much like the films, follows a crew of astronauts from 1981 who crash on earth in the year 3085.  In 3085 Apes rule and Humans are subservient slaves, who can talk in this series.  The allowance for humans to talk in this era this reviewer feels takes away from the original feel of the movie series.  The show when originally aired was quite unpopular and received little attention, shortly into its run being cancelled.


This is sad because the show now has received such a high cult status, having more episodes could have cleared up many of the plot holes the series left behind.  Though the series was not very deep like the later Apes’ films (all reviewed elsewhere on this site) that leave the reviewer asking why the show did address many controversial issues for the time.  The series addressed such taboos as racism, honor, and interracial relationships.  The show has plot holes, less than spectacular dialogue, and though the apes’ costumes are quite good other scenery needed improvement.  In the end, however, Planet of the Apes: The Complete TV Series when watched as one collective entity is quite enjoyable and reminiscent of the past, great, Apes films.


The failure of this TV series should not be blamed on the writers but more so on Network Program scheduling.  The show was pitted against such television series as Sanford and Son and never had a chance as a new series, especially one that may have seemed like a tired concept.  A second live-action series was planned in the 1980s, but eventually cancelled.  If George Lucas can make a Star Wars live action television series however, then Apes should get a second chance.


This DVD Set is very basic to many degrees.  The picture quality is presented in a full frame 1.33:1 format, which is sad because it would look ten times better in anamorphic widescreen, though maybe not possible.  The picture quality is not anywhere near as bad as this reviewer would have expected from a dead 14 episode television series from the 70’s, maintaining bright and clear picture quality with occasional “blips” in the picture where obvious editing occurred.  The sound is somewhat worse than the picture quality at times sounding rough in its Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono format, the music that occurs throughout the series would flow much better in a surround or at least stereo format.  There is even a CD of some of the score, so masters exist for the music somewhere.  The extras are basically nonexistent having a couple of movie trailers presented.


Looking at this set on the whole it is a must have for all Planet of the Apes fans, only adding to the innovative storyline which was established over 30 years ago.  The Complete Television Series in unique from the films and brings on a life of its own to each episode, lending some new ideas to the every following episode.  Overall, two opposable thumbs mostly up.  By the way, this was not the end of the Apes on TV since an animated show was produced.  You can read about it at the following link:





-   Michael P Dougherty II


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