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Series / Land of the Lost (1991)

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Land of the Lost is a 1991-1992 ABC Saturday morning children's program, and a remake of the 1974 series of the same name.

Compared to the original it has a different theme song, a different family, a different design for the Sleestak, and better special effects that struck a different chord with a lot of people. It also features as a regular character a blonde-haired "wild girl" who grew up in the Land, and who, while never actually identified as such, could arguably be interpreted as the grown-up version of Holly from the series' first incarnation (indeed, that was the intention but casting choices led to this idea being dropped).

The Porter family — father Tom, son Kevin, and daughter Annie — are trapped in a parallel universe after their Jeep Cherokee fell through a time portal while exploring the back country.

Inside this parallel universe, the Porters come across an ill-tempered Tyrannosaurus rex known as "Scarface," a race of barbarian-like lizard people known as Sleestaks, and countless other dangers. However, amongst these dangers are a few helpful allies to the Porters. These allies include Christa, a beautiful cave-woman who was trapped in the Land of the Lost when she was a little girl, Tasha, a baby Parasaurolophus whose mother was killed by Scarface, and Stink, a member of a race of monkey-like people known as the Pakuni.

Land of the Lost provides examples of:

  • Always a Bigger Fish: Scarface is the biggest threat in the valley, until Cy turns up.
  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: The Sleestaks always pronounce crystal "Kris-tal". No one else pronounces it that way on the show.
  • Achilles' Heel: The alien cyborg was shown to be powerful enough it should've dominated everything else in the show...except for how it weakens extremely quickly in an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Its visual scanners could also be fooled by a 1980s camera.
  • Alien Sky: "This world is strange and new / See the triple moons"
  • Another Dimension: crossed with Lost World. Somewhat ambiguous, as it resembles prehistory with dinosaurs but there are other, totally otherworldly creatures, including humanoid lizards, and three moons. The dinosaurs also coexist in time with bipedal proto-humans.
  • Behemoth Battle: Scarface and Cy get into a fight during the latter’s debut episode.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Granted it's aimed at young viewers so this would be in play but it's pretty egregious when, in one episode, Scarface takes a broadsword to the flank and pulls it out with absolutely no blood whatsoever, not even on the tip of the sword and his stabbed flank looks as if it never even happened at all.
  • Bottomless Fuel Tanks: That car could run out of fuel, but doesn't.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Shung's crystal sword is used to control others to do his bidding, as shown when he forces Princessnote  and Spike the Stegosaurus to fight one another and later in the same episode note  does the same to Tom and Kevin. It also has this effect on anyone besides Shung who wields it.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: When a medieval Knight in Shining Armor named Balin ends up in the Land of the Lost, he thinks the dinosaurs are dragons. Especially Scarface, whom he decides is "the King of Dragons". Kevin ends up having to save him from getting eaten during an ill-considered attack on the T. rex.
    Kevin: (looking at a footprint that Balin is following) He actually thinks he's gonna smoke a dragon.
    (Stink points at the footprint and imitates a T. rex)
    Kevin: Scarface? Oh, man! Balin's gonna be lunch!
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs: Tasha, a baby Parasaurolophus that Annie raises from an egg, and Princess, Christa's Triceratops mount.
  • Expository Theme Tune: "Our vacation began, mapping out a plan, but the map never showed the danger down the road, we felt our camper shaking, as the earth was quaking, there's nowhere to hide, it's the ride of our lives..."
  • Face–Heel Turn: Annie in "The Crystal", due to becoming Brainwashed and Crazy after finding Shung's power crystal. She gets better near the end of the episode.
  • Frazetta Man: The bipedal and talkative, but Ape-like Pakuni, represented by the supporting character Stink, and his grandfather, Opah.
  • Future Slang: Spoken by time-traveling teen Simon Cardenas.
  • Green Rocks: Crystals. Shung's sword is made of them and they power much of the Lost Technology. The Porters use some as batteries when their batteries run out.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: The Sleestaks refer to Kevin as "The Quick Mouth".
  • Gladiator Games: Shung fondly recalls seeing these in the (unseen) Sleestak cities, and in one episode tries to re-create them using his henchmen and the Porters as his gladiators. He admits the ramshackle setup of his arena is a far cry from the arenas of his home, but it would have to do.
  • Hufflepuff House: The underground main Sleestak civlization, all we ever see are their artifacts from the ancient time when they lived on the surface, and three criminals who they exiled to the surface.
  • I Know Karate: Tom does, and he teaches Kevin in one episode just in time for him to fight a Sleestak in a duel organized by Shung.
  • Jungle Princess: Christa. A young woman who was stranded in the Land as a child and lives a primitive existence with the Pakuni survivor Stink, and possesses key knowledge of animals and plants native to the Land.
  • Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid: Green Kool-Aid, in the case of the volcano in an episode of the first season, which is controlled (somehow) by an ancient Sleestak crystal something. The green lava pours down the conical volcano throughout the episode, threatening anything in its path (including the family's dwelling).
  • Lizard Folk: The Sleestaks, anthropomorphic beings with reptilian features who wear chainmail and leather outfits. The show only depicts three of them who are criminals that were exiled to the surface, but supposedly there's a whole underground civilization of them.
  • Lost Technology: Various ancient Sleestak devices and weapons. The most prominent is Shung’s crystal sword.
  • Lost World: There are many dinosaurs that are extinct on present day Earth and other extinct lifeforms including pterosaurs, a mosasaur that attacks Kevin when he goes surfing, and some wolf-like creatures that the Porters call "prehistoric pit bulls". Add to that three moons (that drive the Dinos suicidally crazy when they align), and a number of species that don't exist on Earth, like the Sleestaks and Pakuni, at least one sea serpent, and whatever that thing in the oil pool that grabbed Tom Porter was, and its other strange properties (crystals, swirling blue and green spacetime portals, etc) mark it as different from Earth.
  • Meaningful Name: "Scarface," due to him having a scar through his right eye.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Scarface, the T. Rex, is to this series what "Roberta" would be to Jurassic Park in a couple of years; a dominant predator whose appearance spells doom for anyone unable to get away or fight back.
    • Shung, the leader and most intimidating of the three Sleestak exiles.
  • Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: Cy, an alien cyborg time traveler from the future.
  • No-Sell: Scarface gets stabbed with a sword in one episode and simply pulls it out and keeps attacking as if it were just an annoying splinter.
  • Shown Their Work: Unlike Grumpy in the original 1974 series, Scarface correctly runs in a horizontal posture with a raised tail like what is now known in Tyrannosaurus.
  • Smash to Black: How this intro ends, with a flying creature passing by in the distance, over the title display.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Bamboo Technology: much of the aforementioned ancient Sleestak devices resemble artifacts of rocks and glowing crystals. Not quite Crystal Spires and Togas though, the Sleestaks have a much more archaic vibe going on, although they never actually show their entire (underground) civilization, just the three criminals they exiled to the surface.
  • Temper-Ceratops: Averted with Princess, Christa's Triceratops mount. Played straight with a wild Triceratops that the Porters encounter but that was after Kevin stupidly threw a rock at it to get it to move out of their way.
  • Terrifying Tyrannosaur: Scarface the T. rex is the most dangerous dinosaur and the one the Porters fear most.
  • Those Two Guys: Nim and Keeg, Shung's underlings.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kevin makes quite a few noticeable blunders late in the series. In one episode, he throws a rock at a Triceratops that was in his way and the predictable happens, necessitating Tom and Christa to have to come to his aid.


Video Example(s):


"Land of the Lost" 1991 intro

Creator/SidAndMartyKrofft were always fond of this trope, even as far as TheNineties!

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Example of:

Main / ExpositoryThemeTune

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