The Secrets of Isis

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The Secrets of Isis
Isislogo.jpg
Also known as Isis
Genre Adventure
Drama
Developed by Marc Richards
Starring JoAnna Cameron
Brian Cutler
Joanna Pang
Ronalda Douglas
Theme music composer Yvette Blais
Jeff Michael
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 22 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Norm Prescott
Lou Scheimer
Dick Rosenbloom
Producer(s) Arthur H. Nadel
Production company(s) Filmation
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Original run September 6, 1975 (1975-09-06) – September 3, 1977 (1977-09-03)
Chronology
Related shows Shazam!

The Secrets of Isis, originally broadcast as Isis, is an American live-action superhero television series produced by Filmation from 1975 to 1977 for CBS's Saturday morning lineup.[1] The series acquired its more familiar title in syndication.

The program was the first weekly, American, live-action television series with a female superhero lead character (debuting September 6, 1975, predating the weekly debuts of both The Bionic Woman (January 14, 1976), and, Wonder Woman (April 21, 1976).[2] In the series, Isis (JoAnna Cameron) is the alter ego of Andrea Thomas, a seemingly normal schoolteacher, who transforms into the Egyptian goddess when presented with crises a mere mortal cannot resolve.

Premise[edit]

'Isis starred JoAnna Cameron as Andrea Thomas, a science teacher at Larkspur High School who found an ancient mystical gold amulet, the "Isiac amulet," on an archeological dig in Egypt. The Isiac amulet, which resembled the headdress of Hathor, had originally belonged to Queen Hatshepsut, an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. The amulet gave the wearer (specifically, Hatshepsut and her descendants, of which Andrea was one) "the powers of the animals and the elements," which would be bestowed upon such wearer by the goddess Isis whenever it was exposed to the sun and her name invoked. Whenever Isis was needed, Andrea would reveal the Isiac amulet (which she wore as an everyday necklace) and recite an incantation - "Oh mighty Isis" - transforming her into the goddess/super-heroine.

The series co-starred Brian Cutler as fellow teacher Rick Mason, Joanna Pang as student Cindy Lee, and Albert Reed as Dr. Barnes, the school principal. In Season 2, Ronalda Douglas joined the cast as Rennie Carol, replacing the Cindy character. Guest stars on the show included Mike Lookinland, Debralee Scott, Leigh McCloskey, Phil Bruns, Mark Lambert, Steven Paul, Thomas Carter, Colleen Camp, Johnny Doran, William Engesser, Laurette Spang, Tommy Norden, Victor Sen Yung, Russ Marin and Christopher Norris.

Three episodes of the series featured crossover appearances by Captain Marvel of the show's companion series, Shazam!). Likewise, Cameron appeared as Isis in three episodes of Shazam!

Most of the program's storylines involved Isis coming to the rescue of high school students who found themselves in danger due to unwise choices. A notable exception was the two-part series finale, "Now You See It...", and, "...Now You Don't," which had an espionage-related plotline revealing that Rick Mason has been working secretly for the U.S. government on a weather-making machine. This two-parter introduced a trio of crime-fighting teens dubbed "The Super-Sleuths;" the double episode was intended as a backdoor pilot for a Super-Sleuths series, which never materialized.[3]

The Secrets of Isis often "broke the fourth wall," with Isis/Andrea winking at the camera or otherwise acknowledging the audience, at pertinent moments in a story. In signature Filmation fashion, each episode featured an epilogue with Isis directly addressing the camera and imparting a moral lesson derived from the preceding events of that episode. These moral-message segments were later deleted from syndication prints.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Isis displays a vast amount of superpowers, usually invoked through incanting a rhyming couplet. For example, Isis can take flight by reciting "Oh zephyr winds which blow on high / Lift me now so I can fly." Among her many powers, she exhibits superhuman strength, command of the elements (earth, air, fire, and water), and control of the weather. She can control the molecular density of her body and other matter, passing herself through walls, and in one instance, causing a car to pass unharmed through a road grader. She can divine the recent past, which is manifested for the viewer in the jewel of her diadem. Isis can cause living things, including trees and animals, to appear and disappear at will. She can increase local gravity, and stop and reverse the flow of time.

Isis' superhuman abilities are limited when in her Andrea Thomas form. She is still able to communicate telepathically with her pet bird, Tut; and in one instance, the reflection of light off of her amulet restored a forgotten memory to a person.

Broadcast history[edit]

Twenty-two episodes of Isis aired as part of The Shazam/Isis Hour on CBS from September 6, 1975, to September 3, 1977, with 15 episodes in the first season and seven in the second. The success of the show led to syndication of the series in 1978 as The Secrets of Isis. The character also appeared in three episodes of Shazam!.

Other appearances[edit]

Isis later appeared in animated form (voiced by Diane Pershing) on the Freedom Force segment of Filmation's Tarzan and the Super 7 show in 1980. The animated Isis also made a guest appearance on the Filmation cartoon Hero High in 1981 (voiced by Linda Gary).

Despite sharing a program block with Shazam! and appearing in 1970s DC Comics publications, Isis was an original Filmation property. The rights to the character are today controlled by DreamWorks Classics, which owns the rights to the Filmation catalog and characters. A considerably reworked comic-book version of the character, still connected with Captain Marvel and given the alter-ego "Adrianna Tomaz" in honor of the television character, was introduced in the 2006 DC weekly maxi-series 52.[4] This version of Isis becomes the wife of Captain Marvel's nemesis Black Adam, attempting to reform him before her death and resurrection later drive both Adam and Isis into villainy.[5]

Grammnet, actor/producer Kelsey Grammer's production company, has reportedly obtained the rights to produce a movie based on the character, to be called The Legend of Isis.

Isis appeared in the season 10 episode "Isis" of the CW Network's Superboy-based drsma series, Smallville. Portrayed by Smallville actress Erica Durance, this version saw the amulet take over the body of Lois Lane. However, there were nods to The Shazam!/Isis Hour and the modern character, in Durance's portrayal.

Episodes[edit]

Home video releases[edit]

On July 24, 2007, American DVD distributor BCI Eclipse (Under license from Entertainment Rights, then owners of the Filmation catalog) released The Secrets of Isis: The Complete Series as a 3-disc DVD box st in North America.[6] The episodes were presented in their "known original airdate order," with extant copies of the "moral-message" segments cut for syndication presented as bonus features. The DVD includes the first issue of The Legend of Isis, a comic book published by Bluewater Productions, that debuted in 2007.

The BCI set later went out of print; in 2010, Classic Media released the first seven episodes as a one-disc set titled The Secrets of Isis.[7] The entire series is available for streaming on Hulu[8]

DVD Name Cover art Episodes Release date
The Secrets of Isis: The Complete Series SecretsOfIsis Complete.jpg 22 July 24, 2007
The Secrets of Isis 7 September 6, 2011

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The History of DC Comics on TV". IGN. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  2. ^ Audio commentary for The Secrets of Isis: The Complete Series. BCI Eclipse LLC
  3. ^ DVD liner notes for The Secrets of Isis: The Complete Series. BCI Eclipse LLC
  4. ^ 52 #12 (July 26, 2006). DC Comics, Inc.
  5. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #23 (Mar 2009). DC Comics, Inc.
  6. ^ "The Secrets Of Isis". Andymangels.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  7. ^ "Classic Media Announces a New Single-DVD Release for Isis: Date, Cost, Box". 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  8. ^ The Secrets of isis on Hulu.com

External links[edit]