TV Show Review – The Starlost: The Complete Series (1973)

The Starlost: The Complete Series
Courtesy of VCI Entertainment
Original Year of Release: 1973
DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008

You’re probably thinking that you won’t care anything about this review because this title is so old.

Well think again!

If you are any kind of science fiction fan, you owe it to yourself to check out THE STARLOST. Sure, it’s obviously dated (it came out a year before I was born, so that tells you something!), but look past the corny costumes and outlandish hairstyles. If you do, you’ll find a gripping and enthralling show that will hook you from the start!

If you are not familiar with THE STARLOST, here is the show’s plot synopsis courtesy of VCI Entertainment:

After an Earth-destroying threat endangers the planet, Mankind builds a gigantic Earthship Ark spacecraft to save the last of humanity. After an accident takes place and kills the crew, the airlocks connecting the ship’s domes are sealed. Cut off from the outside world, many communities simply forgot that they were on a spacecraft. As the centuries pass, each culture evolves in an enclosed society, each a world unto itself that is fifty miles in diameter. Unbeknownst to the ARK’s inhabitants, they are drifting through deep space on a collision course with a sun. In 2790 A.D., a young man named Devon (Keir Dullea from “2001: A Space Odyssey”), a resident of a biosphere called Cypress Corners, discovers that his world is much larger than he was taught to believe and uncovers the Ark’s fate. Devon and friends Rachel (Gay Rowan) and Garth (Robin Ward) must learn all they can about the Ark if they are to save it and the colonists aboard. The Starlost was a Canadian-produced science fiction television series that broadcasted in 1973 on CTV in Canada and on NBC in the United States. Now for the first time all 16 episodes are available in this collection. Some of these episodes have not been seen since their original airdates.

As I mentioned above, this show is obviously dated from the hairstyles and the clothing, but don’t let that dissuade you from watching. Those are minor observations that peek through; the story itself and the drama that unfolds are why you should give this a look.

THE STARLOST is shot fairly well and looks pretty good, all things considered. The show definitely has a “DOCTOR WHO” style vibe, but that’s not a bad thing. If anything, it helps add to the series’ charm. I am impressed with what the production crew accomplished for their time period.

The acting is a little on the hammy side, but that’s primarily due to the script. Some of the dialogue is hokey, although again, it is forgivable. I don’t think anybody will win any awards for their performances, so don’t expect Academy Award level talent.

The special effects are impressive in some aspects, but lacking in others. The outside shots of the ship are excellent. I had no trouble believing this was an actual starship in space. But the rest of the effects, such as the interior shots of the ship, are a bit lacking. Once again, I am trying to take into consideration the time period; back in those days, low budget meant LOW budget…they did not have anywhere near the access to cheap technology that we do today.

But the plotline is why you should watch this show. It is chocked full of mystery and intensity. The concept reminds me of STARGATE: UNIVERSE, which is one of the primary reasons I wanted to watch this one. And it does not disappoint. I really enjoyed it, and I recommend it anyone looking for vintage science fiction. The complete series is available now.

MSB

One thought on “TV Show Review – The Starlost: The Complete Series (1973)

  1. Hi, Matthew,

    Another reason this show is of interest is it’s based on a Harlan Ellison original idea (Well, maybe not that original; spaceship as “universe” drifting through space). For SF readers, a good reason to check out this show.

    Keep up the good work! Roger

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