Thursday, May 24, 2007


Week four of "Narrative Themes" month brings us one of the greatest sci-fi series of the seventies:

Flash Gordon and Dale Arden.
Flash Gordon

What was the ultra-huge sci-fi movie blockbuster that came out in 1977? You got it! Star Wars re-wrote the way space and sci-fi movies were made, so it is no surprise if you watch the old Filmation Flash Gordon series from 1979 and see a lot of Star Wars influence.

Originally as a comic strip from the 30s, the animated adventures of Flash Gordon follow the edge-of-your-seat adventures storylines that leave you on a cliffhanger at the end of every episode.

This serial style of storytelling was not new to the comic strips but it was something that was not usually done in a children's cartoon. Enticing viewers to return everyday to see what happened next worked well for the show as it ran its sixteen episode premiere season but did not bring in the ratings that the network wanted.

Princess Aura
Two years later, NBC ordered a second season but insisted that each episode was to be self-contained. In fact, NBC wanted two eleven-minute stories per episode! They wanted a show that was geared to a younger audience in the hopes to get stronger ratings than in season one.

An addition to the show was a small baby dragon called Gremlin that was added as the pet/sidekick/comic releif that every show in the seventies and eighties seemed the need to have. Gremlin stole the spotlight in many of the episodes only to be hated more and more by the fans.

To fans of the show, this second season was a disgrace. The fun and adventure of the first season had disappeared and what remained was a pile of garbage. The show was cancelled after eight episodes.

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