ORBzine - Man from Atlantis, The (1977) TV Review

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Man from Atlantis (1977)

Specials: Made-For-TV Movies



Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Made-for-TV Movie, Episode 1] The Man from Atlantis (120 min)
Shown 04 Mar 77

A man (Patrick Duffy - ) is washed ashore in California. He has amnesia, so they nickname him Mark Harris. He turns out to have gills and webbed fingers.

A corrupt billionaire, Mr. Shubert (Victor Buono - ), has used his wealth and power to create an underwater base. He will use it as a refuge, to safeguard himself and some top scientists in the event of nuclear war. In fact, he is so keen that he wants to start a nuclear war anyway. If this all sounds a bit familiar, this is basically the plot of the film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) .

Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Made-for-TV Movie, Episode 2] Death Scouts (120 min)
Shown 07 May 77

Mark and his lady Doctor have left the US Navy's influence, and now work for a civilian institute. They have kept Mr Schubert's awesome submarine, however.

A trio of SCUBA divers are abducted by some underwater entity. One of them floats up as a corpse, but the other two start walking around and acting strangely.

The divers have been possessed by aliens. They try to convince Mark that he is one of them, and he is very eager to believe it. After all, he desperately wants to find his true home.

Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Made-for-TV Movie, Episode 3] Killer Spores (120 min)
Shown 17 May 77

A US Military satellite crashes into the ocean. Since the Institute's submarine is closest, they are the ones who have to go investigate. Mark recovers the probe, but it seems to be like Operation Scoop in The Andromeda Project .

In the previous movie, aliens infect humans who then try to convince Mark to help them. This time, the aliens cut out the middle-man and infect Mark directly. That said, they also infect a bunch of other people as well.

Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Made-for-TV Movie, Episode 4] The Disappearance (90 min)
Shown 20 Jun 77

A lawyer visits the Institute, and lures Dr. Elizabeth Merrill ( Belinda Montgomery ) away to a meeting. It turns out that he is a professional kidnapper, and since no ransom demands have been received or bodies recovered the FBI have nicknamed his crimes The Disappearances.

Mark and the team at the Institute work out where Elizabeth has been taken. It is a small island off the coast of Brazil. This may be outside the FBI's jurisdiction, but the Institute could call Interpol. Instead, Mark takes the Cetacean submarine to the island.

It turns out that the villains have stolen ideas from a couple of previous stories. They use a shower of water contaminated with special minerals, which brainwashes anyone exposed to it. Not unlike the brainwashing spores from the previous movie. And the motive for this all? The main villain wants to create a survival ark to preserve certain humans when the Earth's surface is rendered uninhabitable. Just like Mr Shubert in the original, with his plan from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) . Again, this movie puts its own spin on the idea. The villains have built a Star Ark (like in Stark (1994) ), and want to visit another solar system. Presumably they have cryo-sleep, since there is no FTL engine, which means that a Star Trek: Botany Bay story might be the result.

Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1 , Episode 1 ]
Shown th October 2016 [Wednesday]

Reviewed in our special supplement Man from Atlantis (1977)

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  • Man from Atlantis (1977)

    Season 1

    • Alan Fudge as C.W. Crawford [ 2 ]
    • J. Victor Lopez as Chuey [ 2 ]
    • Richard Laurence Williams as Jomo [ 2 ]
    • Jean Marie Hon as Jane [ 2 ]
    • Anson Downes as Allen [ 2 ]
    • Robert Lussier as Brent [ 2 ]
    
    
    
    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 1] Melt Down
    Shown 22 Sep 77

    Mark Harris (Patrick Duffy - ) is a submarine commander who works for the Ocean Institute. He also breathes underwater, like Kevin Costner in Waterworld , and prefers eating plankton to eating tacos.

    A corrupt billionaire, Mr. Shubert (Victor Buono - ), is using his wealth and power to melt the polar ice-cap. This will quickly raise the sea level and destroy all coastal cities. He demands the US Government hand over Mark Harris. Instead, Harris and his submarine crew investigate. This means that the antagonist wins by default.

    When Mark Harris is off on an Away Mission, Dr. Elizabeth Merrill ( Belinda Montgomery ) takes command of the submarine. This is exactly the opposite of Buck Rogers (S2) ), which introduced a new character named Admiral Asimov. Wilma was originally replaced as Buck's partner by Hawk, but thanks to Gil Gerard's intervention she was retained as a stewardess. But if Wilma had been promoted from Colonel to Admiral, this would have made the terrible Season Two slightly more bearable.

    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 2] The Mudworm
    Shown 13 Oct 77

    The corrupt billionaire, Mr. Shubert (Victor Buono - ), has created a robotic probe that extracts a valuable mineral named K-7 from the sea bed. However, this AI has rejected orders from its creator.

    Shubert calls in Mark Harris (Patrick Duffy - ), in the hope that the man who can talk to the fishes can also communicate with an AI.

    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 3] Hawk of Mu
    Shown 18 Oct 77

    The corrupt billionaire, Mr. Shubert (Victor Buono - ), is back with another scientific plan for world domination. His minion is still there to help out, despite being abandoned to certain death in the previous episode. They discover an ancient Egyptian artefact that has anti-energy, which absorbs any electricity in the surrounding area. Of course, to approach it they must use a bicycle.

    The so-called villain's plan is not one of global blackmail, as it was when he melted the polar icecap a couple of episodes ago. Instead he wants to use the anti-energy to create an electricity-free civilisation. That said, he would still allow regional hospitals to access electricity. Yes, this seems like a paradise of sorts.

    The Ocean Research Foundation sends in Mark Harris (Patrick Duffy - ), to steal the statue and magically turn it into a real hawk.

    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 4] Giant
    Shown 25 Oct 77

    This episode starts with a couple of 1970s throwbacks in a desert. Muldoon (Ted Neely - Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) ) is chased by an incredible hulk (Kareem Abdul-Jabar - Game of Death ), who is powered up like Lou Ferrigno as The Incredible Hulk .

    Mark Harris (Patrick Duffy - ) and his submarine crew are investigating why the Earth's oceans are mysteriously draining. They discover a mysterious whirlpool, with Muldoon at the bottom of it. Although Muldoon lies to them constantly, and tries to con them out of money, they eventually work out that the whirlpool was man-made and that somehow Muldoon had been to the other side.

    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 5] Man O'War
    Shown 01 Nov 77

    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 6] Shoot Out At Land's End
    Shown 8th November 1977

    A couple of episodes ago, this show had the same problem as Buck Rogers in the Twenty-Fifth Century (1979) , namely the reliance on Wild West back-lots. The episode Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 4] Giant used a prospector's cabin, while this week it is a frontier farm and a whole town. Even the main plot is a generic wild west storyline, tied up in the main character's quest to find his origins.

    Mark gets a stabbing pain in his shoulder, with no apparent wound. He deduces that this has something to do with the submarine's current heading, so he directs it to a nearby island. When he goes out alone to explore, he discovers a world where technology and society are of the wild west era. His doppelganger is a gunslinger who works for a villainous cattle baron, and both Mark and his double can feel each others pain. Will Mark's twin brother redeem himself, or will they have a cain-and-abel climactic shootout?

    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 7] Crystal Water, Sudden Death
    Shown 22 Nov 77

    The corrupt billionaire, Mr. Shubert (Victor Buono - ), is back with a new sidekick named Mr Havagale (Rene Auberjonois - Star Trek: DS9 ). While sailing in their reconditioned U-Boat they discover an anomaly. Naturally they lure Mark and his crew in to do the investigating for them.

    The anomaly is an underwater force-field. It is a dome which contains a liveable space named Kilborough Deep, populated by strange albino people. Mark wants to help the albinos, while Schubert plans to enslave them as miners of a powerful crystal. Schubert will use the crystals to control the world's radio-waves. Worse, removing the crystals will cause the force-field to collapse.

    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 8] The Naked Montague
    Shown 06 Dec 77

    The submarine detects an underwater anomaly. Unlike Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 4] Giant , which had a whirlpool which led to an alien planet, this time it is a volcano which causes a time-warp. Mark swims through a volcanic tunnel, and finds himself at a fountain in late medieval Italy. Yes, yet another example of inappropriate studio back-lots.

    Mark is befriended by Romeo Montague (John Shea - Lois and Clark ) but gets sucked into Romeo's illicit courtship of Juliet Capulet ( Lisa Eilbacher ). Lots of swordplay ensues, along with some out-of-context Shakespeare quotes. Since Mark has no familiarity with Shakespeare, he is the only one who does not know how this will end.

    On the outside, the submarine's crew try to clear the tunnel of rubble. C.W., their boss back at HQ tries to find a salvage vessel to help out - either from the US Navy or the Russians. They are in a great hurry to save Mark, even though they know he has gills so he will not run out of air!

    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 9] C.W. Hyde
    Shown 13 Dec 77

    A deep sea underwater probe, a kind of robot submarine, has gone missing. It is a joint project between the US Navy and CIA, so Mark and his submarine are sent to recover it. After all, they did the same for The Mudworm - a private sector mining rig of similar specifications. Yes, Schubert's tech is better than that of the US Military Industrial complex.

    Mark has recently recovered a mysterious organic fluid from the seabed. C.W. breaks the biggest rule - no eating or drinking in the workspace - and accidentally consumes some of the mysterious fluid. This makes him turn into the villainous Mr Hyde ...

    Hyde is different from the regular C.W. in a couple of ways. He has a unibrow, to start with. Also, he has an extreme level of confidence that might be regarded as arrogance if he did not have the apparent ability to back it up. Unfortunately for the real C.W., his alter-ego irritates the local gangster but does not bother to use a convincing alias.

    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 10] Scavenger Hunt
    Shown 18 Apr 78

    Muldoon (Ted Neely - Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) ) is back, with a man-sized two-headed sea-horse as his companion. He has convinced a tribe of superstitious polynesians that the sea-horse is a magical creature, and that they must sacrifice their pearls and their maidens to it. As a result, he has a group of girls to cook and clean for him ... and the local tribesmen have no pearls to trade with the outside world.

    Mark and his crew are sent to investigate the area. Nobody cares about the abuse of the tribesmen, but some NBC waste cannisters that were supposed to have been dumped in the deepest parts of the ocean have begun to wash up in the islands. It turns out that the sea-horse has been collecting them.

    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 11] Imp
    Shown 25 Apr 78

    A US Navy underwater observation pod is invaded by an imp named Mobi (Pat Morita - The Karate Kid ). He has the mental age of a playful six-year-old child, and when he touches another person they are mentally reduced into becoming his playmate. Mark is sent out to investigate, and inadvertently leads Mobi back to the base.

    What makes Mobi more terrifying than the usual mind-raper is the fact that he is so child-like as to be entirely oblivious to the consequences of his actions. As a result, he can do anything he wants without any apparent guilt or remorse.

    Mobi takes over CW, who loses his tight-assed attitude for the first time since he was Mr Hyde. Thanks to six degrees of seperation, Mobi ends up en route to the Pentagon where he will be able to take over the US nuclear deterrent.

    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 12] The Siren
    Shown 02 May 78

    Mark stalks a bikini-clad scuba diver ( Laurette Spang ) who is hanging out with her sugar-daddy on the yacht named Ambergris. It turns out that something has been attacking small pleasure vessels in the area, and the Ambergris is staked out as the next potential victim.

    The culprit is not a herd of renegade Orcas, but a submarine filled with bandana-wearing pirates. Their secret weapon is a mermaid that can sing a hypnotic siren song. The mermaid looks Japanese ... Yes, in this show the magical entities tend to be People Of Colour.

    Dr. Elizabeth Merrill ( Belinda Montgomery ) is not among the crew this time. Perhaps she is off looking after her friend who was injured in the previous episode, although she is not mentioned at all. In her place is a new female Doctor named Jenny, who disregards unscientific ideas like myths and legends. This marks her out as someone who is very unfamiliar with the previous missions this crew has been on.

    Man from Atlantis (1977) Man from Atlantis (1977) [Season 1, Episode 13] Deadly Carnival
    Shown 06 Jun 78

    Moxie (Billy Barty - Masters of the Universe ) and Arthur (Anthony James - ) are carnival workers who are planning a heist. Mark is sent in undercover, to foil their dastardly plan.

    Mark fits in quite well with the Carnie crowd. The boss lady, Charlene Baker ( Sharon Farrell ), takes quite a liking to him. Since Dr. Elizabeth Merrill ( Belinda Montgomery ) is not among the cast this time, Mark gets to have a new love interest.

    Ironic that the last episode of the series is basically a police procedural story. It makes use of some great outdoor locations, which means that it uses very few of the main sets. Likewise, only a couple of the main cast are used.