Planet of the Apes Logo

Based on the novel 'La Planète des Singes' (trans. ‘Monkey Planet’) by Pierre Boulle, ‘Planet of the Apes’ is one of the most famous and popular movie series of all time. Starring movie icon Charlton Heston, the first film was released in 1968, and immediately proved a massive hit with audiences, with its innovative script, amazing make-up, excellent acting, and arguably one of the best shock endings in cinema history. A sequel, ‘Beneath the Plane of the Apes’ was released in 1970, closely followed by ‘Escape From the Planet of the Apes’, ‘Conquest of the Planet of the Apes’, and ‘Battle For the Planet of the Apes’. (The original was remade in 2001, but despite some excellent production values, it was not met by much critical acclaim by the critics, fans and general movie-goers).

Then in 1975, a ‘Planet of the Apes’ television series debuted, which charted the adventures of astronauts Alan Virdon and Pete Burke, whose spaceship blasts off from Earth in 1988 on an exploratory mission, only to be caught in a space / time warp and thrown hundreds of years into the future. Crash-landing on Earth in the year 3085, the two men find themselves in a world gone mad, where humans are treated as slaves, and the planet is now ruled by intelligent apes. Aided by a friendly chimpanzee named Galen, Virdon and Burke must find a way to return to Earth in their own time, or be doomed to spend their lives on the run from the murderous apes…

The series paints a very convincing picture of a world now controlled by apes, although the stories are quite average fare, and would not be out of place in shows such as ‘The Fugitive’. However, the show’s strengths lie in the casting of the main roles, particularly Roddy McDowall, who plays a chimpanzee to perfection, and also the fact that the main protagonists, Doctor Zaius and General Urko, are not so much villains, as real ‘people’ who believe that what they are doing is right for their society. Unfortunately, the show only ran for fourteen episodes; two more scripts were written, ‘Hostage’ by Stephen Kandel and ‘A Fallen God’ by Anthony Lawrence, but sadly they never went into production. The show was later repeated as a series of five, two-hour movies, each comprised of two episodes joined together, with specially-shot linking scenes starring Roddy McDowell once again in the role of Galen. If you haven’t seen the show then it is definitely worth a look; it can be seen on repeats runs, and also on DVD.

The ape saga continued in an animated series, ‘Return to the Planet of the Apes’, the following year. The premise was almost the same as the movies and television series - astronauts Bill Hudson, Jeff Carter and Judy Franklin lift off in the NASA spacecraft Venturer, but hit a strange warp which takes them one thousand years into the future, to a planet ruled by apes. However, this ape-world is more technologically advanced than those previously seen, showing using cars, airplanes and even visiting movie theatres. Despite the typically low-budget animation that is seen in every '70s production, the series has some interesting ideas, with an overall story arc that ran through all fourteen episodes.

Planet of the Apes - Movies
Planet of the Apes - Season 1
Return to the Planet of the Apes - Season 1

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Legal Bit: 'Planet of the Apes' is a registered trademark of Twentieth Century Fox. The 'Planet of the Apes' logo and all images from the movies and television series are copyright Twentieth Century Fox unless otherwise stated; music is copyright the original composers and producers; no copyright infringement is intended. All specially created images and text are copyright © Clive Banks; please do not use these without my permission. All rights reserved. No profit is made from this website, and any revenue made from using the banner-links featured goes straight back into the costs of maintaining it, which comes out of my own pocket in the first place. No profit advertising is accepted. This website was created purely to entertain and amuse, and any references to persons living, dead, comatose, in suspended animation, not born yet, or a figment of someone's imagination is purely coincidental. All opinions expressed are my own, so there...

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