Does Anyone Remember “Ark II”?

Nostalgia has an increasingly powerful effect on a person’s ability to judge the entertainment value of various media types.  It seems the older a person becomes the more this fact becomes clear. Having just celebrated another birthday, I am even more aware of the effect nostalgia has on my choice of electronic entertaiment, be it for music, television or movies. For the purposes of this blog though, I will be focusing on television and movies, because frankly, as much as I know nostalgia effects my choice in music, I know for a fact that “my” music (which definitely is NOT retro) is better than the music of today. No, instead I’ll be focusing on the admittedly bad science fiction and fantasy television and movies of my childhood, and trying to explain how my brain can find such terribly made and/or written shows to be enjoyable. Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist, take nothing I say as a statement of researched behavioral science.

Ark-II

Show: Ark II

Original Run:  September – December 1976

No. of Episodes: 15

Those that may not be old enough will need to see the intro sequence for contextual reference:

I watched this show on television when I was a mere five years old. Until as recently as two years ago I had vague recollections of the show’s story, but I DEFINITELY had fond memories of  the cool futuristic RV and jet pack that were distinct elements of the show. However, for decades it remained nothing more than a fond memory.  A couple of years ago after seeing another one of those nostalgic shows (Damnation Alley), which had what I thought was the same futuristic RV as was in that old TV show I used to watch, I got a bug in my brain to find that old show. I didn’t remember the name of it, but after a few nights using Google I finally came across the name of that great old TV show. Ark II. Unlike many of my fondly remembered cancelled TV shows of youth, this one was actually available on DVD and I got it from Netflix.

When it came in the mail I was so giddy, but alas I had to wait till later that night to watch it. When the time finally came I put it in the iMac and waited with anticipation for the intro sequence to start. I soon came to realize that the fancy futuristic RV from Damnation Alley was different than the one in this show. I mean it wasn’t quite so fancy as I remembered. But that was okay cause there was the rocket pack! AWESOME! The characters were introduced and when it came to Adam, the chimpanzee, I almost laughed out loud. They named the talking monkey Adam (FacePalm).

ark2c

As I continued watching the four episodes I had, I came to realize that this show was terrible. Bad writing, bad acting, bad special effects. The only thing they did very well was the rocket pack scenes, though I think they re-used just a little too much of that footage, and the terrain seen in the flying sequences didn’t seem to always match the terrain where Jonah had taken off from. There are many such scenes in the series, where you have to say “What? Wait… Huh? But the….”. They also re-used a lot of vehicles and robots from other science fiction shows of the era, though I can’t fault them much for that, since a LOT of shows back then did the same.

I have to stress though, the point I’m trying to make here isn’t that you shouldn’t watch this show, it’s that even with all these faults, you SHOULD watch this show. Actually I would freak if I saw someone cosplaying from this show. You see, even though I know how bad this show was (which is likely why it didn’t even last a whole season) I still think fondly of it, and if I didn’t already have too many boxed sets of these kind of shows sitting on my shelf at home, I would likely buy the whole series. I LOVE this show, and the only thing I can think of that explains this, is The Nostalgia Effect.

I guess what I need to do is ask you, our readers, have you seen Ark II? If so did you see it “back in the day” or have you only seen it in recent decades? Did you like it? If so why?


 

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One Response to “Does Anyone Remember “Ark II”?

  • There are plenty of Saturday morning television shows that I look back on fondly but when I watch them nowadays makes me feel like, to borrow from John Nathan Turner, the memory cheats.

    Case in point: Shazam! I remember this series to have been pretty good but when I recently watched an episode on YouTube, I couldn’t get past how plodding and formulaic the show was. It was like having that dog you had growing up as a child turn into a withered old man with a crabby attitude and incontinence.

    And don’t even get me started on the Krofft shows. I still cringe at the thought that I wanted to watch the Bay City Rollers and Sigmund & The Sea Monsters.

    *shudder*

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