Cover of the Ark II DVD set
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||15 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Original run||September 11, 1976– December 18, 1976|
Ark II is an American live-action science fiction series, aimed at children, that aired on CBS, beginning in 1976, as part of its Saturday morning line-up. Only 15 half-hour episodes of Ark II were ever produced; however, these episodes were re-run by the CBS television network for several years.
Series overview 
The opening credits for each episode, as read first by executive producer Lou Scheimer (using his then uncredited pseudonym Erik Gunden), then by the voice of Terry Lester, who portrayed Jonah, summarized the show's backstory.
The show had a racially mixed cast, starring Terry Lester as Ark II's commander Jonah, Jean Marie Hon as Ruth, José Flores as Samuel, and a chimpanzee playing Adam. The show's premise was inspired by the story of Noah's Ark, and the characters were given names taken from the Hebrew Bible. The show's setting was in the post-apocalyptic 25th Century (specifically, 2476, the show having debuted in 1976), after Earth's civilizations were decimated by the effects of waste, pollution, and warfare, falling back to a level comparable to the Dark Ages. Surviving scientists pooled their knowledge and resources, training three young people (and the chimp, who was capable of speech) to search for remnants of humanity, reintroducing lost ideas as they traveled the barren landscape in the high-tech Ark II.
The show mentions a "headquarters" and that the crew are scientists. The titles Commander and Captain are used to refer to Jonah.
In "The Launch of Ark II," the documentary filmed for the release of the DVD set, Lou Scheimer and others mention that the program was filmed during the summer of 1976 predominantly on location at Paramount Ranch near Malibu, California.
The series is best-remembered for its titular vehicle: a futuristic-looking six-wheeled combination RV and mobile laboratory. The vehicle was built from a fiberglass body on a garbage/dump truck chassis by the Brubaker Group. It is sometimes incorrectly reported that the Ark II was built by Dean Jeffries, who constructed various fantastic vehicles for science-fiction films and television. These include the Landmaster for the film Damnation Alley, with which the Ark II is sometimes confused. The front end of the Ark II prop was later re-used as the nose portion of the Seeker spacecraft in the Filmation series Space Academy and Jason of Star Command.
In addition, the series also featured futuristic inventions such as a jetpack called the Jet Jumper, and the Ark Roamer, a smaller, 4-wheeled all-terrain vehicle built by Brubaker from a modified Brubaker Box, a kit car using a Volkswagen Beetle chassis.
Guest stars 
The series featured memorable guest stars, including Jonathan Harris, Malachi Throne, Jim Backus, Helen Hunt, and Robby the Robot as the title character built by Samuel in the episode "The Robot." Also, a young Helen Hunt appears in the episode, "Omega." Actor Daniel Selby auditioned for the role of Samuel, but Jose Flores ended up winning the role.
Four years after Ark II ended, Terry Lester, who played Jonah, went on to greater fame as the original Jack Abbott on the long running soap, The Young and the Restless. He played that role until 1985, when the role was eventually recast four years later with actor Peter Bergman. Terry Lester passed away in 2003.
|Title||Original Airdate||Director / Writer(s)||#|
|"The Flies"||September 11, 1976||Ted Post/Martin Roth||101|
|A group of feral children find ancient canisters of poison gas.|
|"The Slaves"||September 18, 1976||Hollingsworth Morse/David Dworski||102|
|Jonah is captured by a local Baron while scouting a village.|
|"The Wild Boy"||September 25, 1976||Hollingsworth Morse/Susan Dworski||103|
|The crew of the Ark II befriend a feral child.|
|"The Robot"||October 2, 1976||Ted Post/Chuck Menville, Len Janson||104|
|Samuel constructs a robot with limited artificial intelligence.|
|"Omega"||October 9, 1976||Hollingsworth Morse/Bill Danch, Jim Ryan||105|
|The Ark II's crew discovers an enclave enslaved by a rogue artificial intelligence.|
|"The Tank"||October 16, 1976||Ted Post/Mark Jones, Michael Prescott, Robert Specht||106|
|The crew refits an old military tank as a farm tractor.|
|"The Cryogenic Man"||October 23, 1976||Ted Post/Martin Roth||107|
|A cryogenically frozen man is revived.|
|"The Rule"||October 30, 1976||Ted Post/Martin Roth||108|
|The team comes across a settlement which has discarded the elderly and the weak.|
|"Robin Hood"||November 6, 1976||Hollingsworth Morse/Len Janson, Chuck Menville||109|
|An act of civil disobedience goes awry.|
|"The Drought"||November 13, 1976||Ted Post/Martin Roth||110|
|The feral children from episode 101 return to steal the Ark.|
|"The Lottery"||November 20, 1976||Ted Post/Phyllis White, Robert White||111|
|The team encounter a community of "grasshoppers" as seen in the Ant and the Grasshopper.|
|"The Mind Group"||November 27, 1976||Hollingsworth Morse/Robert Specht||112|
|The team runs afoul of a group of psionic children.|
|"The Balloon"||December 4, 1976||Hollingsworth Morse/Peter L. Dixon, Robert Specht||113|
|The team evacuates a plague stricken village using a hot air balloon.|
|"Don Quixote"||December 11, 1976||Ted Post/Robert Specht, Len Janson||114|
|A "modern" Don Quixote believes that the Ark vehicle is a dragon.|
|"Orkus"||December 18, 1976||Henry J. Lange Jr./Robert Specht, Chuck Menville||115|
|After discovering a community of self-styled "immortals," members of the crew begin to age rapidly.|
|"The Secret Sea"||Unproduced||Russell Bates (outline only)||116|
|While investigating ocean life, Jonah and Samuel are mistaken, by coastal cave dwellers, for "sea spirits."|
DVD release 
BCI Eclipse LLC, under a license it had obtained from Entertainment Rights, released Ark II: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 on November 7, 2006. The BCI Eclipse 4-disc set included many special features, and the episodes were presented in production order. But as of 2009, this release had been discontinued and was out of print, as BCI Eclipse ceased operations.
- Ark II at the Internet Movie Database
- Ark II at TV.com
- Ark II at Retro Junk (has the intro video)
- Unofficial Ark II Appreciation Site
- Ark II at 70's Live Kid DVD
- Memorable TV: Ark II episode guide
- Ark II at OldFutures.com