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We all live in a yellow submarine

And a really, really annoying one at that.

Man From Atlantis had an odd genesis. After producing four TV movies, the makers switched to a more conventionally formatted series, and episode five is the first part of this. It's immediately obvious that there's been a shake up since the telemovies. Miller, Elizabeth's pointless-but-engaging assistant, is no more. Poor Miller. I liked Miller. He never really did anything, so I can certainly understand why they got rid of him; I just wish that they'd kept him and got rid of Elizabeth instead. She's just as useless, but she has this annoying habit of smiling sweetly at everything. At least Miller wasn't insipid. But he's gone, anyway - and sadly, that's not the only change.

It's quite a big revamp. Any and all connection to the Navy seems to have been removed, at least obviously. Elizabeth now runs a research centre, although she does sod all researching. All she does now is drive around all day in a big submarine, not doing anything. Her job is basically to sit at a console, and say "Yes Mark," a lot. Because Mark? Is the captain. Yep. Gentle, quiet Mark, who'd barely say boo to a goose in the telemovies, is suddenly barking orders at a crew. What happened to the real captain? I can't understand why they'd put Mark in command. When he's off the sub, in moments when he still retains his original personality, he's about as suitable command material as a child in kindergarten. On the sub, suddenly he changes into a completely different person. It's bizarre. And the changes don't end there. Gone are any and all weaknesses that made him fallible and interesting. Now he's suddenly super-human, completely undefeatable, and randomly acquires whatever superpower he needs each week to get himself out of trouble. If there was a lack of tension before, it's worse now. Not only is there no tension, but there is no conceivable way left in which to create any. Anything that the writers throw at Mark - anything at all - he can defeat without so much as a blink. It must make him the single most unexciting hero in television history. Even Superman has weaknesses for goodness sakes!

Anyway, the plot this week. Schubert (he of the pilot episode, with the undersea base, and the mind-controlled scientists) has returned. As a bumbling, comedy foil for Mark. Oh, the joy. Since Schubert was already incapable of menace, having him down-graded on the threat scale is not exactly a good idea when he's supposed to be the main villain. Briefly (very briefly) he manages to seem dangerous, in threatening to melt the ice caps if he's not given Mark as a ransom. Now this should be wonderful. Threatening to flood the world ties into modern fears of rising planetary temperatures and melting polar ice. You immediately have a major issue facing all of humanity - and what a ransom demand! It should be sinister and exciting; tense and dangerous. Maybe if it was a different show it would have been. Problem is, Victor Buono has chosen (or been told) to perform it all like a cartoon bad guy. And then when he does get his hands on Mark, and for a brief second it looks as though there might be some trouble, Mark randomly develops super-strength and gets away. He's always been super-strong beneath the water of course, but on land as well?! Where'd that come from?

So what we're left with from the original premise is a curly-haired (we're never told why he'd actually need hair, but let's just forget about that) man in yellow swimming trunks. Everything else seems to have been swept away - and to make it even better, we've been given a recurring comedy bad guy, who couldn't successfully menace a nervous child. I'm left wondering what on earth the writers were thinking. Did this show air during the preschool hour?!

Comments

( 3 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
ladygretchen
Apr. 8th, 2011 10:24 pm (UTC)
GROWL GROWL GROWL!! LOL. Okay, okay, I can't fight you reviewers anymore on this. Nor do I really want to 'fight.' I totally enjoy all the reviews. I hang my head in shameful agreement for most, but I love Mark Harris. I think that, even though he's out of water, as long as he's been exposed to water for a long period, the strength stays with him for a little while. But really, It's all about Duffy for me. Without him this show would have sunk like a stone.
If you can stomach it, I found pages upon pages of reviews that somewhat match your opinions, and humor! And this person did every single episode! arrh! I couldn't stop reading.
http://www.republibot.com/category/tags/man-atlantis?page=1

I just read 'Killer Spores' and i'm waiting for 'Death Scouts' to arrive. The movie novels are fantastic actually, they really fill in all the gaps and make whatever seemed out of synch on the show very plausible. I like them.

And I'm waiting patiently for Patrick Duffy to write his Man From Atlantis book as promised on his website. :D



swordznsorcery
Apr. 10th, 2011 12:31 am (UTC)
I certainly can't argue with liking Mark. There's nothing wrong with him (or Patrick Duffy) at all. That's one of the things that makes this show so frustrating. They've got a good lead character, played by a good actor. They just don't seem to want to do anything much with him!
ladygretchen
Apr. 10th, 2011 01:59 am (UTC)
I know. It's soooo sad! There were so many ways to go with this. Well, I'm off to read the next exciting review! lol.
( 3 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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