Man from Atlantis is a short-lived American science fiction/fantasy television series that ran for 13 episodes on the NBC network during the 1977-1978 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 1977-1978 season, but it was cancelled at the end of the first season due to a declining audience and high production costs.
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 civilisation 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. (Belinda Montgomery had managed to get out of her contract with the help of lawyers). The last episode did not feature any female lead character.
- Patrick Duffy … Mark Harris, 17 episodes, 1977-1978
- Alan Fudge … C.W. Crawford, 16 episodes, 1977-1978
- Belinda Montgomery … Dr. Elizabeth Merrill, 15 episodes, 1977-1978
- Richard Laurance Williams … Cetacean crew, 11 episodes, 1977-1978
- J. Víctor López … Cetacean crew, 11 episodes, 1977-1978
- Jean Marie Hon … Cetacean crew, 9 episodes, 1977-1978
- Victor Buono … Mr. Schubert, 6 episodes, 1977
- Anson Downes … Cetacean crew, 6 episodes, 1977-1978
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.
The pilot film was released on VHS in 1986 by Worldvision Home Video, and re-released in 1987 by Goodtimes Home Video. It was later released on DVD as a part of the Warner Archive collection from Warner Home Video on 06 October 2009. On 26 July 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. The pilot film was released on Blu-ray by Warner Archive Collection on 12 March 2019.
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 15 June 1978 until 05 September 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 24 September 1977. After airing the four television movies, the series was shown at an earlier time from 05 November 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 1980-1981 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 11 February 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 novelisation 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 novelisation 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, while Denys Fisher Toys passed on making Star Wars action figures for the UK as they thought the Man from Atlantis would be more successful.
Series star Patrick Duffy wrote a sequel novel, titled simply Man from Atlantis, which was published in June 2016.
Man from Atlantis Series
- Man from Atlantis (04 March 1977).
- The Death Scouts (07 May 1977).
- Killer Spores (17 May 1977).
- The Disappearances (20 June 1977).
- TV Series (1977):
- Episode 01: Melt Down.
- Episode 02: The Mudworm.
- Episode 03: The Hawk of Mu.
- Episode 04: Giant.
- Episode 05: Man O’ War.
- Episode 06: Shoot-Out At Land’s End.
- Episode 07: Crystal Water, Sudden Death.
- Episode 08: The Naked Montague.
- Episode 09: C.W. Hyde.
- Episode 10: Scavenger Hunt.
- Episode 11: Imp.
- Episode 12: Siren.
- Episode 13: Deadly Carnival.
Production & Filming Details
- David Moessinger … (2 episodes, 1977-1978)
- Virgil W. Vogel … (2 episodes, 1977)
- Edward M. Abroms … (1 episode, 1977)
- Reza Badiyi … (1 episode, 1977)
- Richard Benedict … (1 episode, 1977)
- Dann Cahn … (1 episode, 1977)
- Barry Crane … (1 episode, 1977)
- Marc Daniels … (1 episode, 1977)
- Robert Douglas … (1 episode, 1977)
- Charles S. Dubin … (1 episode, 1977)
- Harry Harris … (1 episode, 1977)
- Lee H. Katzin … (1 episode, 1977)
- Michael O’Herlihy … (1 episode, 1977)
- Dennis Donnelly … (1 episode, 1978)
- Paul Krasny … (1 episode, 1978)
- Herbert F. Solow … executive producer / producer (17 episodes, 1977-1978)
- Herman Miller … producer (13 episodes, 1977-1978)
- Robert H. Justman … producer / supervising producer (2 episodes, 1977)
- John D.F. Black … producer (1 episode, 1977)
- Bobbie Getzler … associate producer (1 episode, 1977)
- Robert Lewin … producer (1 episode, 1977)
- Mayo Simon … (created by) (16 episodes, 1977-1978)
- Mayo Simon … (written by) (1 episode, 1977)
- Herbert F. Solow … (co-creator) (16 episodes, 1977-1978)
- Larry Alexander … (written by) (3 episodes, 1977-1978)
- Herman Miller … (written by) (2 episodes, 1977)
- Herman Miller … (teleplay by) (1 episode, 1977)
- Stephen Kandel … (written by) (2 episodes, 1977)
- Michael I. Wagner … (written by) (2 episodes, 1977)
- David H. Balkan … (story by) (1 episode, 1977)
- John D.F. Black … (written by) (1 episode, 1977)
- Alan Caillou … (written by) (1 episode, 1977)
- Tom Greene … (written by) (1 episode, 1977)
- Robert Lewin … (written by) (1 episode, 1977)
- Jerry Sohl … (written by) (1 episode, 1977)
- Peter Allan Fields … (written by) (1 episode, 1978)
- Shimon Wincelberg … (written by) (1 episode, 1978)
- Fred Karlin … (17 episodes, 1977-1978)
- Héctor R. Figueroa … (16 episodes, 1977-1978)
- William Cronjager … (1 episode, 1977)
- John Farrell … (8 episodes, 1977-1978)
- Michael Renaud … (6 episodes, 1977-1978)
- Gary Griffin … (4 episodes, 1977)
- Rick Brandon … (3 episodes, 1977)
- Solow Production Company
- National Broadcasting Company (NBC) (United States, 1977-1978)(TV)
- Monte Carlo Televisión – Canal 4(Uruguay, 1978)(TV)
- Televisie Radio Omroep Stichting (TROS) (Netherlands, 1978-1980)(TV)
- NHK (Japan, 1980)(TV)
- Warner Archive Collection (United States, 2011)(complete series, DVD, DVD-R)
- WME Home Entertainment (Germany, 2016)(DVD)
- Forces TV (United Kingdom, 2021)(TV)
- ITV – Independent Television (United Kingdom, 1977)(TV)
- L.C.J Editions & Productions (France, 2019)(DVD)
- La Cinq (France, 1986)(dubbed version, TV)
- TF1 (France, 1979)(dubbed version, TV)
- Worldvision Home Video (United States)(VHS)
- Release Date: 04 March 1977 to 06 June 1978.
- Running Time: 42-44 minutes (per episode).
- Rating: Unknown.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.