Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pyramids of Terror

Season: 1
Episode Number: 1
Season Episode Number: 1
Production Number: 4001
Airdate: September 22, 1979

Writer: Jeffery Scott
Director: Bob Richardson

Voices: Joan Van Ark (Spider-Woman), Bruce Miller (Jeff Hunt), Bryan Scott (Billy Drew), Lou Krugman (Police Chief), Larry Carroll (Detective Miller), Unknown (Kufu), Unknown (Spider-Man).

Plot: It is revealed that mummies are actually a race of aliens sent to Earth thousands of years ago and set in suspended animation awaiting the moment when the planet is ready for colonization. The time has arrived and there is nothing that Spider-Man can do to stop them. Lucky for everyone, Spider-Woman is here to save the day!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Pyramids of Terror is the first episode in the DePatie-Freleng animated series starring Spider-Woman. Since Spider-Woman's origin is told in the show's theme song, there is no need to expand on that. Instead, we get a nice stand alone episode that introduces us to Jessica Drew and her friends as well as the type of villains she will face in this series, in this case, alien mummies.

While the animation is a step up from the very limited animation of the 67 Spider-Man series or either of the Fantastic Four series that came before Spider-Woman, it is still quite limited with certain scenes being reused even in this first episode.

But what makes up for the limited animation is the story. Series writer Jeffery Scott penned an incredible story that reworks history as we know it, featuring alien mummies that have been lying dormant for thousands of years waiting for the right moment to strike.

And what better way to kick off the series than with a guest appearance by Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man! While the voice actor in this episode is not the same as the 67 Spider-Man, there is obvious influence from original Spider-Man, Paul Soles.

In this episode, we are also introduced to Jessica's nephew, Billy Drew, and her fellow co-worker Jeff Hunt. These two, as well as the Justice Magazine, were created for this series as Spider-Woman didn't have any supporting cast in the comics.

While the story is well-written, there are moments that are questionable. Why was Spider-Man in Egypt in the first place? If Spider-Woman's spider-sense can pick up trouble on the other side of the planet, why doesn't it constantly warn her of trouble from all over the world? How on Earth does the helicopter fly around the world so fast? Surely Spider-Man wasn't hanging from the clock tower being shot at by Kufu the Mummy for hours while the helicopter traveled from Egypt to London!

These questions are forgivable since the writers of children's programming in the 60s and 70s didn't worry about making their shows make sense as much as writers do today. It all falls under the category of camp that makes these old shows enjoyable to watch.

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