The M.A.N.T.I.S. TV show was a 60 minute action, sci-fi series on the Fox Network about a scientist who was shot and left paralyzed. He invented a high-tech body harness that enabled him to walk again and do much more. The harness also gave him super-human strength and speed. He then decided to use his new found abilities to fight criminals in order to prevent others from having to suffer at their hands like he did. In addition, he drives a vehicle that can both fly and move underwater. His long-time friend, John Stonebrake assisted him mainly by building the crimefighting contraptions that Dr. Hawkins was always thinking up. Taylor Savidge was also of assistance in just about any way that would satisfy his need for fast-paced excitement. While they were fighting crooks, the cops (headed by Detective Leora Maxwell) were after "M.A.N.T.I.S." because they felt was making them look bad. They intended to arrest him as a vigilante.
Carl Lumbly .... Dr. Miles Hawkins
Roger Rees .... John Stonebrake
Christopher Gartin .... Taylor Savidge
Galyn Gorg .... Detective Lieutenant Leora Maxwell
The crimefighting vehicle that M.A.N.T.I.S. flys and uses underwater was called "The Chrysalid".
There were two episodes of M.A.N.T.I.S. that were produced but were not broadcast due to early cancellation of the series. Their titles were, "Ancestral Evil" and "Ghost of the Ice". They did finally air on September 7th and 14th in 1997, respectively, on the Sci-fi Channel. In "Ghost of the Ice", Dr. Miles Hawkins was killed off. While it's unlikely that we'll ever see M.A.N.T.I.S. again, you never know. The producers have always hinted that there is an idea for a script that could bring M.A.N.T.I.S. back from the dead!
You may remember Carl Lumbly better as the character, "Marcus Dixon" on the series, "Alias". Among his numerous other TV appearances, Carl also appeared as "Detective Mark Petrie" on "Cagney and Lacey" and he provided the voice of 'J'onn J'onnz the Martian Manhunter" on "Justice League".
In the pilot movie, the acronym, "M.A.N.T.I.S." stood for, "Mechanically Augmented Neuro-transmitter Interactive System". It was also referred to as an "exo-skeleton". FOX executives felt that was just too lengthy to remember and might confuse viewers so in the first episode, the Producers had a character say, "Wow, you know? It kinda looks like a Mantis"! The long acronyn was never mentioned again, however, the title remained with the letters in Mantis being separated by periods and capitalized.
The writers' offices at Universal Studios had to be moved during the production of M.A.N.T.I.S. to make room for the "Jurassic Park" ride.
The only actor who appeared in both the pilot movie and in the regular episodes was Carl Lumbly.
Halfway through the season, an effort was made to save M.A.N.T.I.S. from cancellation by totally changing the show's focus. Instead of having Miles Hawkins don his exo-skeleton to fight regular bad guys, they switched his adversaries to super-villans and monsters. It obviously didn't work!
M.A.N.T.I.S. had some decent competition on the other networks. ABC was airing, "Family Matters" and "Boy Meets World" in the same time slot. On CBS there was, "Diagnosis Murder" and NBC was airing, "Unsolved Mysteries".
M.A.N.T.I.S. Opening Narrative
"This is the scientific journal of Dr. Miles Hawkins, to be published in the event of my death. I know when the truth is known, people will wonder why I felt it necessary to create the M.A.N.T.I.S. The reality-I never did. The M.A.N.T.I.S. asked his own creation and I could not refuse him".
Episodes List With Original Air Dates
TV Pilot Movie
Pilot (2 Hours) (1/24/1994)
The First And Only Season
- First Steps (8/26/1994)
- Tango Blue (9/2/1994)
- Days of Rage (9/9/1994)
- Cease Fire (9/16/1994)
- Soldier of Misfortune (9/23/1994)
- Gloves Off (9/30/1994)
- The Black Dragon (10/7/1994)
- To Prey in Darkness (10/14/1994)
- Fire in the Heart (10/21/1994)
- Thou Shalt Not Kill - Part 1 (11/4/1994)
- Revelation - Part 2 (11/11/1994)
- Through the Dark Circle (11/18/1994)
- The Eyes Beyond (12/9/1994)
- Faces in the Mask (12/16/1994)
- The Sea Wasp (1/6/1995)
- Progenitor (1/20/1995)
- Switches (1/27/1995)
- The Delusionist (2/10/1995)
- Fast Forward (2/17/1995)
- Spider in the Tower (3/3/1995)
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