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Series / Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World

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L to R: Lord John Roxton, Marguerite Krux, Veronica Layton, Professor Challenger, Ned Malone

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World was a syndicated adventure show loosely based on the 1912 novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World. It premiered in the fall of 1999 and ran for three seasons before being cancelled in 2002 after funding for a fourth season fell through.

At the dawn of the 20th century, a band of adventurers, led by adventurer and scholar Professor Edward Challenger, embark on an expedition to prove the existence of a lost world isolated from the rest of the modern world. The British expedition team consisting of a mismatched group of enthusiasts, all with less than selfless reasons for making the journey begin their trip under less than ideal conditions. The intrepid band consists of:

  • Professor George Edward Challenger (Peter Mc Cauley) — leader of the expedition, who hopes to prove his theories to his skeptical University academic peers;
  • Professor Arthur Summerlee (Michael Sinelnikoff) — the elderly member of the band and a colleague to George Challenger, who does not believe Challenger's claim about there being a lost world.
  • Marguerite Krux (Rachel Blakely) — the selfish financier of the expedition who goes along for her own reasons;
  • Lord John Richard Roxton (William Snow) — the nobleman with vast hunting experience, serves as protector of the group;
  • Edward "Ned" T. Malone (David Orth) — an American newspaper reporter, hoping to make a name for himself and impress his girl back home, if he survives the ordeal.

During their expedition, their hot air balloon crashes in the uncharted Amazon jungle, where they end up on the prehistoric 'Plateau'. The group then meets up with Veronica Layton (Jennifer O'Dell) whose parents had disappeared on another expedition eleven years before. The group (later joined by a woman named Finn (Lara Cox), near the end of the third season) must find their way to civilization through the various pre- (and, in some cases, post-) historic landscapes and civilizations that have been preserved on the Plateau.

Not to be confused with The Lost World (2001), the miniseries based on the same book, which more directly adapts the book rather than taking the premise and characters to make a long running series.

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  • Action Girl: Veronica Layton, so very much. Marguerite Krux isn't a physical fighter, but she knows how to wield a gun and a whip. And Finn is an expert survivalist.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: Kaya, a water nymph, uses Malone for one. It doesn't stop Veronica from getting the wrong idea.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Malone is American, but the character was Irish in the original novel.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: While the book version of Challenger was just as heroic, he was also known for his abrasive, narcissistic and explosive temperament, which is not true of this Challenger.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Professor Challenger.
  • Age Lift: "Time After Time" establishes Roxton as being 36/37 years of age. In the original story, he was in his mid-forties.
  • All Just a Dream: Used in an episode to great effect: Malone undertakes a storyteller ritual of the Zanga, and ends up trapped in a dreamworld of his creation.
  • Amazon Brigade: The episode "Amazons" had a society of female warriors, whom Veronica has a prior history with. They are actually quite pleasant to the men at first, then they are held captive.
  • And You Were There: One episode had Malone find himself in London and facing Jack the Ripper, and his friends are other people notable to the story. There's another episode with featured the same plot with the Western theme.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever
  • Badass in Distress: It's a rare episode when one of the explorers isn't kidnapped or held hostage or horribly injured in some fashion.
  • Beam-O-War: Happened between a Wicked Witch and her two repentant apprentices. The apprentices win when Malone interferes and knocks the witch's wand out of her hand.
  • Bee People: There is a woman raised by a hive of intelligent bees. It's the daughter of the medicine woman who treats Summerlee. She dies when the hive is lit on fire.
  • Becoming the Costume: In one episode, the heroes take shelter from the rain in a castle. When they decide to change out of their wet clothes into the formal outfits they find, they become possessed by the original wearers, who were evil. Fortunately, Challenger didn't do this, leaving him free to save the day. When the power was ended, they all ended up naked.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • To Malone, Gladys is Betty and Veronica is... well, Veronica. With the exception of blonde hair and physical beauty, both couldn't be more different from each other. Gladys is a rich, spoiled, vain and materialistic young woman, who lives in London at the beginning of the 20th century, and demanded that Malone go on an expedition so that he could impress her and prove himself worthy of her love. Meanwhile, Veronica has spent her entire life in a forest, learning to survive, with a Fur Bikini and an affectionate, sweet and friendly personality, who loves Malone for her sensitive personality and his courage.
    • Though not in a love triangle, Veronica (the Betty) and Marguerite (the Veronica) otherwise fit this trope to a T.
  • Black Vikings: In one episode, several modern people are transported to the plateau. Even though the main characters are from the start of the 20th century, they don't seem to notice that the helicopter pilot is black and treat him like anyone else.
    • There's also the black giant, whom Marguerite makes out with. She did it to escape, but seems breathless and excited from the kiss. Later, she comments the giant was charming when he wanted to be. Seems she was somewhat attracted to him.
    • It should also be noted that all of the characters who appeared in the original novel are portrayed as far less, if at all, bigoted toward people of color and other cultures in general than their literary counterparts were.
  • Bold Explorer: Professor Challenger
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens to Veronica surprisingly often.
  • Broken Bird: Marguerite qualifies. Despite the fact that she grew up basically alone because her adoptive parents did not seem to want her, her guilt over the death of her best and only friend before she came to the Plateau, her involvement in the war and her dealings with more than shadowy business contacts, she also has never seen her own birth certificate and sports abilities (like being able to read and speak any language no matter how old it is) that she doesn't understand and seem to frighten her.
  • Butt-Monkey: Marguerite, particularly in the earlier season. Being the Alpha Bitch, it was more than a little cathartic.
  • Cannibal Tribe: Or Tribes - to be exact. If our explorers are not attacked by ape-men, raptors, the villain of the week or get in danger because of some stupid stunt, one can always count on cannibals to add some spices to the party.
  • Captive Push: One episode had a hunter take an interest in Veronica as a trophy to take back to Europe. He lures her down then has one of his cohorts snap a collar at the end of a pole around her neck, ties her hands then begins marching her out of the valley, Veronica mouthing off the entire way and trying to work her bindings loose enough to escape.
  • Cat Fight: Veronica gets drugged to mindless order following in one episode which nearly leads to her killing one of her friends. Marguerite appears in the right moment and gets into a fight with her. It ends in Mud Wrestling as they land in the only mud pit around. And of course, Veronica wins the fight.
  • Chess with Death: A female Death offers Roxton several chances to win back his life. Roxton accepts that he died and actually requests that she just claim him, but she says that if he doesn't try, his friend's lives will be forfeit, too. Death uses an hourglass to give the games a time limit, and Roxton fails at each one: Retrieve a diamond from a maze made of walls of fire (ran out of time), Retrieve a raptor egg (he tripped and dropped it), Guess which bowl holds oysters (guessed wrong). Each time he loses, Death captures another one of his friends. The final game is: shoot his own girlfriend, or himself. Roxton shoots the hourglass, making it impossible for the game to end. Death concedes victory to Roxton, and lets them all go.
  • Cowboy Episode: When Roxton happens upon a hangman's noose dangling from a lonely tree in the jungle in "Dead Man's Hill", he's suddenly transported back to the American West where he finds himself at the end of the rope.
  • Crossover: Averted. One of the scripts for the unmade fourth season would have featured the group meeting Conan Doyle's most famous character, Sherlock Holmes. Another proposed episode would have had appearances from Frankenstein and his monster.
  • Culture Chop Suey: There are an absolute ton of cultures mishmashed on the plateau together. It might be easier to name the ones not represented.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All of them surprise with snark at one point or another but Marguerite can always be counted on for saying something snarky. Roxton usually knows a clever response to whatever she says.
  • Death World: The plateau.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Marguerite. In the beginning she appears cold and uncaring. She is perfectly willing to sell Veronica for a way home of the Plateau and usually seems to not care about any of the others. And then one looks closer. She grows to care about the others a lot. When Summerlee gets stung by a gigantic bee and hallucinates about his dead wife she resumes that role to comfort him, she looks out for Malone and Veronica, helps Challenger and becomes Roxtons confidante whenever the memory of his brother breaks him. But although she learns to trust every expedition member with her life she's still careful about letting them know about her past and why she really came to the Plateau.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: One episode featured a dinosaur that could breathe fire.
  • Does Not Like Guns: In one episode, Roxton fights a ninja, and is getting his ass handed to him. When he tries to draw his gun, the ninja knocks it away and says, "Guns are a coward's weapon." Veronica also disdains guns, and only uses them to scare people.
  • Dress Hits Floor: In "More Than Human", a mistress tries to seduce Roxton by taking off her dress this way in front of him. He walks over to her and puts her dress back up around her as she complains. Notable in that it was shot in both a Dress Hits Floor and uncensored version.

  • Evil Twin: Roxton gets one in one episode after he is cursed for disturbing a graveyard's peace. The protector takes the ruthless and violent part - basically the hunter part - out of him and gives him a life of his own. Evil!Roxton tries to kill the good one, using Marguerite as bait. It ends in a Mirror Match.
  • Femme Fatale: Marguerite Krux.
  • Firing in the Air a Lot: Lampshaded. A character tries this, and is ordered to stop wasting bullets. They're in a jungle, after all. They'll need all the bullets they can get.
  • Flying Dutchman: One episode has a man cursed to stay on a zeppelin that crashes and explodes every day, only for him and the zeppelin to reappear good as new the next day (due to having shot and thrown his own crew overboard in an attempt to save his own skin). He is able to leave it for short periods, but is inevitably forced to return, and is immortal, preventing escape by suicide. The man managed to trick the heroes into taking his place, but after a day they then tricked him into taking it back. The heroes determined that the man was irredeemably evil and deserved to be cursed.
  • Fountain of Youth: An episode had the gang meet a woman with water from the fountain of youth. Unfortunately, her supply runs out and she reverts to her true age and dies. Professor Challenger drinks a little of the water, and while it doesn't make him look younger, it heals his wounds and makes him temporarily strong, agile, and energetic like a teenager.
  • Fur Bikini: Veronica Layton spends the entire series wearing this, although hers is more leather than fur. Even when she is offered clothes to cover her entire body, she declines on the grounds that she feels much more comfortable in this leather bikini (which flashbacks reveal is the type of clothing she has worn since childhood).
  • The Gunslinger: Roxton is the best with guns, but Malone and Marguerite are no slouches. Only Veronica doesn't use guns, but she doesn't need them.
  • Helpful Hallucination: One episode sees Marguerite stepping into a booby trap and falling into a pit with spikes. She gets hurt and suffers a concussion. While Challenger gets help she hallucinates about her best friend Adrienne who keeps her awake so Marguerite doesn't fall asleep. Later it turns out to be a Not-So-Imaginary Friend - which freaks Marguerite out.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: When a crowd of zombie slaves regains their sanity, they turn on their voodoo master, with vicious results.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Danielle, a voodoo priestess, uses physical objects from the explorers to cause them sickness, creates zombies with her magic (who are cured of their trance with salt).
  • Honey Trap: All of the adventurers except for Summerlee have this played on them frequently. Surprisingly, it doesn't always work.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The Affably Evil humanoid lizard Tribune keeps humans as slaves and occasionally eats them. Yet, he claims, "To kill is in our nature. To pull the wings off a fly... that's a human thing."

  • I Hate Past Me: In "Absolute Power", Summerlee is shown a vision of the time he was caring for his ill wife. He left her alone, unable to stand seeing her in this state, and she died before he got back. Summerlee angrily yells at his past self and calls him a fool, but he unfortunately cannot change anything.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It
  • Intrepid Reporter: Ned Malone.
  • It Will Never Catch On: The protagonists find themselves transported to WWI era Fulham and meet Winston Churchill himself. At one point he responds to the outrageous claims of the protagonists with "That's about as likely as me becoming Prime Minister!"
  • Jungle Opera
  • Jungle Princess: Veronica Layton.
  • Killed Off for Real: Summerlee at the end of season one.
  • Knife Fight: Veronica and tribesman characters get into these a lot. In "The Knife", Veronica gets into one with Sir William Gull and Robert Anderson, and she kicks their asses because they are mere killers of the helpless and not trained fighters.
  • Lady of Adventure: Marguerite. Although she has a shadier past than is usual for this trope, she still manages to pull off the typical attitudes and mannerisms.
  • Last-Name Basis: The men are typically referred to by their last names. Typically, only Marguerite will refer to them with their first names.
  • Living Dinosaurs: Several species of surviving dinosaurs appear in the show, it's possible also that Tribune's people are evolved dinos.
  • Lizard Folk: Recurring Friendly Enemy Tribune and his people.
  • Lost World

  • Magic Versus Science: Challenger is constantly skeptical of any supernatural activity and insists that everything can be explained with science. While he's right sometimes, the plateau has several genuine sorcerers, cursed items, etc. Later in the series, he believes magic is real, but is still displeased whenever it shows up.
  • Mirror Match: See Evil Twin Above.
  • Mister Seahorse: Malone becomes one to a water nymph, whose young gestates inside the father, and is then returned to the mother after a short time.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Roxton and Malone had a penchant for heroics, dark pasts, and the Shirtless Scene.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Veronica Layton, oh so very much. Marguerite has a number of Bathing Beauty scenes as well.
  • Mysterious Benefactor: Marguerite is this to Challenger, initially. She finances his expedition for reasons for her own.
  • No Immortal Inertia: One episode has a Spanish woman named Anna, who discovered the Fountain of Youth and remained young as long as she applied some of the water to her skin. This act caused a drought in the nearby area. She starts to age quickly when the water runs out (she ages fifty years over the course of a day), but when the water dries up at the source, she immediately crumbles to dust.
  • "No Peeking!" Request: In "The Elixir", Roxton and Marguerite get some sort of rash from the jungle plants and Roxton suggests that they get Covered in Mud so they stop itching. When they're both finished with their mud bath, Marguerite orders him to stay there and not peek while she washes up at the river, but then she notices that someone took all their clothing and they're trapped naked in the jungle she screams in distress, which causes him to rush over, and she has to remind him to look away again.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: One Episode sees Marguerite stepping into a booby trap and falling into a pit with spikes. She gets hurt and suffers a concussion. While Challenger gets help she hallucinates about her best friend Adrienne who keeps her awake so Marguerite doesn't fall asleep. Later it turns out that she's not so hallucinated at all - which freaks Marguerite out.
  • Nubile Savage: Veronica Layton. She is constantly walking around in a skimpy fursuit, filmed with her legs or cleavage in focus, and has a Waterfall Shower scene.
  • Offhand Backhand: A villain casually kicks Malone away when he tries a *Click* Hello on him.
  • Omniglot: Marguerite has a talent for languages and can communicate with many different people. A conversation with Malone reveals that it's an innate talent she does not understand.
  • One-Hit Polykill: This was Lord John Roxton's greatest failure. While on safari, his brother William started getting mauled by a gorilla. John shot it, but the bullet went through and killed William as well.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: There was a tribe of frogs that turned into humans, and when a Battle Couple of explorers makes off with their sacred relic, it starts to affect the group: Malone turns into a bird (and gets stuck in the rafters when he turns to normal), and Marguerite turns into a snake (who is then put into a cage, and mocked when she returns to normal). Later, a Season 2 episode featured more traditional werewolves.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: In "More Than Human", a mistress tries to seduce Roxton by taking off her dress in a Dress Hits Floor way in front of him. He walks over to her and puts her dress back up around her as she complains.
  • Put on a Bus: Malone spent the beginning of Season 3 in the Spirit World (a holdover from the end of Season 2), and the later part of the season on his own. Veronica also spends some time offscreen when she rides in Challenger's hot air balloon and gets blown far away.
  • Privateer: One of the characters reluctantly reveals that an ancestor of his was a privateer. A female companion makes fun of him, automatically assuming this means "pirate." The character insists on "privateer," as the letter of marque means the ancestor served the crown.
  • Prophecy Twist: A prophet makes three prophecies: Veronica will turn into a tree, Roxton will be betrayed by a two-faced woman, and Malone will have the heart ripped from his chest. Veronica falls into a pond, gets covered in vines and leaves and comes out looking like a tree, Roxton is discovered by a woman wearing a mask and betrays him, and Malone has a heart shaped necklace Marguerite gave him ripped from his shirt pocket.

  • The Remnant: In "Tribute", Malone, Marguerite, and Summerlee are taken prisoner by a World War I pilot, Hans Dressler, who thinks WWI is still going on.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Veronica wears a dress a few times. Everyone is in awe when she does.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Malone watched three comrades die in World War I while hallucinating when he's shot by a poison dart. It's also implied Roxton had a rough time from World War I.
  • Street Urchin: Implied to be part of Marguerite's backstory, she had to evade gendarmes on the streets of Paris multiple times.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Near the end of episode 2, our heroes find themselves surrounded by a rather large troop of furious ape-men. Meanwhile, Malone and Veronica notice a nearby Tyrannosaurus feasting on its prey and, knowing the ape-men outnumber them, decide to lure the theropod to the scene. The plan works, and the Rex and the ape-men become so busy fighting each other to notice our heroes, who immediately escape.
  • Sympathetic Murder Backstory: Roxton's past. He and his brother William joined an expedition to Kenya because Roxton and his father thought it would make more of a man out of William. The older Roxton brother was attacked by an ape and John tried to save him. It went wrong... and left him a broken man. Especially when it all comes back to haunt him in form of the expedition leader also appearing on the Plateau at one point.
  • Team Dad: George Challenger. Summerlee could be considered the Team's grandfather.
  • Terrifying Tyrannosaur: Tyrannosaurus rex is one of the many dino species inhabiting the plateau, and poses a constant threat to our heroes.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Malone catches the attention of two lovely Amazons. After he, Roxton, and Challenger are captured by the society, they have their way with him. Veronica interrupted before it gets too far.
  • This Is My Boomstick
  • True Companions: Although they seem to be off to a bad start all of the Heroes start to trust each other and slowly grow into a family by Season 2.

  • Unrated Edition: When it was released overseas, the first season featured unrated footage (female nudity) that was only seen during its pay-per-view television run (and never on syndication). However, this set was not advertised as being unrated, and is different from the U.S. boxsets released (which are censored).
  • World of Badass: Given the plateau is a Death World, those who survive it need to be.