Wednesday, June 19, 2013

TV Sci-Fi & Superheroes That Almost Made It - '77-79

The Great TV Superhero / science fiction bust of 1977-1978

Batman 1966 TV showTen years after the Batman inspired camp Superhero craze of the mid-1960s collapsed, the networks were poised to unleash dozens of costumed crusaders and weird science fiction concepts. Most were extremely lame, the TV industry in the seventies just didn't get sci-fi or have any understanding of what the superhero phenomenon was all about.

One of the myriad problems with almost all of these productions was in the details, like costume design. Perhaps they figured the producers of Star Trek had done such a piss poor job that no one would notice. Did they not realize we could see Spiderman's pit stains or that putting men in flimsy pastel cotton tunics wasn't the most masculine look for an action show?

Star WarsIn May of 1977 Star Wars kicked Hollywood's ass, followed by the blockbuster Superman movie in 1978. The big three networks scrambled to craft a post-Star Wars TV landscape but their womb was a barren as Tatooine... naturally they turned to established concepts they could bastardize.

Here's a brief rundown of the various projects with a superhero or science fiction influence that the networks and studios announced in trade publications like The Hollywood Reporter and Variety from the beginning of 1977 until the end of 1978. Everything from a new Star Trek series shot against a green screen to TV versions of the Marvel heroes like Dr. Strange and Thor.