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Introduction
to "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"
by
Grant Goggans

 

It started, as these things tend to, with a dream.

Well, I lie. It actually started months before, when Mike Bisbee and I decided to write some "unproduced" Land of the Lost scripts. Our motive was to unravel some of the complex continuity and address unanswered questions. Anyone who's ever touched LOTL in a creative way has found the same tantalizing glances at a huge tapestry. What happened to the Zarn? If Enik's people built Altrusia, who was that big red geezer in "The Musician?" What were, or who was, the black Sleestak? Where did green crystals come from? How did Rani have access to time travel? Who built the computer in "The Posession?" Who was Blandings, where'd all those third season guest stars come from, and why did Enik come back in season two anyway? Oh yeah, and did the Marshalls ever get home anyway?

Answering questions like these is an integral desire of any fanfic for any show like LOTL, and no different than writing "season 5"s for things like Blake's 7 (which categorically does not need them) or Lois & Clark (which doesn't need them either, but the intention is more honorable there), or in fact for any series, from VR.5 to Lost in Space, which doesn't conclude its premise. The drive for an amateur to write fanfic for a dead show is the same drive a professional feels to write a teleplay for an existing one, as long as the pro isn't thinking solely about the pay, and it's a great way to hone one's writing skills.

After writing one LOTL script and co-authoring, with Mike, a second, I was quite frustrated with the format. We chose to do ours as teleplays, with commercial breaks and the same pace, to keep the feel authentic (although, since I was using the British teleplay format I copied from The Making of Doctor Who, mine wasn't very authentic), and we both learned a lot about the demands of an action-based show. For instance, we learned how Land of the Lost wasn't Twin Peaks or Sapphire & Steel and would not work with lengthy scenes of characters talking and talking about black Sleestak and parallel worlds. Land of the Lost was written for nine-year olds and occasional attacks by dinosaurs or swirling red hurricanes would be necessary to break up our narratives.

More tellingly, I gained a profound respect for the original writers of the series because, unlike me, they were able to do something with the Rick/Jack character and with Holly. Much as I liked these three individuals, as a writer, the "templates" they filled in a story's construction bored me, and I found myself focussing, when not on Will, far more on Enik, the Zarn, dinosaurs, Pakuni, big yellow bugs who knocked down walls and such and not on two-thirds of my cast. This is why David Gerrold is a highly paid writer and I am not.

So, enormously frustrated with the writing of these stories (since I had to include the "dad figure" and the "sister figure"), and frustrated with the end result, I stopped thinking about them for a few weeks. Then, one weird night, I had an absolutely bizarre LOTL dream.

In it, I dreamed I was Will, and I was hunting around the Land of the Lost with an attractive Jewish girl in her early 30s, being chased by a red Silurian from Doctor Who who wore a shirt and tie, and then I had a nice chat with Grumpy, who had come to the Dinosaur's Graveyard to die. And John Huston was President of the USA.

Fool boy that I was, I decided that not only would this make a far more interesting scenario than the existing format, but that I could also, with a little tweaking, make that talking Grumpy thing work dramatically.

Writing something based on a dream is a lot like writing under the influence of LSD or other hallucinogens, only that "morning after" period of intense critical "what the devil was I thinking" insight is much farther away. This means the volume of garbage you can produce before realizing it's garbage is much larger.

To make things clear to you, I wrote five LOTL teleplays in this format, the intention being the completion of thirteen loosely-linked half-hours with a strict continuity between them. During these 13 shows, I would address as many unsolved avenues from the original series as I could and also introduce and also resolve new themes with the new characters. This process ended many months later when, after writing the fifth script, I realized how (charitably) bad my format was, despite my initial enthusiasm. Subsequent reevaluations have confirmed my worst suspicions, that only the fifth, which you may read elsewhere on this site, was worth publishing in any way. However, so that you may understand what the devil is going on in this, to my mind, pretty good story, you must understand what came before, and these details are not pretty. Frankly, they're downright embarassing, but here goes anyway.


THE "SIXTH SEASON": Background

Following some adventures in another region of Altrusia, depicted by Mike in some other fanfic, Jack, Will, Holly, Enik and Cha-Ka return to their old stomping grounds. However, only a short time passes before a new, major cataclysm erupts: the constant interruptions in the timestream have brought too great a chronological pressure to bear on the Land, which begins to literally crack under the strain. Time doorways open in the sky and in the ground. The land, and its inhabitants, are all doomed.

They are rescued when a helicopter, whose crew includes Col. Bo Jackson from season one's "Hurricane," flies through to save Jack, Holly and Will. Enik refuses to go to Earth, knowing he would be enslaved or dissected by their people, and sadly, nobody's seen Cha-Ka in a few days. The Marshalls leave Altrusia just as the Land is destroyed.

However, Jackson is from Earth's future (remember?), and the Marshalls are kept briefly in a military hospital. Jackson informs them that he had not intended to rescue them, he just was suddenly brought back there...in fact, when he returned from the LOTL in the first place, he did some research and learned the family was safe and sound, that they returned in the late 1970s and he had become casual friends with them. Clearly, then, the Marshalls must somehow travel back to the past...

Unbeknownst to everyone, Altrusia has not been destroyed totally. The fabric of time requires that the Land of the Lost must exist in some form, since so many time doorways enter into it, and since terrible anachronisms like the Marshalls existing in their own future now occur. (One might extrapolate further thought about how a place like the LOTL, which exists outside of time but spans all time, could ever not exist, but frankly such thought is over my head.) The builders of Altrusia knew that this time bubble would need safeguards should the stress of time be too great, and so have built these failsafes to protect Time itself.

(Now things get stupid.) It also turns out that (oh, God, it hurts to type this) the CIA is run by aliens. (At least if you watch "The X Files" I can comfort myself by saying you have no business laughing at that). The aliens, after first trying to remove any anachronisms by just killing the Marshalls outright, try to engineer the return of the Marshalls to whatever currently is occupying the LOTL's space/time position. Fortunately, they have the technology to do this. Unfortunately, the bomb they planted when they were just trying to kill them has injured Jack and Holly. (Look, I know perfectly well this is even stupider than the "CIAliens," and I'm owning up to it, so cut me some slack. I bet you could write stupider. If you were drunk.) The local head of the "CIAliens" is a presidential confidante named Tamany Nichols. (The president is Noah Cross from the Roman Polanski film Chinatown.) Episode one ends when Tamany and the Marshalls' minder Karen Hollinger drive Will to a "meeting with the president" that's really a setup for Tamany to zap him back to the LOTL, which he does.  Then Karen turns the tables by clobbering Tamany.   Since it's so important that Will survive, she says, Tamany's been a damn fool sending him to what may be a totally alien, dangerous, nasty world sight unseen.  So she forces Tamany to turn on his portable time/dimension hop-thing and they head off to "ensure Will's survival".  End, mercifully, episode one.

Over the course of episodes 2-4, the following important events occur. Tamany rips off his fake skin, revealing himself to be an ugly red alien with three eyes. The third eye has a variety of different psychic and laser-like abilities like the Silurians in Doctor Who (you may want to remember that; there's a bit in the script that may confuse you otherwise). Tamany takes advantage of an attack by Grumpy to knock the gun out of Karen's hand and leave. Karen, under threat from a tyrannosaur, has no time to find the gun in the dense jungle floor. After getting hopelessly lost, Will and Karen take up residence in their old third season lodgings, but find there's a huge sarcophagus in it. Telepathic communication from Enik confirms that the chronological failsafes built by Enik's people have resulted in the Land being reconstructed from material from other dimensions, hence geospatial anamolies, and, they soon learn, Sleestak who have not met any humans yet. Enik, meanwhile, doesn't know.

Karen also reveals her fear that she will not return home. History shows that the Marshalls made it back in the late 1970s, but there is no record of Karen returning with them.

With this in mind, here's the only decent teleplay I did for LOTL. At least, I think it's decent. If you like it, I'm pleased, and may consider transcribing another if praise warrants it. If you don't like it, rest assured that you can save yourself a lot of wasted energy by never reading another LOTL fanfic with my name on it, because none of them are up to this small standard. I do think that, given my awful format, this is about as good as it gets. Scene 21's a bit long, but so's the climactic bit in "Split Personality."

Some notes on the text: No changes have been made to the structure, order or number of scenes, however, I have made substantial clarifications in the stage directions. The dialogue is 95% the same as in the original, though again I have made clarifications to vague character comments. Pakuni language is indicated in [brackets]. The finished product would have the Pakuni speaking in their native tongue. Finally, some references to earlier episodes are made in (*parentheses with asterisks*). I hope you enjoy it.

Any characters that you recognize, the title "Land of the Lost" and the show format are the copyrights of Krofft Entertainment and are used without permission. The characters of Malatra, Tamany and Karen Hollinger are copyrighted (c) 1991 by Grant Goggans. Aia-Ka I couldn't care less about.

Go to "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"