Ray Bradbury Theater – The Veldt (S3E11)

rbtveldt02One of Bradbury’s most famous stories.  Like A Sound of Thunder, it is not in the 100 story collection I have.  I’m starting to think I was had.

We open in the futuristic home of George and Lydia (as their children call them).  Lydia wants George to take a look at the nursery — the nursery of the future basically being a holodeck, although the 3rd dimension seems to come and go.

They enter the nursery and George is wowed by the images that occupy the entire wall of the titular veldt including zebras, wildebeests, giraffes and lions.  Lydia gets a bad vibe from the room, but can’t put her finger on it.

When an on-screen lion begins walking their way, Lydia pulls George out of the room and locks the door.  Which seems pretty paranoid until they hear growls and footsteps through the door.

George later tries to reprogram the nursery to a less threatening scene, but is unable to.  Lydia believes the children have locked the device on its Africa setting.

The kids come home; and apparently kids dress like Luke and Leia in the future as well as a long time ago.

Lydia accuses the kids of damaging the nursery and spending 40 hours a week in Africa, but they insist they don’t even get the Africa Channel. Looking in the nursery, sure enough, it is showing a peaceful lake, and appears to be the Golf Channel.

rbtveldt10After consulting their child psych-iatrist pal, they shut down the nursery and all the other electronic helpers around the house.  The nursery screen is reduced to static. The kids accuse their parents of killing the animals.  Because do kids today even know what static is? Tint?  Horizontal?  Vertical?  I don’t mean TV settings, I just mean general vocabulary — they don’t seem too bright.

That night, George and Lydia hear their kids calling for help.  They rush into the nursery and are locked in.  A lion begins charging them.

Their shrink buddy comes to visit.  Seeing no one in the living room, he checks out the nursery.  The kids are having a tea party on the titular veldt as lions gaze on the portly psychiatrist.

rbtveldt13Just as with A Sound of Thunder, the producers briefly removed their heads from their ass and came up with a good episode.  It was good to see Linda Kelsey for the first time in many years, and her husband and the psychiatrist did good jobs as well.

The kids are both just terrible performers.  The daughter has no other credits on IMDb.  The son seems to work about once a year;  this was his first role, so maybe he got better.

The animal scenes are clearly cut in or green-screened, but the effect is very well done and does not take you out of the episode.  Whaddaya think, RBT is going to Africa to film?  Well they did go to Europe and New Zealand for much less effect.

Overall, one of the best RBT’s so far.  In fact, with the exception of The Haunting of the New, RBT has been on a mini-roll recently.  Next week is the last episode of the season. Hopefully the producers don’t forget everything they learned during the summer vacation.

Post-Post:

  • Five of the the monitors in their living room appear to be showing other episodes of Ray Bradbury Theater — so maybe this is an allegory for Hell.  I can make out Punishment Without Crime, The Coffin, Gotcha and The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl.
  • Actually, I am heartened that I can’t place all of them — most of the episodes do not deserve any space in my brain.
  • Wow — there actually is a Golf Channel.  It is owned by NBC so they have experience with bad lies.  Heyyyyooooo!
  • Sometimes the nursery is clearly just a 2-D television.  Other times, like below, it achieves holodeck status.

rbtveldt17

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