A Look Back at M.A.N.T.I.S – the Superhero TV Show from the 90s

Finding Hidden Gems in Television History – M.A.N.T.I.S

Imagine this – someone gives you a state-of-the-art yacht as a gift, then abruptly decides to change it completely. That would irk you, wouldn’t it? A similar misfortune occurred with the 90s TV show M.A.N.T.I.S. Sam Raimi and Sam Hamm, brilliant minds behind popular comic book movies like Spiderman and Batman (1989), crafted the show. With such high-rollers involved, everyone expected a showstopper.

How M.A.N.T.I.S Saw the Light of Day

Our story begins in 1993 when Fox challenged Sam Raimi and Sam Hamm with creating a superhero TV show. Resulting from these efforts came M.A.N.T.I.S — representing Mechanically Augmented Neuro Transmitter Interception System. A bewitching TV movie or pilot ensued, with the renowned Carl Lumbly cast as Dr. Miles Hawkins.

Playing Dr. Hawkins, Lumbly portrayed an intellectual superior yet indifferent genius. His lack of compassion for the underserved, particularly the black community, was glaring. This cold indifference melted away when he became paraplegic during a riot caused by a rogue policeman. Hawkins sued the city but lost, sparking a realization of the system’s corruption.

Swallowing this bitter pill, Hawkins channeled his genius into creating an innovative suit. The suit not only restored his ability to walk but also came armed with freeze darts and a transformative vehicle. Cool, huh?

Getting to Know Carl Lumbly

Carl Lumbly, the man embodying MANTIS, has been impressing with his acting prowess since the ’80s. Prior to M.A.N.T.I.S., Lumbly appeared in the cult film ‘The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.’ Post-M.A.N.T.I.S., his career continued to flourish with standout roles in popular series like Alias and House of Usher.

The TV movie gained applause for its jaw-dropping action sequences and high-quality special effects, as well as for its predominantly non-white cast. A talented group of actors including Bobby Hosea, Gina Torres, Steve James, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and Christopher M. Brown made up the stellar supporting cast.

An Unexpected Shift

Every beautiful symphony must eventually reach its finale, and so it was with M.A.N.T.I.S. Despite the TV movie’s popularity, the network decided to revamp the series drastically. This transformation proved disastrous – akin to ruining a perfect yacht.

The big question remains: what exactly happened to cause such drastic changes? That, dear readers, is a tale for another day. The key takeaway is remembering how M.A.N.T.I.S., in its original format, broke the mold and set new standards. This memory is why the series should be remembered and celebrated. Keep your eyes on this space for more stories from ‘Gone But Not Forgotten.’

Today, we may look back in appreciation of M.A.N.T.I.S, a show that was beautifully crafted but then radically changed. Here’s to retelling the stories that history may have tossed aside, but we refuse to forget.

For more details, visit Project Casting Blog on https://www.projectcasting.com/blog/news/unraveling-the-history-behind-m-a-n-t-i-s-the-90s-superhero-show/


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