Friday, April 1, 2011

Sandkings



Production Order: 01
Broadcast Order: 01
Original Airdate: 3/26/1995
Starring: Beau Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, Dylan Bridges.
Written by Melinda Snodgrass, based on the novella by George R. R. Martin.
Directed by Stuart Gillard.

Simon Kress (Bridges) is an obsessed scientist who sacrifices his family and his life to propagate a species of—brace yourself—ant-like Martian life forms.

JS: Talk about under-promising and over-delivering! It's no wonder the new Outer Limits went on to last seven seasons and 154 episodes. They kicked things off with their own take on "The Zanti Misfits." And just like that episode, there's no disclaimer indicating that none were harmed in the making of the episode.

PE: My first question would have to be: "why was this series so dismissed by the original OL crowd?" Not once during the initial series was I so enthralled by such a smorgasbord of evil delights. Yellow puddles of fright formed around my feet yet I found myself so entranced by and drawn into the drama that I could not rise from my bean bag chair to clean myself. I've read Martin's original story and it was a little too highfalutin' for my tastes (too many of those big sci-fi words) but Snodgrass seems to have found that middle ground between genius and stupidity. I'm in awe.

JS: This episode brings together three generations of Bridges; the always hilarious Lloyd, his grandson Dylan, and his other son Beau. Seeing them all together reminds me what an amazing talent Jeff is.

PE: Actually, John, if you squint, Lloyd is Jeff! Take Beau's silly pony tail and Lloyd's persnicketyness and you've got Bad Blake. Maggie Gyllenhall makes a rare uncredited appearance as one of the sand kings.

JS: It's not hard to believe that Beau was nominated for an Emmy for his performance. Not since Tony Randall in The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao has a single actor portrayed so many varied roles. From the way he tears apart a head of lettuce, makes himself up to look like Fu Manchu, and auditions for the Val Kilmer role in the TV movie on the making of Oliver Stone's The Doors, he's at the top of his form. Yet none of that prepares us for his performance as a sand sculpture.


PE: I'm sorry, I'm still thinking about Maggie Gyllenhall. That's Val Kilmer? Looks like Gyllenhall.

JS: I really enjoyed the Martian death-match. These guys are far more realistic than the inarticulate Zanti puppets of years past. And the sand towers are pretty cool (when they don't look like Beau Bridges). If you look closely, you can even see the little Anti-Misfits scaling the walls of the sand-skyscrapers in the closing shot.

PE: Old-OL fans are so fucking uptight. Get a life, ferchrissakes, I says. This series blows away that dinosaur. And it's in color!!! I thought, given that Projects Limited had $47 per episode to spend on spfx, they did an admirable job of making tumbleweeds and frogs scary. This incarnation of OL obviously had quite a bit more to blow on their little creatures and Land of the Lost sets. I'm really looking forward to discovering new territories and reaching out to new OL fans (especially ones who can appreciate my wit).

JS: The episode falls short of perfection in that it's lacking an OL-babe, but future episodes will rectify that. Alyssa Milano here we come!

PE: Actually, John, if the subsequent stories are just as compelling, I don't need babes. I really do appreciate David J. Schow for changing his views on this show and urging us to cover it after all. Kudos to you, DJS! I'm looking forward to the next 14 months!!!

JS RATING:

PE RATING:











David J. Schow on "Sandkings":


From The Outer Limits Companion, Copyright © David J. Schow, 1986, 1998.  All Rights Reserved.  Used by permission and by special arrangement with the author. 

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You didn't think we were serious, did you? A very happy April 1st to you all!