The Man From Atlantis

NBC (ended 1978)



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The Man From Atlantis

Show Summary

In this short-lived series, which started as a series of TV movies, Dr. Elizabeth Merrill, a scientist working with the Navy, is called in to check out a mystery man who was found by the ocean. This man, who they name "Mark Harris," is not entirely human, and possesses mutations or surgical alterations which let him survive underwater indefinitely, and give him fast strength, speed, and stamina when submerged. Unfortunately Mark must remain in constant contact with water or weaken and eventually die. Mark has no memory of his life before being discovered, but when consulted, the Navy computers spit out a single potential point of origin - "Atlantis." Mark Harris decides to work with the Navy, helping them out with underwater research and rescue operations and confronting such villains as the mysterious Mr. Schubert, who plots to use the ocean's resources and take over the world.
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  • The Man From Atlantis was a stranger in our world. The problems we had gave him a purpose. He worked with people in our society to solve those problems.

    Patrick Duffy, who later played the younger brother in the Ewing family in the hit series "Dallas" was the main protagonist of this show.

    This show in many ways reminded me of another show that aired decades later, the "Invisible Man" series that the Scifi channel created.

    Both shows have a lead/hero that has a special power. And a certain weakness. I guess that is sort of a formula for a super hero.

    In the "Invisible Man", that weakness is that the hero needs regular injections of a special substance called quicksilver (definitely not mercury, in this case). If he goes very long without the shots, he goes insane for a while - and then he dies.

    In the case of "The Man From Atlantis", Patrick Duffy's character had to get into water regularly. If he didn't then he would die. He didn't go insane, though. He did come close to death pretty frequently at the hands of some criminally insane bad guys on the show, however.

    In water he could swim very fast. He had webbed fingers, which helped his speed. The character - not the actor!

    A decade after "The Man From Atlantis" TV series dubuted, Patrick Duffy's parents were murdered. They owned a tavern. The tavern was robbed by two teenagers who shot the couple and killed them both. The teens were caught and sentenced to very lengthy prison sentences.

    Patrick always played the good guy and he looked the part. He seemed like a younger version of the truly ageless and transparently good-natured actor, Bill Bixby. In every show he was in you always get the impression that he is a good guy, determined to do what is right and full of compassion for other people.

    That makes the untimely death of his parents seem all the more unfair. They got the chance to enjoy the success of their son in staring "The Man From Atlantis" and, later, costarring in the megahit "Dallas". But they didn't have the chance to savor it in their golden years as long as they should have.

    His performances are timeless, though - and will no doubt inspire audiences in 2016 or 2026 or whenever. In other words, whatever year they are viewed, Patrick's shows will give people a chance to lift up their chins and see a good guy in action. So in that way, they are immortalized in a way by his work.

    And so is he.