Sunday, February 20, 2011

Man From Atlantis Review & Fan video: Ode to Mark & Elizabeth



Above is my tribute to 'Man From Atlantis' and the two lead characters. :D I wish I had the Official cleaned up DVDs when I made it, but who knows, maybe I can re-do it one day. I used a song sung by Patrick Duffy himself along with French singing sensation Mirelle Matthieu. What a sweet, folksy voice he has. I love it!

Can I be the towel girl on the Submarine?


'Man from Atlantis' was another very unique NBC series unfairly canceled before it had a chance to shine. (Sound familiar, anyone?) It starred the simply gorgeous Duffy (Pre-Bobby Ewing on 'Dallas') as an amnesiac, super-intelligent, super-strong (When wet) water breathing man who is washed ashore and saved by a marine biologist.

He's so very pretty!

In case you aren't sure how pretty he is…



The attractive Dr. Elizabeth Merrill befriends this strange man and helps him to assimilate into human society and names him 'Mark Harris.' In the Pilot episode Mark is subjected to rigorous testing and used by the United States Navy to save world scientists and doctors who have disappeared at the bottom of the sea.

Mark may or may not be from the famed, sunken city of Atlantis and he wants so badly to discover his origins.

How can she remain so stoic around this fascinating man?


Mark must wear special Dichroic lens glasses to protect his sensitive fish-like eyes from the Ultraviolet rays.




On the Submarine called The Cetacean, Mark, Elizabeth, and the crew help protect the world from natural and unnatural threats and  often go head-to-head with an ego-maniacal Eco-villain and eccentric millionaire named Mr. Schubert. He is desperate to have Mark as a pet of sorts and create a super strong race of water-breathing people. Mark seriously needed new challenges after Schubert showed up in about 5 out of the first seven episodes. But Victor Buono aptly played him with fiendish glee.


Mark also runs into all sorts of zany adventures in parallel universes and meets strange creatures from the deep, like a two headed sea-horse that looks like, well, a man in a two-headed seahorse costume, and a giant jelly fish that resembles a shower curtain filled with air. It's so fun!

Some of Mark's adventures:






Mark Harris meets Bobby Ewing? Nope, Mark meets Billy, his twin or doppelganger in a parallel dimension. (At least I assume that's where he disappeared to!) Billy is on the left, he's more lax, with his hand on his belt.


After the four successful television movies, Man From Atlantis was retooled as a regular weekly series, which only lasted 13 episodes. I love it, and I think Patrick Duffy truly carried and stole every scene with his portrayal of the sensitive, courageous and displaced Atlantean. I love that Patrick still holds fond memories of the series and doesn't pooh-pooh it as some kiddy fare best left forgotten. Too many actors forget where they started from. If you check out his main website, It opens up with the intro to Man From Atlantis and an ocean background. He's all kinds of awesome. Patrick was also slated to write a series or trilogy of Man From Atlantis books, but it may have been put on hold thanks to the success of the 2012 Dallas reboot and his reprisal as Bobby Ewing. 

Patrick as Bobby Ewing in 2012. He still looks marvelous!



Belinda J. Montgomery plays Dr. Elizabeth Merrill. She's also known as Doogie Howser's mother, just as Duffy later became a TGIF legend playing doofy, hunky dad Frank Lambert on 'Step by Step.'


Elizabeth was a strong female lead at the start of the series. She was sweet, intelligent and caring, but unfortunately as time went on she wasn't given much more to do than worry about Mark from inside the submarine. Aside from  Wonder Woman, 70's television was short on strong female leads. But at least she was one of them!


Belinda is often caught hysterical laughing in promo photos. Mark Harris didn't have a sense of humor like that. It was no doubt Patrick Duffy. He's very funny.




Elizabeth and Mark shared a deep friendship with noticeably growing, but unspoken romantic tensions stirring. However that seemed to gradually fade during the series run. Elizabeth also literally took on the role of care-taker, mother, and sister to Mark, as he is very innocent to the world around him.

If the series continued I'm sure there would have been more adventures with Elizabeth involved. But then again, Belinda Montgomery was gone by the last two episodes. I don't know what happened there, I read that she had taken ill at the time. But before her departure her character was reduced to simply filler between action and to spout of bits of scientific jargon and sub commands. Elizabeth needed a chance to shine as she did in the Pilot episode and Killer Spores. I think Belinda and Patrick had very good chemistry, but it wasn't expanded.



Unfortunately in what would have been a great chance for a smooth ensemble, the rest of the episodic cast are mere background submarine button pushers (albeit multi-cultural-black, Hispanic and Asian) who spout out alerts and commands and look alarmed when necessary. They are pretty much like sub ornaments.

As mentioned before, the show lay almost entirely on Duffy's smooth, muscular shoulders.



Mark's charm and guilelessness is what makes him extremely sweet. One of my favorite lines is when he befriends the kind, eccentric and dowdy daughter of his enemy Schubert. She can't understand his gentle naivete–

"I don't seem to have much luck with people, especially men."
"I think you are charming."…
"You're not making fun of me?"
"I do not make fun of people."

Juliette Schubert is in sort of awe and confusion about Mark's webbed hands.



 I don't think anyone could play Mark Harris better than Mr. Patrick Duffy. He owned the role and went through rigorous training. –Today, I don't think an actor even has to be underwater with all the CGI!

Patrick had to learn not to breathe out of his nose and literally 'Talk' underwater. Or at least mouth his lines. It was feat never been done before on the screen and he pulled it off perfectly. He also mastered the Dolphin swim where he undulates both his upper and lower body at the same time.




Patrick enthralls with his guileless charm, stoic intensity and crazy unique swimming! 


Bottom line– don't be deterred by the negativity in my reviews. The televised movies are strongly plotted and mostly entertaining, the best of the four being the Pilot: 'Man from Atlantis' and 'Killer Spores.' Though other reviewers tend to really like 'Disappearances'. I liked it in parts, especially when Elizabeth is kidnapped and Mark tries to save her, but his strength is reduced since he had been out of water. And Elizabeth sings very prettily in this.

The best of the series (IMO) are the episodes, 'Meltdown,' 'Shoot out at Land's End,' 'The Siren,' The Imp,' (Admittedly, it is a huge, campy 'What were they thinking?! Episode.)  'Crystal water, sudden death,' 'The Hawk of Mu,' 'Giant,' 'Carnival' and 'Scavenger Hunt.' However, every episode has something interesting going on!

To read more about the series check out these informative websites below:

Just as I got back into this series I saw that fanfiction.net had put up a section for Man From Atlantis. There are two lovely short stories up by the same person who also put up the episodes. I have written 2 stories under 2 pen names.

I've read other blogs and they are very insightful and even really funny, but I realize I am may be one of the least critical online reviewers of this series. Yes, the show tanked, (bad pun) and sometimes the stories and writing went all over the place…a lot…but conceptually it was fascinating, and it could definitely stand for a remake, but if they do, Duffy must appear! 


9 comments:

  1. I remember having watched some episodes of this show. I didn't know it lasted only this short. I especially remember the one where he drops into the "Romeo & Juliet" scenery and back then I thought that must have been an insane idea of a script writer who never liked the sad ending of this play and wanted to change it by force, lol.
    No, but as far as I remember, I really liked the show.

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  2. Hi Dolores! I think because there were 4 movies first, it seemed longer. The episode you're thinking of is the 'Naked Montague.' LOL. It would have been funny if at the end they noticed a change in the history of the story, but hey Shakespeare probably decided to keep it tragic, there's no place for a character with yellow shorts running around. LOL.

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  3. "Man From Atlantis" on YouTube! Now why didn't I ever think to look for that?! I thought it got silly with the time travel and stuff, but the early ones were good. I must look it out. Hurrah! :)

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  4. Hi Swordz! I really liked the time travel one where he meets either his twin or perhaps, a parallel version of himself named Billy, who removed his webbings on his hands to become a gunslinger. But they were pushing it with the Romeo and Juliet one. Obviously, I don't mind the Time travel. ;D In fact I already started plugging out a fanfic that involves time travel. haha. I would love to see your take on this show, It really wasn't as campy as it might seem, it took itself very seriously, and was intelligent, especially with that submarine.
    I definitely know Patrick Duffy still appreciates this show, I went to his official website and his enter page is all MFA!
    lol.
    http://www.patrickduffy.org/
    I was never a Dallas gal. Too young at the time anyway, but I found Step by Step to be hilarious and i just love to see him in everything. :D

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  5. Hi again!

    "Man from Atlantis" is the first of my favorite TV series I have watched on television in 1983 when I was five years old (I'll turn 33 on July 19th) and Mark Harris is, no doubt, "my first companion-and-childhood-best-friend" in addition to hero. He swims at the deep sea (and he's Atlantean too) and I love it. I remember each scene of Mark's swimmings, it's great! It's unforgettable! Thanks for recalling this moment!

    Thanks again!
    Tatianna Raquel
    (Brazil)

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  6. Hi Tatianna, thanks for reading and watching my video. A lot of people fondly remember this tv show, almost like they fondly remember Voyagers. Those swimming scenes were fantastic, I've never seen anything like it on TV since then!

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  7. voyagersguidebook !!!!!!!!! This file is simply wonderful, very cool, special, rare, magnificent, sweet, irresistible, delicious, sexy, perfect, such a cute !!!!!!!!!! thank you for making me so happy and nostalgic! is very Good to know there are people like me who enjoy the evening without fear of being happy or feeling silly.

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  8. just do not understand what is in the interview and because HMG belinda melts??. just know that it was delicious blue robe that makes you want to fill with kisses patrick !!!!!!! ahhhh !!!!!!

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  9. I also watched the voyagers on another television channel, but show no enveloped me as deeply as the MFA, the soundtrack of the opening simply never left my memory ...

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You smart kids give me a pain…
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