1 9 7 7 – 1 9 8 3 (USA)
1 x 75 minute episode
13 x 60 minute episodes
After a heavy storm, a young man is washed up on a Californian beach where he is discovered by beautiful Dr Elizabeth Merrill. The doctor rushes him to a naval hospital and soon realises that this is no ordinary male.
He is, in fact, the last survivor of the lost continent of Atlantis, and he has piercing green eyes, gills instead of lungs (he could breathe air for no longer than 12 hours) and webbed hands and feet.
He also has abilities that make him very useful to the doctor – he can swim faster than a dolphin and has superhuman strength and senses.
When his health returns she christens him Mark Harris and recruits him to join her and her colleagues at the Foundation for Oceanic Research.
Together, Dr Merrill (Belinda Montgomery, later in Dynasty and Miami Vice) and the Atlantean take to the deep in super sub Cetacean to do battle with extraterrestrial life, evil scientists and threats of any kind to the US Government.
Chief villain of the piece is mad scientist Mr Schubert (Victor Buono) who hatches evil plots in a habitat several miles below the sea. Unfortunately, our hero Mark Harris was just too good – and Schubert’s plots too bad – to be true!
The series featured a relentless diet of implausible villains and sea monsters. Another mad scientist, Dr Mary Smith (Darleen Carr), made an appearance; time travel took our hero back to the Wild West and Romeo and Juliet’s Italy (!); a mudworm developed human characteristics and the wicked Mr Schubert melted the Polar IceCaps.
Today, the unfortunate Man From Atlantis is remembered only (if at all) for the actor who played him – Patrick Duffy (best known as Bobby Ewing in Dallas) and for his remarkable yellow swimming trunks.
He may, however, take some solace in the fact that he is a major star in mainland China. The Man From Atlantis was the first American TV programme ever shown there.
Dr Elizabeth Merrill
C W Crawford
J Victor Lopez
Jean Marie Hon