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The Origin Of The Silver Surfer, Part One
Review By Arsenal, Media by Stu

Episode #2 - The Origin Of The Silver Surfer, Part Two
Original Airdate February 14th 1998

With no memory of his past, or of his true nature, the Silver Surfer roams the spaceways, looking for energy for his master. But in spite of Galactus' genetic engineering, deep within himself the Surfer feels the stirrings of what humans call the soul.

Written By: Larry Brody
Directed By: Roy Allen Smith, Tom McLaughlin
Music Composed By: Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi
Guest Starring: Paul Essiembre as The Silver Surfer/Norrin Radd, Camilla Scott as Shalla Bal, Colin Fox as Uatu the Watcher, Aron Tager as Master of Zen-La and James Blendick as Galactus

Review: Galactus: the god that eats planets. Thanos: the sociopath who destroys out of devotion to his unattainable love. Ego: the living planet.

These are three of the most creative antagonists that ever came out of the Lee/Kirby house of ideas. Any of them are complex, interesting and dangerous enough to carry several episodes on their own. This episode includes all three, but inexplicably nothing sticks.

All of the supporting villains are shortchanged. The plot only makes some sense. Thanos wants to control Galactus so he kidnaps the Surfer. The Surfer is marooned on Ego. Ego fights the Surfer out of fear the Thanos will destroy it. Thanos confronts the Surfer (which he could have done without the extraneous Ego.) He opens up Surfer’s mind, ends his amnesia and is so scared by the thought of Zenn-La he retreats.

None of it makes much sense. It’s clear the scriptwriter wanted to insert certain characters (Ego, Thanos) and have certain things occur (have Thanos restore the Surfer’s memory, have Galactus find Earth); but none of it coheres particularly well. On the whole, it feels like a second draft.

The Surfer also causes a couple eye rolls with his insistence on monologuing ad nauseum. But, at least, that is true to the comic book iteration.

This episode is not awful. It’s obvious the creators have affection for the source material, and that earns points in my book. (In case you are wondering, my book is titled “Arsenal’s Guide to Rating the World with Unchecked Bias.”)

All characters are translated feverishly except for perhaps Ego (who I would argue has been shoehorned into this plot because it is generally such a cool character.) Thanos is lovesick and sick in the head. Galactus is hungry and condescending. Silver Surfer ponders things… a lot.

Unfortunately, none of the characters or their motivations are given ample time to stick. None of them make much of an impression except for Galactus who is the beneficiary of one of the James Blendick’s best performances. The guy menaces better than anyone short of Vincent Price.

Thanos, Ego and even the Surfer do not make much of an impression. And that is a problem. We are two episodes in, and Surfer is still not much to root for.