Beverly Hills Family Robinson is a 1997 American Walt Disney television film based on the novel Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. It features Dyan Cannon, Martin Mull, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ryan O'Donohue as the main cast and was aired on ABC.
Marsha Robinson (Dyan Cannon) is a famous TV personality and has her own lifestyle and cooking show. Together with her husband, Doug (Martin Mull), a dentist, her daughter, Jane (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and her son, Roger (Ryan O'Donohue), she lives in Beverly Hills. Her TV show takes her and her family to Hawaii. When they arrive in Honolulu their yacht is captured by "modern pirates" at night and when they wake up in the morning, they find themselves and their unbidden guests out on the open sea. But being the Robinsons they trick them and leave them behind in a lifeboat.
When things finally seem to be good and the Robinsons try to sail to the next harbor, the yacht gets caught in a storm and they shipwreck on a deserted island. Of course, Marsha—being a socialite—freaks out and threatens Doug with a nervous breakdown if they aren't saved within the next 45 minutes and Jane and Roger isn't fond of their situation either. But nobody saves them or knows where they are. So there's nothing to do but settle in, survive, and build a tree house.
Life on the island turns into routine, although Marsha films herself while giving statements about her family's miserable situation after the shipwreck—just in case they'll be saved and she has footage for TV shows.
Meanwhile, the pirates have been stranded on the island, too, which the Robinsons do not know. It also has an inhabitant, a shipwrecked surfer named Digger, who secretly eats all of Marsha's chocolates. The Robinsons get to know him when Doug has an underwater accident and needs to be saved by a good swimmer. Jane falls in love with him. He helps them finish their treehouse and becomes a member of the family.
The pirates discover the Robinsons and they need to struggle with the unbidden guests once again.
- Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970-1995, Oxford Uni Press, 1996 p13
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