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"Logan's Run" (TV Series)
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner
Genre:
TV - Series
Release Date:
4/10/12
Special Features:

See Below

Review:

The 70's were a transitional time in science fiction both in theaters and on TV. "Star Wars" had suddenly made Space Operas with strong visual effects big business and, shortly after, Steven Spielberg checked in with his epic "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". While there were still plenty of cheap science fiction movies being produced (and occasionally good ones as well), the genre suddenly had a little bit of respect. ***

With the 1976 hit "Logan's Run" under MGM's belt the studio and producer Saul David hired Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts veteran screenwriters (the classic "White Heat" and "The Man of A Thousand Faces" as well as TV shows like "Mannix" and "Charlie's Angels" which they created) to adapt the film into a weekly TV series. After many reshoots to appease the network (they didn't want the domed city of the TV series run by a computer something they felt was not realistic), the 90 minute pilot was completed. Essentially a remake of the movie using visual effects footage from the film as well as some newly created footage, "Logan's Run" the TV show wasn't a spin-off so much as a recreation refocusing the premise a bit. ***

"Logan's Run" lasted only 14 episodes (3 of which never aired on the west coast) as CBS preempted the show constantly and moved it around its schedule without warning. The show had a strong audience for its demographic group but networks weren't looking at sub-demographics at the time. That's too bad because the series had potential. Despite the changes to the original plot (some of which helped the series) and the restrictions of a TV budget "Logan's Run" was a pretty good TV show featuring stories by Harlan Ellison ("The Outer Limits", the 1980's version of "The Twilight Zone", "Star Trek", "A Boy and His Dog" and a critically acclaimed author), David Gerrold (writing as "Noah Ward"), D.C. Fontana ("Star Trek")with a couple of unproduced episodes (including one co-written by the author of the novel "Logan's Run" William F. Nolan)that showed considerable promise. ***

Original author William F. Nolan introduced the character of REM (played by the marvelous character actor Donald Moffat) to help provide something of a Kirk-Spock dynamic to the character of Logan and Jessica while Goff and Roberts insisted that a ruling counsel of elders run the city. The basic plot for the pilot for "Logan's Run" is the same as the movie with Logan (Gregory Harrison in one of his first roles)a Sandman who "terminates" runners (i.e., those that want to survive past the age of 30 and NOT undergo "renewal"), deciding to go on the run rather than live in the oppressive domed world and faced possible death at 30. This is a means of population control in the carefully balanced system that Logan lives in. Logan takes off with the assistance of Jessica (Heather Menzies who had been a child actor and appeared in "The Sound of Music" among other films) who helps runners escape to Sanctuary. Unfortunately no one really knows where Sanctuary IS so Logan and Jessica exit the domed city in search of it. They encounter the andriod Rem (Moffat) and discover that their world barely survived a nuclear disaster. Francis (Randy Powell)Logan's a Sandman and Logan's former partner is sent off by the elders of the city to capture and return Logan as he's considered a possible threat. ---

Image & Sound:

Image quality is varies quite a bit and looks good although the series hasn't undergone an extensive restoration. There is occasional print damage and the opening for the pilot and series suffers from a bit of grit and dirt (due to the use of recycled footage that was recombined in an optical printer so it's inherent IN the footage itself) that could have been cleaned up a bit better. There's also speckles that appear periodically throughout the series. This could have been cleaned up a bit more but. on the whole, looks pretty good for a 34 year old TV show. Colors are a bit on the dull side (particularly compared to a series like "Star Trek") but isn't all that unusual for a 1970's series and skin tones are decent. Still, the series looks surprisingly good. Image quality varies from crisp to soft depending and varies from episode-to-episode. Most of the budget for this series has been used to clean up and resharpen the image quality where possible. The encoding is pretty good here as well although there are some compression artifacts notable on a couple of episodes as well (it would have been nice to see this set expanded with less episodes per disc but Warner does a nice job considering the budget constraints and other issues--either way this is an improvement over the original planned DVD-R release via Warner Archive). ***

The mono audio sounds quite nice--crystal clear and we get subtitles in English and French.

Special Features:

We get all 14 episodes (originally this was slated for a DVD-R release but it was upgraded to regular DVD)of the series uncut (as far as I can tell but I'll be honest I haven't been able to time every single episode yet due to time constraints for this review). ***

A single retrospective featurette on the TV show and any vintage interviews would have been nice but I understand the challenge that Warner was facing; this was an MGM series and it was sold to Turner which, in turn, was absorbed by Warner so it's possible that any trims, outtakes and promotional material was lost or destroyed.

Final Words:

If you’re a fan of the original series and vintage late 70’s TV shows, you’ll enjoy “Logan’s Run”. Like "Night Gallery" "Logan's Run" needs to be viewed within the context of its time--the 1970's when CGI wasn't an option and TV budgets impacted a show in more ways. The show receives a nice transfer and is worth picking up for fans.

 

 
 
 
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