Top 25 Worst Sci-Fi And Fantasy TV Shows Ever
16 Manimal (1983)
Let’s get the good out of the way first, shall we; Stan Winston’s Creature Workshop effects are… well, it’s Stan Winston, that name alone is the standard of quality on practical effects and has been for years. The rest of the show… did we mention the effects are pretty?*
(* Well, in the pilot, anyway. From there on in it was stock-footage-a-rama.)
Doctor Jonathan Chase has the ability to change into an animal at will and to be very, very English. He’s well read, genteel, likes three-piece suits, is trained in multiple killing arts and along with best friend Ty Earl (black, funny, wasted on this material) assists the police in investigating crimes related to Art, Spies, Animals, Being Dreadfully English or whatever the scriptwriters had thrown at the wall that week.
They assisted Police Detective Brooke Mackenzie. who was, for the most part, as effective as you’d expect. After all the series wasn’t called Brooke Mackenzie Solves Crimes With The Assistance Of The Only Upper Class English BodyPopper In The World. No, this was Chase’s show through and through. Upper class English gent, turns into an animal, fights crime, looks a bit like a blond Piers Brosnan from far enough away, makes pithy comment, roll end credits.
And that would have been fine if not for the fact that the show had no idea what it was supposed to be doing. If it was a detective show it was played so much for laughs that the interesting premise collapsed. If it was a romantic comedy then the romance and the comedy were both largely absent. And if it was a fantasy show then it never had the courage of its convictions. Let’s not forget, this is the TV show that doesn’t just have an episode called “High Stakes”, set in the world of horse racing and gambling, but felt it had to mention the phrase. “high stakes” in the dialogue of that same episode. Three times. Oh and for a man with the ability to change into an animal, Jonathan was awfully fond of going for a hawk or a black panther. Almost as if they had the stock footage waiting and a deal with the guys who hired out hawks and black panthers…
Manimal was a bad, bad show and not even nice little touches like an unusually subtle crossover with Automan (also dreadful) could save it.
Why Sony could possibly be looking at a Manimal movie is mystifying, unless perhaps, somewhere in the wings, a hawk and a black panther pace, awaiting the chance to stalk the streets, seeking justice while a posh English chaps turns into them, once more… Alasdair Stuart
Tags: Andromeda, Astonauts, Birds Of Prey, Come Back Mrs Noah, Crime Traveller, Demons, Flash Gordon, Galactica 1980, Jupiter Moon, Kingdom Hospital, Krod Mandoon And The Flaming Sword Of Fire, Logan's Run, Manimal, Mercy Point, Painkiller Jane, Shazam!, Sheena Queen Of The Jungle, Space Precinct, Swamp Thing, TekWar, The Prisoner, The Secret Circle, The Starlost, Timecop, Total Recall 2070