Man from Atlantis is a short-lived American science fiction television series that ran for 13 episodes on the NBC network during the 1977–1978 season, following four successful television films that had aired earlier in 1977. NBC commissioned four movies for the show during the 1976–1977 season. Ratings success by these movies led to the commissioning of a weekly series for the 1977–1978 season.
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 how a fish or marine mammal uses its flippers. 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.On 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 "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 first pilot telefilm was released as a part of the Warner Archive collection from Warner Home Video on October 6, 2009. This release was discontinued and is no longer available.
On July 26, 2011, Warner Bros. released Man from Atlantis: The Complete TV Movies Collections, featuring all four television films, as well as Man from Atlantis — The Complete Television Series restored and remastered in High Definition for Region 1 DVD release via their Warner Archive Collection. These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively through Warner's online store and only in the United States.
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 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 Deep Sea in Portuguese). In Portugal, the title was identical to 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 5 September 1980. In Germany the series was broadcasted by ARD from 1982-83 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 the early 80s, but dubbed into Afrikaans.
In the United Kingdom, Man from Atlantis was shown, in most regions, in an early Saturday evening slot on ITV, opposite the BBC's long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who, which was then in its 15th season. Although Man from Atlantishad 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 Centuryagainst Doctor Who.)
In Italy, the series is notable to be one of the early successes of the then interregional network Telemilano, future Canale 5, that began to air the series on February 11th, 1980 under the name L'Uomo di Atlantide.
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 novelizaton 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.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.
Season One Episodes (Complete Series)
1.01 Man from Atlantis
1.02 The Death Scouts
1.03 Killer Spores
1.04 The Disappearances
1.05 Melt Down
1.06 The Mudworm
1.07 Hawk Of Mu
1.09 Man O'War
1.10 Shoot Out At Lands End
1.11 Crystal Water, Sudden Death
1.12 The Naked Montague
1.13 C.W Hyde
1.14 Scavenger Hunt
1.17 Deadly Carnival
1.18 La sirena
1.19 Carnevale di morte