|Created by||Sam Raimi|
|Developed by||Bryce Zabel|
|Directed by||David Nutter|
|Composer(s)||Joseph Lo Duca|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Executive producer(s)||Sam Hamm|
Robert G. Tapert
|Production location(s)||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
|Running time||44 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Wilbur Force Productions|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
|Original release||August 26, 1994– March 3, 1995|
Wealthy, well-spoken black conservative scientist Dr. Miles Hawkins is shot in the spine by a police sniper during a riot while trying to rescue a child, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair.
After losing a lawsuit against the police department and discovering evidence of a vast right-wing conspiracy against the black community, he angrily undergoes a change in political philosophy and uses his company's resources to invent a formfitting combination powered exoskeleton and bulletproof black body armor that not only enables him to walk while wearing it but in the process also endows him with superhuman strength, speed and agility, plus the ability to fire nonlethal paralysis darts from his wrists.
Using a vast array of technology, including a secret underwater lab called the Seapod deep beneath his secluded seaside mansion and a flying car/submarine called the Chrysalis to travel around the city at night, he secretly assumes the persona of the metal-masked vigilante known as the "M.A.N.T.I.S." ("Mechanically Augmented Neuro Transmitter Interception System", changed to "Mechanically Augmented NeuroTransmitter Interactive System" for the series) to find justice for himself and others.
The pilot featured strong roles for a variety of African-American actors, including Gina Torres as dedicated pathologist Dr. Amy Ellis, Bobby Hosea as ambitious reporter Yuri Barnes, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Christopher M. Brown as African students of Hawkins who act as his secret support staff in his fight against crime, and Steve James as handsome inner city youth club manager Antoine Pike.
The series that followed controversially jettisoned all the black characters save for the hero himself, and the supporting cast was "whitewashed" to include quirky British scientist and exoskeleton co-inventor John Stonebrake (Roger Rees) and smart-mouthed, streetwise young bicycle courier Taylor Savage/Savidge (Christopher Gartin), with police detective Lt. Leora Maxwell (Galyn Görg) being the only other person of color as a regular on the show, and the plot was completely rebooted and simplified from that of the pilot.
Initially the series depicted the M.A.N.T.I.S. operating as an often reluctant vigilante who only got involved in criminal situations when there was some sort of personal connection to him and his friends. And while the costumed crimefighter was still pursued by police, the aforementioned conspiracy was now reduced down to the Machiavellian machinations of one man, evil industrialist and Mile's former business partner Solomon Box (Brion James / Andrew J. Robinson).
However poor ratings led to an extensive retooling of the concept. Midway through the show's run, minor recurring characters like Mile's cliche sassy black housekeeper Lynette (Lorena Gale) were dropped, and more fantasy adventure elements were incorporated into the premise, including parallel universes, time travel, super-villains, and monsters.
In one particular episode, the M.A.N.T.I.S. is accidentally thrown 32 years into the future, where he finds that his own technology has been exploited to create a supercomputer called the City Eye which has enslaved the Port Columbia population. He destroys it and sets the human population free before returning to his own time.
In the series' final installment, a trapped Miles and Leora are tragically killed battling an invisible prehistoric monster. Stonebrake seals off the records and technology that had created the M.A.N.T.I.S., thus averting an apocalyptic future.
While the title character's death was given a sense of finality, the story was left open in one respect: when Miles Hawkins returned to 1994 from the year 2026 (a 32-year difference), he did so precisely 32 seconds after his vehicle sent him forward in time, thus altering the computer-controlled future that his disappearance had led to. As such, Miles, while dying in the reality that he returned to, was also sent forward in time to an unknown future, leaving his actual fate ambiguous.
- Carl Lumbly – Dr. Miles Hawkins (22 episodes, 1994–1995)
- Roger Rees – John Stonebrake (22 episodes, 1994–1995)
- Christopher Gartin – Taylor Savage/Savidge (22 episodes, 1994–1995)
- Galyn Görg – Lt. Leora Maxwell (22 episodes, 1994–1995)
- Gary Graham – Capt. Ken Hetrick (9 episodes, 1994–1995)
- Jerry Wasserman – Det. Paul Warren (6 episodes, 1994)
- Garry Chalk – Detective Reid (4 episodes, 1994–1995)
- Blu Mankuma – Chief Grant (4 episodes, 1994–1995)
- Clabe Hartley – Tony (4 episodes, 1994)
- Lorena Gale - Lynette (3 episodes, 1994)
- Robert Hooks – Mayor Lew Mitchell (3 episodes, 1994–1995)
- Andrew Kavadas – MIB #2 / ... (3 episodes, 1994–1995)
- Martin Cummins – Paul Benton / ... (3 episodes, 1994)
- Peter Brost – Young Dr. Miles Hawkins (3 episodes, 1994–1995)
While the pilot was filmed in Los Angeles the series itself was produced in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Many Vancouver landmarks, such as the dome of Science World, appear, as do CN Rail cars on the train tracks.
It took three years to film due to Carl Lumbly being busy filming Nightjohn.
There were a number of differences between the pilot and the series.
In the pilot Hawkins wore a stylish suit and brown leather trenchcoat over the exoskeleton which lacked a skullcap, leaving the top of his hair bare, and the mask/headpiece was larger with special glowing green lenses which could hypnotize anyone who looked into his eyes, an ability dropped from the subsequent series as was his habit of leaving behind a small metal mantis as a calling card.
The setting was changed from Oceania City to Port Columbia, and all of the characters, with Miles Hawkins being the sole exception, were changed.
When the series was cancelled, rumors circulated it was because the network wanted to replace Miles as M.A.N.T.I.S. with the younger white Taylor, reducing the black scientist-superhero to a supporting mentor role, but the producers killed off the character and the show to keep this from happening.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"First Steps"||David Nutter||Bryce Zabel||August 26, 1994||69601|
|In the series opener, Miles puts his exoskeleton to use to foil the plans of Solomon Box (Brion James).|
|2||"Tango Blue"||Joe Napolitano||Paris Qualles||September 2, 1994||69602|
|Miles sponsors a weapons turn-in program only to have the guns stolen by a band of ex-soldiers out for revenge.|
|3||"Days of Rage"||Les Landau||Story by : Bryce Zabel & John M. Collins |
Teleplay by : Bryce Zabel & Brad Markowitz
|September 9, 1994||69603|
|A group of teenagers addicted to an intelligence enhancing drug kidnap the head of the company....and Taylor, whose friend is part of the group, ends up hooked while looking into it.|
|4||"Cease Fire"||Rob Bowman||Mark Lisson||September 16, 1994||69604|
|Miles discovers that an ex-girlfriend on a state visit from Africa is the target for international assassins.|
|5||"Soldier of Misfortune"||Kim Manners||Story by : Jackie Zabel |
Teleplay by : James Kramer
|September 23, 1994||69606|
|A virtual reality-controlled android soldier is sent out on a search and destroy mission against those who cancelled the military project that created him.|
|6||"Gloves Off"||Michael Caffey||Story by : Coleman Luck & Brad Markowitz |
Teleplay by : Bryce Zabel & Mark Lisson
|September 30, 1994||69608|
|M.A.N.T.I.S. comes to the aid of a man (Eric Allan Kramer) forced to participate in an underground fighting sport.|
|7||"The Black Dragon"||Mario Azzopardi||Story by : Nick Corea & David Ransil |
Teleplay by : David Ransil
|October 7, 1994||69607|
|When the Yakuza try to take over Port Columbia, Miles discovers that the only way to defeat them is to fulfill an ancient Japanese prophecy and take on the role of a legendary warrior.|
|8||"To Prey in Darkness"||Cliff Bole||Story by : Brad Markowitz & Marc Scott Zicree |
Teleplay by : Marc Scott Zicree
|October 14, 1994||69605|
|A government agent sent to investigate the M.A.N.T.I.S. situation is not what he seems, and Solomon Box (Andrew J. Robinson) is involved.|
|9||"Fire in the Heart"||Rob Bowman||Paris Qualles||October 21, 1994||69609|
|A property developer uses a teenager with pyrokinetic abilities to commit acts of arson.|
|10||"Thou Shalt Not Kill"||Michael Caffey||Bryce Zabel & Brad Markowitz||November 4, 1994||69610|
|When M.A.N.T.I.S. is framed for a murder he didn't commit and Miles discovers the identity of the cop who shot him, a deadly trap is set. (Part 1 of 2)|
|11||"Revelation"||David Grossman||Bryce Zabel & Brad Markowitz||November 11, 1994||69611|
|With Miles unconscious and the M.A.N.T.I.S. suit developing a mind of its own, his friends must find and save him before an all-out police manhunt captures or kills him. (Part 2 of 2)|
|12||"Through the Dark Circle"||Kim Manners||Coleman Luck & Carel Gage Luck||November 18, 1994||69612|
|When Taylor discovers mysterious portal in an abandoned military facility, Port Columbia is invaded by sinister mind-controlling Men In Black from another dimension.|
|13||"The Eyes Beyond"||Richard Compton||Coleman Luck & Carel Gage Luck||December 9, 1994||69616|
|M.A.N.T.I.S. is accidentally hurled into a future where Port Columbia is ruled by an evil super computer based on technology Miles created.|
|14||"Faces in the Mask"||Neill Fearnley||Story by : Scott Curtis & Coleman Luck |
Teleplay by : Coleman Luck
|December 16, 1994||69614|
|A masked madman seeks revenge on his former business partners using holographic disguises.|
|15||"The Sea Wasp"||John Nicolella||Paris Qualles||January 6, 1995||69618|
|Miles becomes the target of a scientist who has genetically altered herself and her students using jellyfish DNA to create a deadly new race of aquatic humans.|
|16||"Progenitor"||Mario Azzopardi||Bryce Zabel||January 20, 1995||69619|
|The clone of an old associate of Miles (Vincent Schiavelli) kidnaps Miles and replaces him with a clone in order to start up a long dead project.|
|17||"Switches"||Neill Fearnley||Coleman Luck & Carel Gage Luck||January 27, 1995||69621|
|The mind of a mad scientist downloaded into Port Columbia's electrical system exacts revenge on those responsible for his execution.|
|18||"The Delusionist"||Tucker Gates||Coleman Luck III||February 10, 1995||69617|
|A deranged magician uses a hypnotic device to brainwash the teenagers of Port Columbia, among them Taylor and Leora's younger sister.|
|19||"Fast Forward"||Cliff Bole||David Kemper||February 17, 1995||69620|
|A criminal with super speed (Curtis Armstrong) plagues Port Columbia. How can M.A.N.T.I.S. stop a villain who moves faster than the human eye?|
|20||"Spider in the Tower"||Kim Manners||Coleman Luck & Coleman Luck III||March 3, 1995||69623|
|The Men in Black are back led by the half-human C. Flayton Ruell (Mark Sheppard) who has a plan to destroy M.A.N.T.I.S., starting with the murder of John Stonebrake.|
|21||"Ancestral Evil"||Cliff Bole||Paris Qualles & Brad Markowitz||September 7, 1997||69624|
|An attempt to create a holographic family tree computer program during a lighting storm accidentally unleashes an evil Druid ancestor of Stonebrake's on the modern world.|
|22||"Ghost of the Ice"||Kim Manners||David Kemper||September 14, 1997||69625|
|When the Chrysalis crashes in the wilderness, Miles and Stonebrake must escape from an invisible dinosaur that has awoken from a nearby thawing glacier.|
- Braxton, Greg (1994-08-25). "'M.A.N.T.I.S.' Undergoes Pilot-to-Series Changes : New Producers of TV Series About an African American Super-Hero Cite Creative Reasons; Others Claim Racism". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-14.
- Rosenberg, Howard (1994-01-24). "TV REVIEWS : 'Mantis' a Super-Hero Without a Prayer". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-14.
- "M.A.N.T.I.S. – Long-Awaited Front Cover Art for M.A.N.T.I.S. – The Complete Series". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-20. Retrieved 2011-04-02.