Written by Hombre Divertido
Billed as Saturday morning’s first live-action super-heroine, Isis ran around stopping crimes and saving lives in a mini-skirt and go-go boots on The Secrets of Isis as part of the Shazam/Isis Hour on CBS.
As in most Saturday morning shows, the premise of the show and/or origin of the hero, or in this case heroine, was explained in the opening. Here, we are informed that science teacher Andrea Thomas (Joanna Cameron) unearthed a lost treasure on an archeological dig; she found that the mystical amulet endowed her with the powers given by the ancient Egyptian Goddess, Isis! Able to keep her secret identity hidden due to the fact that she went to the same optometrist as Clark Kent, Andrea Thomas was a hip high school teacher who just happened to be able to command the elements and posses the abilities of animals when needed. In most cases she used her powers to help the high school kids out of perilous situations while teaching them valuable lessons, occasionally with the help of her fellow hero Captain Marvel.
These twenty-two episodes will certainly thrust you back to 1975 when Isis first appeared, and make you realize that what seemed so amazing back then appears quite simple now. Though that can be disappointing, the trip down memory lane is till a pleasant one. Simple is the word here as the writing is very blunt and there is a huge formage factor and queso quotient here.
In most episodes Andrea found herself dealing with a new student who just didn’t quite fit in. From a class clown to an overly ambitious cheerleader or a kid that was too short, each would manage to get themselves into trouble often pulling Andreas friends fellow teacher Rick Mason (Brian Cutler) and students/aides (Never clearly defined) Cindy Lee (Joanna Pang-Season 1) and Rennie Carol (Ronalda Douglas-Season 2) into danger with them. Luckily, Andrea would manage to find a way to slip away so that Isis could appear and save the day.
Bill Cosby set the tone in the seventies with his cartoon show where each episode would contain an epilogue with a moral lesson for the kids. Though the Isis show originally contained similar moral epilogues, they are missing from these twenty-two episodes. Many can be found in a segment of the extras in this DVD set with a far-too-brief explanation that they were removed from the segments in the nineteen nineties. When watching them in the extras, one can’t help but wonder as to what the motivation would have been to remove such valuable content.
Those moral messages are only a section of extras that abound in this set. From a DVD-ROM containing all the scripts, to extensive photo galleries, and intensive, if not painfully long, interviews with the cast and crew, there is plenty of entertaining and informative stuff here to fill your brain with the meat you are looking for after watching the episodes. Noticeably absent is and interview with Isis herself; Joanna Cameron.
Recommendation: Children’s entertainment has come along way since Isis, and unfortunately, these shows may not be entertaining to kids now, but for the adults who grew up in that era; this set contains enough extra information to make it worth a look.