Updated: May 27, 2012
GIANT'S PHOTO GALLERY #08
Premiering on ABC in 1968 and lasting just 51 episodes before its cancellation in 1970, Irwin Allen's fantasy series Land of the Giants has built a sizable (if you'll pardon the pun) fan base in subsequent decades thanks to its mix of adventure, science fiction, and camp; now those dedicated fans can enjoy the entire series in an impressive set that features a wealth of extras. The template for Giants is remarkably similar to that of Allen's Lost in Space; here, the passengers and crew of the commercial spacecraft The Spindrift encounters a mysterious energy force en route to London and finds themselves on a planet which parallels Earth in every way save one – its inhabitants are twelve times the size of the marooned crew.
The protagonists are less tightly knit than Space's astronaut family Robinson – in fact, pilots Gary Conway and Don Marshall regularly butt heads with architect Don Matheson and entertainer Deanna Lund – though all seem to agree that orphan Stefan Arngrim is cute as a button and Kurt Kasznar is as much a pain in the neck as Dr. Smith (amusingly, Jonathan Harris turns up in this set in the episode "Pay the Piper").
But The Spindrift castaways' adventures are less juvenile than those of the later Lost in Space episodes, and the special effects (which cost the network a record-setting $250,000 per episode) are impressive for the period. The nine-DVD set for Land of the Giants contains the series' entire network run, as well as the unaired pilot, which offers a similar take on the debut episode, "The Crash," minus John Williams' jazzy theme and other elements. Most of the surviving cast members (Kasznar passed away in 1979, and Heather Young is not included) is featured in interviews about their experiences on the show, and there are several home videos of producer Allen directing the program and interacting with the over sized props and sets.
Also featured on the discs are galleries of publicity shots, episodic photos, show merchandise and of the photogenic Ms. Lund, and the MAD Magazine parody. Meanwhile, buyers can also pursue a reproduction of the comic book adaptation and a booklet with more cast interviews and photos, and check out a set of trading cards, a Spindrift key chain and crew iron-on emblem – all of which is contained in the set's clever carrying case, which reproduces a wooden cage that held the Giants' heroes in one episode. Though casual admirers may balk at the Giant Collection price tag, diehards will undoubtedly appreciate having the entire set and quality extras at their disposal.