The Starlost

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{ship, engine, design}
{service, military, aircraft}
{son, year, death}
{work, book, publish}
{land, century, early}
{specie, animal, plant}
{woman, child, man}
{war, force, army}
{system, computer, user}
{god, call, give}
{math, energy, light}
{area, community, home}
{law, state, case}
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{village, small, smallsup}

The Starlost was a Canadian-produced science fiction television series devised by writer Harlan Ellison and broadcast in 1973 on CTV in Canada and syndicated to local stations in the United States. The show's setting is a huge generational colony spacecraft called The Ark, which has gone off-course. Many of the descendants of the original crew and colonists are unaware, however, that they are aboard a ship. The series experienced a number of production difficulties, and Ellison ended up disowning it before the first episode even aired.[1][2]

Contents

Premise

Faced with the destruction of Earth, humanity builds a multi-generational starship. The ship contains dozens of isolated, self-contained biospheres, each kilometers across and housing people of different cultures. Early in the voyage, however, disaster struck, and the command section was destroyed along with its crew.

Centuries later, a young man, Devon (Keir Dullea), a resident of Cypress Corners (a biosphere with an Amish-like culture), discovers that his world is far larger and more mysterious than he had realized. Considered an outcast because of his continual questioning of the way things are, especially his refusal to accept the pre-arranged marriage of Rachel (Gay Rowan), the girl Devon loves and who loves him, and his friend Garth (Robin Ward) to whom Rachel was promised in marriage, Devon inadvertently finds his way into the service areas of the ship and uncovers its fate: the bridge has been destroyed, the crew killed and the Ark is on a collision course with a Class G star similar to the Sun. Devon returns to Cypress Corners to tell his fellow biosphere-dwellers about what he has learned, but is put on trial for heresy and condemned to death. Helped to escape on the night before his execution by Garth, Devon convinces Rachel and Garth to come with him to find the backup bridge if they are to save the Ark and all of the colonists aboard. Occasionally, they are aided by the Ark's computer systems portrayed by William Osler.

The scenario drew on themes common to science fiction. It also had obvious potential for an interesting, developing story arc as the trio made more discoveries about the ship and contacted cultures previously isolated in other biospheres.

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