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October 8, 2015

The Five: Under the sea

by Richard Keller, posted Jul 29th 2006 8:02AM

The Five: Under the SeaWith the announcement that the unaired pilot of Aquaman would become a downloadable video courtesy of iTunes I began to ponder all of the television shows that took place, or featured characters that lived, under the sea. After some extensive research (about five minutes) I discovered that there weren't many. So, as a public service to you, the dedicated TV Squad reader, I present the following list of underwater shows. Please put on your wet suits.

Surface: This on the list first because it was the most recent show telecast that featured underwater creatures. Only lasting one season on NBC (despite a strong fan base) the show starred Lake Bell as an oceanographer who is attacked by an unknown life-form in the Pacific Ocean. After that initial encounter, things go a little bonkers on planet Earth, including stars falling from the sky into the water, and unknown creatures washing up on public beaches. A cliffhanger episode was aired at the end of the first season, but was left up in the air due to the show's cancellation.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: This was one of the most successful, and longest running, shows created by Irwin Allen (Lost in Space, Time Tunnel). Based on the 1961 movie of the same name, Voyage charted the adventures of the submarine Seaview as it traversed the world's bodies of water. During its first season in 1964 the show was devoted to Cold War themes in a more realistic environment. However, as the seasons progressed the show became more and more campy and featured a 'creature of the week' (werewolves, mummies, space aliens) who invaded the submarine and manipulated the minds and bodies of the crew. Voyage was a staple on the Sci-Fi Channel schedule for several years (long before they decided to air Extreme Championship Wrestling. Yes, I'm still hung up on that.)

seaQuest DSV: Another submarine show similar in tone to Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. This NBC program which was executive produced by Steven Spielberg and aired in the mid 90's, starred Roy Scheider as the captain of the seaQuest DSV 4600, an experimental sub whose mission was the exploration of the oceans of the 21st Century. Like Voyage, the first season kept to reality as the seaQuest continued its scientific journey. After that, though, the producers decided to make the show sexier and more science fiction like. So, they dumped a good portion of the cast, added younger and good-looking crew members, and had the sub be transported to another planet by the end of the second season. By the third season (when the show was renamed seaQuest 2032) they had journeyed 10 years ahead in time to a darker Earth that was under threat of the Macronesian Alliance.

Man From Atlantis: Before he became J.R. Ewing's younger brother on the hit primetime soap Dallas, Patrick Duffy was a survivor from Atlantis on this NBC series (Gosh, they love their underwater series, don't they?) Duffy played Mark Harris, who used his abilities to breathe underwater and withstand extreme depth pressures to assist a secret organization explore the ocean depths while fighting weekly evil doers. The show, which spun-off from a made-for-TV movie, only aired for 17 episodes during the 1977-78 television season.

Jabberjaw: Here's the concept: a talking shark, who sounds a lot like Curly from the Three Stooges, and his four young cohorts have various adventures in a futuristic undersea world. Oh, and they have a band as well, called The Neptunes. Why the hell isn't this a major motion picture directed by J.J. Abrams and starring Matt Damon? Oh, that's right, they're working on that new Star Trek movie. Nevermind. Nyuk, Nyuk!

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Seaquest DSV -- the best example of how network television can turn a decent idea into total dreck. I liked the first season, but couldn't BELIEVE how it degenerated after that. Roy Schieder must be embarrassed to have it on his resume.

July 31 2006 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was a huge "Man from Atlantis" fan back in the day! I keep hoping it'll turn up on DVD or at the very least, on the SciFi Channel.

July 29 2006 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby OB

If they brought back Jabberjaw now, he should have a Dharma Initiative logo tattooed near his tail!

July 29 2006 at 9:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sealab 2021

July 29 2006 at 8:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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