Man from Atlantis
Man from Atlantis[a] is an American science fiction television series that ran for 13 episodes on the NBC network during the 1977–78 season, following four television films that had aired earlier in 1977. Ratings success by these movies led to the commissioning of a weekly series for the 1977–78 season.
|Man from Atlantis|
|Created by||Mayo Simon & Herbert F. Solow|
|Written by||Mayo Simon (pilot)|
|Directed by||Lee H. Katzin (pilot)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||13, plus four television films (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Herbert F. Solow|
|Running time||42–44 minutes per episode|
|Production company(s)||Solow Production Company|
|Distributor||Taft H-B International|
|Original release||September 22, 1977 –|
June 6, 1978
The series stars Patrick Duffy as an amnesiac man given the name of Mark Harris, believed to be the only surviving citizen of the lost civilization of Atlantis. He possesses exceptional abilities, including the ability to breathe underwater and withstand extreme depth pressures, and superhuman strength. His hands and feet are webbed, his eyes are unusually sensitive to light, and he swims using his arms and legs in a fashion suggestive of an underwater butterfly stroke or dolphin kick. Following his discovery, he is recruited by the Foundation for Oceanic Research, a governmental agency that conducts top secret research and explores the depths of the ocean in a sophisticated submarine called the Cetacean.
The supporting cast includes Belinda J. Montgomery as Dr. Elizabeth Merrill (who had nursed Mark Harris back to health) and Alan Fudge as C. W. Crawford, Jr., both of the Foundation for Oceanic Research. Victor Buono played the villainous Mr. Schubert in the pilot and several episodes of the series. Kenneth Tigar appeared in the second, third, and fourth movies as Dr. Miller Simon, M.D., also of the Foundation for Oceanic Research. The series added an ensemble cast as "The Crew of the Cetacean", consisting of Richard Laurance Williams, J. Victor Lopez, Jean Marie Hon (who had also been seen in Ark II), and Anson Downes. In the 12th episode, a new female lead character replaced Elizabeth Merrill, Dr. Jenny Reynolds, played by actress Lisa Blake Richards. The last episode did not feature any female lead character.
The show was produced by Herbert Franklin Solow's studio Solow Production Company, a company spun off from the live-action arm of American animation studio Hanna-Barbera Productions. The Foundation for Oceanic Research headquarters building was represented by the Point Fermin lighthouse in San Pedro, California. The Cetacean submarine's voyages were shown through miniature work by the special effects team of Gene Warren.
Critic Tom Shales, reviewing the show for the Washington Post, opined that "kids may be impressed" by the heroics and special effects, but the show lacked "adult appeal" and that the plot lines would "soon wear thinner than water".
|Nº||Title||Directed by:||Written by:||Air date|
|M1||Man from Atlantis||Lee H. Katzin||Mayo Simon||March 4, 1977|
|(Pilot): After a violent storm at sea, the inert body of a man is found on the beach near the Naval Undersea Center. Equipped with webbed hands and gills instead of lungs, he can breathe underwater, swim faster than a dolphin and dive to depths of at least seven miles. He is nursed back to health by Doctor Elizabeth Merrill and given the name of Mark Harris. In return, Mark agrees to help the United States Navy recover a lost missing submarine carrying top military officials. Deep in the ocean, Mark discovers an enormous undersea habitat constructed by Mr. Schubert, a maniacal scientist who has gained the assistance of kidnapped scientists from various nations via mind-control bracelets and plans to destroy all the nations of the world with their own nuclear weapons. Mark foils this plan by flooding the undersea habitat and helping the scientists escape, although the fate of Schubert is unknown. He decides to return to his aquatic life but, when reflecting on his recent encounters with humans, returns to a delighted Dr. Merrill, declaring, "I have not yet learned enough."|
|M2||The Death Scouts||Marc Daniels||Robert Lewin||May 7, 1977|
|Mark investigates the disappearance of three scuba divers, two of whom are 'replaced' by waterbourne aliens (Tiffany Bolling as Lioa / Dilly and Burr DeBenning as Xos / Chazz). The aliens assignment is to scout Earth and check its defense capabilities. They also give the impression that Mark may also be one of them, specially bred for Earth infiltration, but this is not specifically confirmed.|
|M3||Killer Spores||Reza Badiyi||John D. F. Black||May 17, 1977|
|When a space capsule crashes in the ocean near the Cetacean, Mark and Elizabeth agree to investigate. When they arrive, Mark is rendered unconscious by a screeching sound. They discover hundreds of strange, blue, intelligent spores that have taken over Mark's body, attempting to find a way back into space. However, they do not know that Mark will die if he does not return to water within a few hours.|
|M4||The Disappearances||Charles S. Dubin||Luther Murdoch,|
|June 20, 1977|
|A demented scientist, Dr. Mary Smith, abducts and drugs top scientists from around the world--including Elizabeth Merrill--to work on a secret project.|
|Nº||Title||Directed by:||Written by:||Air date|
|1||"Melt Down"||Virgil Vogel||Tom Greene||September 22, 1977|
|Schubert threatens to cause worldwide flooding by using powerful microwaves to melt Earth's polar ice caps, unless the government turns Mark Harris over to him.|
|2||"The Mudworm"||Virgil Vogel||Alan Caillou||October 13, 1977|
|When a multimillion-dollar underwater probe malfunctions and begins attacking any ship that travels near it, Mark must reason with its highly advanced brain and convince it to stop.|
|3||"The Hawk of Mu"||Harry Harris||Luther Murdoch,|
David H. Balkan
|October 18, 1977|
|Mark, investigating a power outage, discovers a centuries-old hawk statue from the legendary civilization of Mu. The statue, when used properly, can remove the power from a large area. Schubert discovers the power of the hawk statue and Mark must prevent him from taking it.|
|4||"Giant"||Richard Benedict||Michael I. Wagner||October 25, 1977|
|The oceans are leaking through a fissure in the ocean floor. A con-man named Muldoon agrees to guide Mark through the fissure to investigate. However, Mark is unaware either that giants inhabit the other side of the fissure or that Muldoon has already stolen gold from one of them.|
|5||"Man O' War"||Michael O'Herlihy||Larry Alexander||November 1, 1977|
|Using his genetic scientists, Schubert produces a giant jellyfish which he intends to release unless his extortion demands are met.|
|6||"Shoot-Out At Land's End"||Barry Crane||Luther Murdoch||November 8, 1977|
|Mark is somehow linked with a man named Billy, existing in a wild west town, who appears to be his twin. Investigating, Mark arrives in the town and discovers that Billy once had the same webbing as Mark, but also that he has had it removed.|
|7||"Crystal Water, Sudden Death"||David Moessinger||Larry Alexander||November 22, 1977|
|Schubert attempts to make a satellite weapon to knock out Earth's communications. However, to power the weapon, he needs the energy crystals protected by a force field under the ocean. The crystals actually power the force field that protects an underwater city.|
|8||"The Naked Montague"||Robert Douglas||Stephen Kandel||December 6, 1977|
|An underwater landslide transports Mark to Verona, Italy...in the days of Romeo and Juliet.|
|9||"C. W. Hyde"||Dann Cahn||Stephen Kandel||December 13, 1977|
|C. W. develops a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality after swallowing a mysterious liquid.|
|10||"Scavenger Hunt"||David Moessinger||Peter Allan Fields||April 18, 1978|
|Mark re-encounters Muldoon, his nemesis from "Giant," who is using a sea monster to make island natives sacrifice young girls to him.|
|11||"Imp"||Paul Krasny||Shimon Wincelberg||April 25, 1978|
|An impish little man enters an underwater station and causes the crew to become irrational simply by touching them. After three crewmen die, the F.F.O.R. hears Duke, the last crewman, talking over the radio in a childish manner and investigates. Mark swims over and brings Duke over to the Cetacean, not knowing the imp has stowed aboard. Note: This was the last episode that co-starred Belinda J. Montgomery as Dr. Elizabeth Merrill; her screen credit was struck from the show's introduction in later episodes.|
|12||"Siren"||Edward M. Abroms||Michael I. Wagner||May 2, 1978|
|While investigating the mysterious loss of three ships in one part of the ocean, Mark and the crew of the Cetacean encounter a submarine operated by a modern-day pirate. The pirate has captured a mermaid that can produce a hypnotic siren song, which mesmerizes anyone who hears it, even Mark.|
|13||"Deadly Carnival"||Dennis Donnelly||Larry Alexander||June 6, 1978|
|Mark goes undercover to investigate members of a carnival planning to break into a museum. The only way to break into the museum is through an underwater tunnel, through which only Mark can swim. When he is approached, he refuses. The owner of the carnival is then kidnapped and threatened unless Mark helps. (Last installment of the series in its original production run.)|
The first pilot film was released on VHS in 1986 by Worldvision Home Video, primarily for the rental market, and re-released in 1987 by budget label Goodtimes Home Video for the budget sell-through market (recorded in LP speed). It was later released on DVD as a part of the Warner Archive collection from Warner Home Video on October 6, 2009. On July 26, 2011, Warner Bros. released Man from Atlantis: The Complete TV Movies Collection, featuring all four television films, as well as Man from Atlantis — The Complete Television Series for Region 1 DVD release via their Warner Archive Collection. These are manufactured-on-demand (MOD) releases, available on Warner's online store or Amazon and only in the United States. All movies and episodes are also available on multiple streaming services. 
Man from Atlantis was the first American television series to be shown in the People's Republic of China in 1980, with the title translated to "The Man from the Bottom of the Atlantic". It was at the time when the "Gang of Four" lost power to Deng Xiaoping, and science research began to get attention, along with economic development. In Brazil it was named O Homem do Fundo do Mar (The Man from the Bottom of the Sea in Portuguese). In Portugal, the title was a direct translation of the original, O Homem da Atlântida, being screened on RTP1. In Kuwait, it was released in the early 1980s in English with Arabic subtitles. In the Netherlands, the series was broadcast by TROS broadcasting association, from June 15, 1978 until September 5, 1980. In Germany, the series was broadcast by ARD from 1982 to 1983 and in 1988 by RTL plus with the title translated to Der Mann aus Atlantis. The show preserved its name in France as well, where it aired as L'Homme de l'Atlantide. In Turkey, the series also preserved its name and was broadcast as Atlantis'ten Gelen Adam. It was also shown on SABC in South Africa in 1979, with the original title.
In the United Kingdom, Man from Atlantis was shown, in most regions, in an early Saturday evening slot on ITV starting in September 1977, opposite the BBC's long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who, which was then in its 15th season. Although Man from Atlantis had not been a ratings/audience-share or demographic success in the US, the series actually beat Doctor Who during its transmission in the UK. (This happened again in 1980–81 when ITV screened Buck Rogers in the 25th Century against Doctor Who.) In Italy, the series was one of the early successes of the then interregional network Telemilano, future Canale 5, that began to air the series on February 11, 1980 under the name L'Uomo di Atlantide. The first TV-film, Man from Atlantis, was released on video in Norway in the 1980s. In Israel, the Man from Atlantis was shown on Channel 1, the only channel at that time. HaIsh MeAtlantis, a literal translation of the English title, also enjoyed reruns.
In 1977, Dell Publishing published a novelization titled Man from Atlantis #1, written by Richard Woodley, which was followed by Man from Atlantis #2: "Death Scouts" from the same author. The line continued unnumbered with Killer Spores (1977) and Ark of Doom (1978), also by Woodley, the latter being the retitled novelization of "The Disappearances". In 1978, Marvel Comics published seven issues of a Man from Atlantis comic book, written by Bill Mantlo with art by Frank Robbins and Frank Springer. At the same time as Marvel, Look-In, in the UK, began publishing a comic strip; this one was drawn by Mike Noble (and later John Cooper for one story). It was short-lived, lasting less than a year before being replaced with Enid Blyton's Famous Five. Kenner began development on a Man from Atlantis line of action figures and toy vehicles in 1977, but it never proceeded past the prototype stage.
Series star Patrick Duffy wrote a sequel novel, titled simply Man from Atlantis, which was published in June 2016. The 'blog space1970, which reported on this novel, described it thus:
When TV unveiled the series Man from Atlantis, no one knew the how, where and why of Mark Harris. Over time the show's star, Patrick Duffy, formulated his own version of the history of Mark and his people. Here at last is the book that gives every reader and fan of the show the life and mythology of Atlantis, who they were and where they came from. Patrick Duffy's close connection to his fictional character makes this a behind the scenes fantasy story.
- A number of sources prepend the word The to the title; however, the actual on-screen title of the series, plus the title used for spin-off novels and comic books, does not include the article.
- "'Man from Atlantis Premieres Sept. 22". Ocala Star-Banner. September 17, 1977. p. TV4. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- "'The Man from Atlantis' Swims to Top in Nielsen". Los Angeles Times. June 29, 1977. p. H18. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- Margulies, Lee (March 4, 1977). "A Mystery of the Deep Surfaces". Los Angeles Times. p. F20. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- O'Connor, John J. (September 22, 1977). "'Atlantis,' Comic In Sea of Foolishness". The New York Times. p. 24. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- Shostak, Stu (December 20, 2006). "Interview with Mark Evanier". Stu's Show. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
- Shales, Tom (September 23, 1977). "'Man from Atlantis' fitting for Saturday morning slot". St. Petersburg Times. Washington Post. p. 12D. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- Lambert, David (October 7, 2009). "The Man from Atlantis - From Warner's Archives Comes the 'Pilot' Telefilm on DVD, Starring Patrick Duffy". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on February 15, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- Lambert, David (July 18, 2011). "The Man from Atlantis - Warner Archive Announces 2 MOD Sets with ALL the Remaining Stories". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on May 2, 2012.
- "China buys 'Atlantis' TV show". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. October 5, 1979. p. 15. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- "The Man from Atlantis". The UK Sci-Fi TV Book Guide. Archived from the original on December 27, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- "Man from Atlantis; Marvel Publishing that started in 1978". Comic Vine. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- "Man from Atlantis; Look-In Comics that started in 1978". Plaid Stallions. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
- "Kenner Man from Atlantis Prototypes and Concept Sketches". Plaid Stallions. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- Mills, Christopher. "News: Patrick Duffy's Man from Atlantis Novel Due 2016". space1970. Retrieved January 8, 2016.