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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Robots > Chase > Post Apocalyptic > TV > Logan’s Run: The Complete Series (1977 – 1978/Warner DVD Set)

Logan’s Run: The Complete Series (1977 – 1978/Warner DVD Set)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Episodes: C+



In the 1970s, despite having a big hit with Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, MGM had a tenuous relationship with science fiction.  Their #1 box office hit for 1973 was Michael Crichton’s Westworld, yet they let another studio (American International, whose catalog the current MGM now owns, while old MGMs are owned by Warner) do the sequel in 1976, a hit in the same year they had passed on Star Wars at least once and had a hit with Michael Anderson’s film of Logan’s Run.  Despite two sequel novels, instead of more movies, they decided to make the film into a TV series and Logan’s Run: The Complete Series (1977 – 1978) is finally on DVD.


With a limited budget, MGM and CBS decided to make the series into a chase show like The Fugitive, but also in the mode of their successful Saturday Morning hit Ark II and in many ways their not as successful TV version of Planet Of The Apes (all reviewed elsewhere on this site) where the leads travel through a post-apocalyptic America trying to help survivors while dealing with evil parties and other dire situations.


As a substitute for an Ark II vehicle, a solar powered futuristic car/van would substitute.  Then came who to cast as substitutes for the stars of the feature film.  For starters, they cast a then-unknown Gregory Harrison as Logan 5 replacing Michael York, a sandman who starts to become self-aware and goes outside of the City of Domes (known simply as The Dome City if that in the feature film) and is encouraged by Jessica 6, Heather Menzies replacing Jenny Aglitter to run.


Runners are those who do not participate to be “renewed” in Carousel and take their chances to find the mythical Sanctuary.  Sandmen kill these people (there are no sandwomen in the film or series) for violating that arrangement.  Logan was one of the best, partnered with Francis 7, played in the film by Richard Jordan and played well here by Randy Powell.  No one reprises the Farrah Fawcett role of Holly, but story editor and Star Trek alumni D.C. Fontana created a robot with feelings and intelligence named REM (played here well by the underrated Donald Moffett) and served as a major forerunner of the Data character on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which Fontana also worked on.


14 hour-long episodes were produced and the makers had big plans that this would be a big hit, but ratings did not work out and CBS only broadcast 10 of the shows before pulling the plug.  However, the series had some interesting stories, guest stars and did what it could with its budget, though the pilot badly remakes the feature film to fit the show and all the episodes feature bad pan & scan footage from the feature film.  The episodes are as follows, including name guest stars:


1)     The remake pilot (Keene Curtis, Anthony De Longis, Gary Davis, Michael Biehn as an unnamed Sandman in one of his first credited acting roles)

2)     The Collectors (Linden Chiles, Angela Cartwright (Lost In Space))

3)     Capture (Mary Woronov (Death Race 2000), Horst Buchholz)

4)     The Innocent (Lisa Eilbacher, Brian Kerwin, Lou Richards)

5)     Man Out Of Time (Mel Ferrer, Paul Shenar (De Palma’s Scarface))

6)     Halflife (Kim Cattrall, William Smith, Len Birman, John Gowans)

7)     Crypt (Ellen Weston, Christopher Stone, Soon-Tek Oh, Liam Sullivan)

8)     Fear Factor (Jared Martin, William Wellman, Jr., Ed Nelson, Peter Brandon)

9)     The Judas Goat (Nicholas Hammond, Spencer Milligan, Andrew Masset)

10)  Futurepast (Mariette Hartley, Michael Sullivan)

11)  Carousel (Melody Anderson, Regis Cordic, Rosanne Katon, Ross Bickell)

12)  Night Visitors (Paul Mantee, Barbara Babcock, George Maharis)

13)  Turnabout (Nehemiah Persoff, Gerald McRaney, Harry Rhodes)

14)  Stargate (Eddie Firestone, Paul Carr, Darrell Fetty)



Besides the arrival of Star Wars during its run, why were the last three shows not originally shown besides sliding ratings?  One episode has creatures that look like they are out of that hit’s Cantina scene.  Others were at least ambitious and the show was trying, but not always succeeding.  They also had some good writers in Fontana, Harlan Ellison, John Meredith Lucas, David Gerrold, Shimon Wincelberg, Michael Michaelian, Alfred Hayes and Producer Leonard Katzman, plus directors in Michael O’Herlihy, Gerald Mayer, Paul Krasny, Irving J. Moore, Alexander Singer, Curtis Harrington, Michael T. Caffey and Robert Day.  Talent was not at issue.


So here is to guessing.  Night Visitors was a supernatural episode (the Satanism aspects too strong for its audience?) and Stargate was about aliens from outer space, which stretches the bounds of what realism the series had to offer and also looks like the makers were not finding new directions to take the show, though rumor has it that Francis would have joined Logan in his run if a second season happened.  The switch to an all-automated city from the film to one with a panel of hidden old men running it in the long run might have also hurt the show.


Then there is the Turnabout episode in which Logan, REM and Jessica are captured by religious-like extremists headed by Gerald McRaney very convincing in his role as a mean politically Right Wing extremist type, down to suppressing women explicitly.  MGM had already made political cuts in the feature film before it went out and that alone could have put this show on the shelf, but it is as bold as any episode they made.  Save REM, who I never totally thought worked and got in the way of harder science in the show’s science fiction, not much new ground was broken and Ark II had really beat the show to the punch in concept.


Still, the show was ambitious for its time and worth revisiting in this set.  Of course, Harrison moved on to become Gonzo Gates in the tremendously successful M*A*S*H spin-off Trapper John, M.D., Menzies continued her career and became a power couple in Hollywood marrying Robert Urich, Moffat moved onto more hits and this show was mostly forgotten.  With Warner Bros. trying to get a remake of the original movie and novel going, it makes sense for them to issue this set now.  That project has had a bunch of false starts, but might eventually get made.  Hope it works out this time.



The 1.33 X 1 image is somewhat consistent throughout and the worst shots are those with bad matte work, bad visual effects, bad reused footage from the feature film and a few frames that could use some work.  Otherwise, these shows look as good overall as you would expect for a show this age.  The lossy Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono has not been upgraded to stereo or surround despite the music being issued a few years ago in a high quality, high fidelity CD soundtrack that demonstrated that a simple stereo upgrade would be possible.  Still, it is not too aged from show to show and plays just fine for what it is.


The only extra is a paper pullout with a brief episode guide and a few pictures, but I had hoped for more.  As a fan of the film and what did work on the show, I wanted to add some links for us all to enjoy.  First, my review for the CD soundtrack of this TV show:




Next, a link for my review of the 1976 feature film on Blu-ray:




And proof that MGM and CBS thought this could be a hit; links to the story and three prototypes for a series of 10-inch action figures by the now-defunct Mego Toys, innovators of action figures and tie-ins that changed the industry forever.  First, the general link on the toy line that did not make it:




And finally, links to images of the three prototypes of the main three male leads as action figures that were only very recently discovered after decades of searching:












They did a good job on the face sculpts and each prototype is worth big money.  No sign of a Jessica figure or any accessories like vehicles, but it would have been a great collection (and now would be fetching high prices like all major Mego action figures of the period) if it had been made.


Logan’s Run: The Complete Series was one of the original MGM’s last attempts at a big hit TV series (CHiPs was the last before they merged with United Artists to become MGM/UA) and even if it did not work out, the show was at least intelligent and ambitious for its time.  As compared to Universal’s Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers series, it more than holds its own.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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