A human spacecraft launched in 1980 is captured in a time warp and thrown into the far future. It comes in for a landing on Earth again, over a millennium later in the year 3085; humanity has been reduced to frightened scavengers, with highly evolved apes as their overlords. Of the three crewmen aboard the vehicle, only astronauts Alan Virdon and Pete Burke survive, and they are moved to a place of safety by an old man named Farrow shortly before their ship is found by apes.
Virdon and Burke are captured and brought to trial before the apes’ high council, and while the apes’ leader, Dr. Zaius, believes they must be kept alive to learn the secrets of their technology. Urko, however, feels that the humans are a threat to the ape way of life and wants them executed now – and he demonstrates the use of a human-made grenade to make his point. But the humans’ scientific knowledge intrigues Zauis’ curious assistant, Galen. When he dares to speak on the humans’ behalf, Zaius silences him. Galen then learns that Urko is plotting to kill the humans regardless of Zaius’ wishes; when Galen goes to warn the humans, he winds up in a life-or-death struggle with one of Urko’s guards, and accidentally kills him. Galen is imprisoned, and is stunned when Virdon and Burke arrive to mount a jailbreak.
No longer welcome among his own kind, Galen tags along with the two humans as they try to get their ship ready for a relaunch. The arrival of Urko’s soldiers cuts the repairs short, and when Urko destroys the spaceship, Virdon and Burke are trapped in this time – with only Galen as their guide.
Season 1 Regular Cast: Roddy McDowall (Galen), Ron Harper (Alan Virdon), James Naughton (Pete Burke)
written by Art Wallace
directed by Don Weis
music by Lalo Schifrin
Guest Cast: Royal Dano (Farrow), Woodrow Parfrey (Veska), Mark Lenard (Urko), Booth Colman (Zaius), Biff Elliot (Ullman), Bobby Porter (Arno), Jerome Thor (Proto), William Beckley (Grundig), Alvin Hammer (Man)
Notes: Where the TV series fits into the continuity of the films is uncertain; Zaius mentions a previous visit from human astronauts “10 years ago,” an adventure in which the astronauts were killed, almost certainly referring to the original film. However, since Beneath The Planet Of The Apes takes place immediately after that film, and ends with the destruction of all life on Earth, there are two possibilities: the nuclear holocaust from which Cornelius and Zira escapes in Escape From The Planet Of The Apes may have been overstated, or, as strongly hinted in Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, history has been changed as a result of Cornelius and Zira going into the past. This latter theory is strongly reinforced by the fact that humans have the power of speech and the English language has survived. While that is likely dictated by production realities – the series would’ve been boring at best if Virdon and Burke were the only humans capable of speaking – it would seem to indicate that, while the incident with Taylor did happen, it took place in a parallel timeline in which humans had retained their intelligence; as Zaius later says that the last human visitors didn’t live long enough for him to learn their names, it would seem that Taylor’s visit unfolded even more violently than chronicled in the first movie, again suggesting an alternate timeline.
LogBook entry by Earl Green