Patrick Duffy is Mark Harris, the only survivor of the legendary continent of Atlantis. He draws strength from water and is stronger than the average man. He works for an undersea research institute run by his pals C.W.Crawford (Alan Fudge) and Dr.Elizabeth Merrill (Belinda Montgomery). Fudge did not appear in the opener. At their disposal is a high tech sub that leads them to all kinds of adventures….but not enough to get past seventeen episodes. Duffy has to spend a lot of time trying to swim like a fish.
Opening episode: March 4,1977 – “Man From Atlantis” w/Victor Buono – A man is found washed up on the beach and then taken to the hospital. In the operating room a Doctor (Steve Franken) discovers the man has webbed hands, weird eyes and is still breathing even though he should be dead. Dr.Elizabeth Merrill is called from a staff party to check it all out.
She says he has gills for lungs and hustles him into an ambulance and heads for the water. She puts him in face down and saves his life. She takes him to the Foundation For Oceanic Research. He’s given a lot of tests and the Admiral decides he’ll be useful in national defense. He’s given the name Mark Harris.
Elizabeth is going over Mark’s test results with the Admiral and explaining about his abilities. The info was fed into a computer and it came back saying, “Last citizen of Atlantis????”
While that’s going on Mark walks out and it’s the usual traffic confusion scene with a fast food joint and a phone booth thrown in for good measure. The staff catches up with him and the Admiral says he’s to follow orders. Atlantic was never like this.
Now we find out that people of Atlantis spoke English…at least Mark does. The Admiral asks him to help find the lost sub Seaquest. It went down into the Marianas Trench. Tests show Mark can go down thousands of feet without any ill effects. He can’t safely spend more than twelve hours out of the water so why not head below.
Elizabeth takes him to the diving ship and down he goes. The divers all like him and think he’s just razzing them with some of the things he says. At two hundred feet he takes off the diving gear and heads thirty-six hundred feet down. A French and a Russian sub were also lost in the same area.
Elizabeth had him swallow a transponder so she can keep track of him. When he gets to the bottom Mark spots a sub. Elizabeth’s screen now has two blips. Mark follows the sub into a secret base. Now Elizabeth’s screen is blip free. She kinda likes the gill man and gets all concerned.
Inside the base it’s full of scientists. There were four on the sub. Everyone has to wear an ID bracelet. That puts them under the control of the egomaniacal scientist Mr.Schubert (Victor Buono). Shubert thinks Mark is a marine biologist and shows him around.
Mark’s getting disturbed at what’s going on. Schubert says the surface is going to be destroyed when war breaks out. He knows because he’s going to start it. He says he’ll have control of every missile for thirty seconds and he’s going to set them all off.
Mark spots Commander Philip Roth (Lawrence Pressman) from the Seaquest. Schubert tosses them both in a cage above the water. He figures he doesn’t have a choice and lowers the cage. Underwater Mark’s powers return and he gets them both out of there.
He instructs Roth to head for the sea exit and goes to deal with Schubert. Schubert realizes Mark is a water breathing man, just what he’s been looking for. Mark’s not into destroying the world and decides to confront Schubert and save the planet. Schubert sets his signal timer for fifteen minutes. In future episodes…Schubert will be back.
This opener is way too long and wastes a lot of time. It would have been better at the hour format…..maybe. All in all it’s not very interesting.
Patrick Duffy had a lot better TV luck as Bobby Ewing in “Dallas” (1978-91). He also appeared as Steven Logan in “The Bold And The Beautiful” (2006-11).