up in the Seventies as a sci-fi loving Star Kid, I eagerly embraced pretty
much any television show or movie with a futuristic setting. In 1977,
CBS debuted a weekly television series called Logan's Run, based on the 1976 MGM feature film of the same name, and I was there in front of the Zenith every week... well, for the few weeks the show ran, anyway.
the 22nd Century, most of the surface of the Earth is barren wasteland
thanks to a nuclear war a hundred years previously. Still, the human
race survives - in a variety of isolated communities. One of these is
the City of Domes, whose inhabitants live a life of perfect leisure and
hedonistic pleasure... until they turn 30. Then, they're required to
participate in the ritual of Carousel, resulting in a fiery death and
the false promise of "Renewal" - i.e. reincarnation. Some citizens don't
believe in Renewal, and instead of reporting to Carousel when their
time is up, they run... and attempt to leave the City in search of a
legendary place of safety and freedom that they call "Sanctuary."
To hunt and eliminate these
"Runners," the city maintains a police force known as Sandmen. One of
these Sandmen, Logan 5 (Gregory Harrison), is
persuaded by a female Runner named Jessica (Heather Menzies)
to turn his back on the system he has always served, and go on the run
with her. In the world beyond the City, Logan & Jessica search
for Sanctuary, all the while pursued by Logan's former best friend and
partner, Francis (Randy Powell)
and a cadre of other Sandmen. With the companionship of an android
named Rem (Donald Moffat) they picked up along the way, the Runners
encounter various menaces and strange societies as they search the
outside world for fabled Sanctuary.
I hadn't seen the
show since I was a kid, so I wondered how well it held up. As it turns
out, I discovered that Logan's Run generally held up better than I expected. Overall,
the stories were pretty good (with "Man Out Of Time," "Crypt," "The Innocent," and "Carousel" being my favorites), and actually a bit smarter than I
remembered. In fact, out of the 14 episodes produced, there were only
two that I thought were complete clunkers (one of which being the bonkers "haunted house" story, "Night Visitors"). Hell, even the obligatory Most Dangerous Game rip-off, :Capture," was enjoyable, thanks to the casting and the scenes of Logan and Francis working together. Star Trek vet D.C. Fontana was
the Story Editor, and series writers included genre pros like David
Gerrold, John Meredyth Lucas and Harlan Ellison.
"family hour" show aimed primarily at kids, there's very little
violence (Logan's Sandman sidearm now being equipped with a blue,
paralyzing ray that it didn't have in the movie), but there's plenty of
other kinds of action. Production values are generally pretty high, with
a number of costumes, props and special effects shots recycled from the
feature film and lots of location shooting around Bronson Canyon,
Griffith Park (& Observatory), Vasquez Rocks and other over-familiar Southern California locations.
Gregory Harrison's Logan is suitably square-jawed and
heroic, but is otherwise pretty bland. To be fair, this is due in large
part to the writers, who usually give the best dialogue and scenes to
Jessica and Rem. Menzies is cute as hell with her Farrah hair and
super-short minidress, and plays her role well. The best of the
regulars, though, is veteran character actor Moffat, who plays his
android character with an appealing mix of slightly smug cybernetic
superiority and affection for his companions. Guest stars include
Christopher Stone (The Bionic Woman), Mariette Hartley (Genesis II, Star Trek), Mary Woronov, Nicholas Hammond (Spider-Man), Melody Anderson (Flash Gordon), William Smith, Gerald McRaney and
James Olsen (Moon Zero Two) among other familiar faces.
The 3-disc DVD set from Warner Home video
includes all 14 episodes of the series, including the double-length
premiere, presented in their original 1.33:1 TV aspect ratio. Picture
quality is frankly a bit disappointing - there is considerable print
damage evident in may episodes, and an overall softness to the image. I
know the show is 35 years old, but it would have been nice if Warners
had spent a little money on cleaning up and remastering the transfers.
Audio is a satisfactory if flat Dolby Digital Mono. There are no bonus