I really liked this show. Although I did not see it when it originally aired, I did see it when aired on The Sci-Fi Channel. The show only lasted one season, but it is understandable why. The first half of the series, although fantasy, seemed to have an heir of believability to it. Then somewhere around the middle of the first and only season it seemed to just move into more of a silly sci-fi fantasy show. The opening themed changed (for the worst) and the stories just lost credibility. Although I like the show, I prefer to watch only the first half.
Part of me would like to see a DVD release for M.A.N.T.I.S., but it's with hesitation, as I think the nostalgic love I have for this show would be diminished if I watched it again.
M.A.N.T.I.S. was my Friday night routine when I was 10. It was how I knew the weekend had officially begun. The larger-than-life, cartoon inspired action was manna from heaven for a kid who grew up with Batman and the like. I remember Miles and Roger Rees as the computer tech/sidekick (of all of the unlikely sidekicks for a superhero...Roger Rees?! Nicholas Nickleby Roger Rees?!) Beyond that, it's mostly a blur.
Of course, adapting any superhero to TV is difficult, and sometimes even well-done adaptations can't catch on with viewers (take "The Flash," for example). The game becomes even harder when you're trying to push an original creation with no comic book foundation on to audiences. I admit, the premise is shaky, but deep down everybody dreams of being a superhero at some point in their life and we all have enjoyed watching them fight crime and save the day.
Would I like to see it again? Sure! But I doubt it would play as well to a 23 year old as Brisco County Jr. does today. M.A.N.T.I.S. may be better left in the past, as a memory of my childhood not to be revisited.
M.A.N.T.I.S.: a good idea gone very bad. Premise: a brilliant, but paralyzed scientist finds a way (donning a special suit he developed) to not only walk, but fight crime as well! And he may have been the first African-American superhero on television. Exciting!
Well, the deal is people stopped watching this because the producers/writers changed the focus of the show after the 1st few shows, completely trashing the story line they'd started with and ending up with a cartoon. A bad one. So this is one of those shows that had great promise, then foolishly committed suicide in full public view.
Let's face it I've got an odd taste in shows. Case in point you have M.A.N.T.I.S. or as I like to call it simply the Mantis. At anyrate this show tookplacein canada. Initially it was this mishmash betwixt conspiracy and Ironman with Miles Hawkins being cast in Tony Starks shoes from what I can gather. Like Tony Stark Miles Hawkins owns an organization that specializes in technology. Also like Tony Starks he had an unforeseen accident that rendered him somewhat handicapped. But the comparisons end there. What separates the Mantis from Ironman are a couple things. One Tony Starks is Italian, Miles Hawkins is black. Another is Ironman can fly,The Mantis must use a versatile vehicle called the Chrysalid to do so. In contrast Ironman fires rocket, The mantis fires tranquilizer darts to temporarily imobilize people on the spot. They freezelike someone playing redlight greenlight,LOL. Incidentally the guy who plays Miles Hawkins(Carl Lumbly) went on to co-star with Jennifer Garner in Alias, and he can walk perfectly fine. He doesn't need a wheelchair but his acting here is so convincing you'd think he would. Which brings us back to what the Mantis or M.A.N.T.I.S. was designed for... You guessed it to replace the wheelchair. The first episode was fine what with him playing basket ball in it then rescuing a woman fromapushy boyfriend. But then it gets all weird near the end ofthe series. Leora Maxwell was a nice looking woman but I just couldn't follow the series after a while so I stopped. I heard his character died somehow. Hopefully they didn't just have him shot as that would be bogus in that it completely negates the logic of the series opener in which he's shot and the weaving of the Mantis is so tight that its like a cavalier vest.
I-actually-thought-this-show-was-fascinating-at-the beginning-and-middle-of-the-season. On the last episode (Ghost Of The Ice) the producers decided to kill of the hero which I thought was very stupid. Why get very creative with a unique sci-fi-black-super-hero-show, if you are not going to embrace it? The show had tons of fans so why kill the show after only 1 season? They-could-have-at-least brought-Miles-back-somehow-and-stretched-the-show-a-couple more seasons. I'm hoping they didn't cancel the show because the hero was a black man.....that would be an even more stupid reason to kill off Dr. Miles Hawkins. If the super-hero was a white-man would they have killed the hero off?
The M.A.N.T.I.S told the story of a wheel-chair bound scientist, Dr. Miles Hawkins, who creates a suit that allows him to walk again, called The M.A.N.T.I.S. Not only that, it gives him enhanced strength too. So much in fact, he feels perfectly comfortable putting it on and randomly flying around in a futuristic aircraft over some place called Port Columbia challenging any criminals so unlucky as to be caught in his wake. Not for no reason of course, the show does succeed in making it pretty damn clear why a CEO of a huge research institute would reduce himself to work that mere security guards regularly deal with. For one thing, he was crippled in an act of violence. Specifically, he was shot in the back. Fighting crime is a way for him to get revenge on the people who crippled him (or if not them at least every single other low life he can find). Also, we learn from an early episode that Hawkins was involved in researching biological weapons several years before the time the series begins. The show also hints that Hawkins feels responsible for developing technology that could be harmful to mankind, and so wants to make good with this M.A.N.T.I.S thing he cooked up with his good buddy Stonebrake. Also hinted in the series, is the fact that it would have taken years for Hawkins to put The M.A.N.T.I.S to good use some other way. Why wait all that time when he could create an alter ego for himself and get right down to seeing the good his invention could do? So Hawkins sure had himself a few good reasons to become a super hero, as opposed to stupid Batman who got all worked up just because his Dad could not spare a few bucks for a gun-toting bum at the back of a theater building. The show itself seemed to have a lot to offer. If you were able to get over the fact that a mechanized suit and a high tech air craft were both cranked out by only two guys who must have had twenty degrees and more arms than Vishnu between them, if you were not either too old or too young to appreciate a ready-made live-action super hero that just came out of nowhere, if you were able to understand extra high-level scientific discourse, if you could believe that a guy would rather use a piece of technology to beat up a few street toughs than help millions of people walk, if you could sit through episodes that often lacked both action and an engaging plot, if you could get over the fact that Savage is probably the dumbest and most useless character ever, you probably enjoyed the M.A.N.T.I.S. After all, that suit was pretty sweet, right?
I remembered this show when I was in middle school. It was a brilliantly written show and I enjoyed the great solid cast. Unfortunately, I lost interest in the show towards the ends because the menaces got less realistic.
I though a better idea for the final episode was a final showdown between him and evil industrialist Solomon Box.
Not all superheroes are blind or spin off into comic books or movies or merchandise. Some are born and die frightful, ratings-induced death on TV. M.A.N.T.I.S. is just such a case: an African-American crimefighter doomed to the abyss of the Nielsen rating
Sing the MANTIS theme song!
Mantis, Mantis, he's the buggiest dude of all!
Mantis, Mantis, he's roughly 5.5 feet tall!
Big bugs, little bugs, good bugs, bad bugs - Mantis'll protect them all,
Even little bitty baby bugs are safe when the 'Tis on call!
He's not really an insect, more a man in a suit
He likes to eat people food, rather than exclusively fruit
Bulletproof ankles, his secret weapon, another bug he'll never step onnnnnnnn...
M - A - N - T - I - S, that's how we spell courageous, M - A - N - T - I - S is totally outrageous!
Kick them in the throat, Mantis!
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