Night Man

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Night Man
Nightman titles.jpg
Also known as NightMan
Genre Action
Adventure
Sci-fi
Created by Glen A. Larson
Written by Steven Kriozere
James Korris
D.G. Larson
Stephen A. Miller
Directed by Nick Daniel
Allan Eastman
Glen A. Larson
Robert Munic
Rex Piano
David Price
David Winning
Starring Matt McColm
Derek Webster
Felecia M. Bell
Earl Holliman
Michael Woods
Derwin Jordan
Jayne Heitmeyer
Theme music composer Marc Bonilla
Glen A. Larson
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 44 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Karen Corbin
Glen A. Larson
Gary Gittelsohn
Scott Mitchell Rosenberg
Producer(s)
  • Janet Curtis-Larson
  • Scott Thomas
  • Keri Young
Running time 45–48 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor Tribune Broadcasting
Home Box Office
Release
Original channel
Original release September 19, 1997 (1997-09-19) – May 17, 1999 (1999-05-17)

Night Man is an American action/adventure/sci-fi series that aired in syndication from September 15, 1997 to May 17, 1999. The series is loosely based on the The Night Man comic book published by Malibu Comics, which was later purchased by Marvel Comics, through its Ultraverse imprint, and was created by Steve Englehart. It was developed for television by Glen A. Larson.

It stars Matt McColm as the title character, a superhero whose real name was Johnny Domino, a saxophonist. Englehart would write three episodes of the series. Night Man is also one of the few series to cross over with characters from Larson's previous series: in the episode "Manimal", Johnny allies with Professor Jonathan Chase, the star of the short-lived 1980s' series Manimal.

Plot summary[edit]

Johnny Domino is a well-known San Franciscan jazz musician who is accidentally struck by a lightning bolt in a freak cable-car accident. The strike allows him to telepathically recognize evil but robs him of the ability to sleep. Although Night Man has no other superhuman powers of his own, he owns a special bulletproof bodysuit that gives him several abilities, including flight, holographic camouflage-style invisibility and advanced sight functions through the round red lens over his left eye including the ability to see in the dark and fire a laser beam. Although he often fights new enemies in each episode as the series progresses, his nemesis is computer technologies billionaire Kieran Keyes (Kim Coates), who would slay Johnny's father, Frank Domino, in the premiere of the second and final season.

Cast[edit]

  • Matt McColm as Johnny Domino/Night Man, a saxophonist who is struck by a lightning while playing inside a cable-car. As a result, his brain gains radio-like properties, able to "pick up" certain frequencies. He is now tuned on the "frequency of evil", which enables him to "hear" evil thoughts and doers wherever he goes. He wears a bulletproof bodysuit, as well as an anti-gravity belt that enables him to fly, a cape with holographic camouflage-style invisibility properties and a mask with a round red lens over his left eye, which includes the ability to see/aim in the dark and fire a laser beam.
  • Earl Holliman as Frank Domino, Johnny's father and former police detective. As a result of production being moved to Vancouver, Canada for Season 2, he is killed by villain Kieran Keyes in the premiere of Season 2. In the comics, this character was named Eddie Domingo who worked as a security guard and was Night Man's sole-confidant.
  • Derek Webster (Season 1) and Derwin Jordan (Season 2) as Raleigh Jordan, Johnny's friend and confident, as well as the developer of Night Man's armor.
  • Felecia M. Bell (credited as Felecia Bell) as Jessica Rodgers, owner of the House of Soul, the club where Johnny performs. Her character was axed in Season 2 after production moved to Vancouver, though she does appear in 2 episodes.
  • Michael Woods as Lieutenant Charlie Dann, Frank's former partner and apprentice. His character was axed in Season 2 after production moved to Vancouver.
  • Jayne Heitmeyer as Lieutenant Briony Branca, a detective who investigates criminal actions in Season 2.

Guest appearances[edit]

  • Patrick Macnee as Dr. Walton, Johnny's psychiatrist. Usually advises him on how to use his newfound abilities.
  • Taylor Dayne as Carla Day, a singer who is Johnny's love interest. Although she only appeared in the pilot episode, she is mentioned a few more times during the series' run.
  • Fabiana Udenio as Rachel Lang, an alien villainess who approaches and hypnotizes Johnny (turning him into a hedonistic and selfish person) in order to discover NightMan's secrets and use his powers for her own will.
  • Shane Brolly as Joran/Chrome, a supervillain who uses telekinetic powers, granted to him through the same lightning bolt that struck Johnny. He seeks to take over Bay City and destroy NightMan, but is overpowered and defeated by him. He later reappears and joins forces with Rachel Lang to destroy Johnny and discover NightMan's secrets. In the end, both are defeated for good.
  • Jacinda Barrett as Lucy Devlin/Selene, a monstrous witch/sorceress who assumes a female human form. She is hired by Jessica as a magician entertainer at the House of Soul anniversary party, but she inadvertently uses black magic techniques to send Charlie, Frank and Raleigh to another dimension. After NightMan saves them and travels to his own dimension (where he reunites with his deceased mother), he is able to overcome her tricks and defeat her. However, by the end of the episode, it is unclear if the whole thing was reality or just one of Johnny's dreams.
  • Ric Young as Chang, a Chinese diplomat whose goal is to cause a third World War using a high-technology neutron cannon weapon.
  • Simon MacCorkindale as Jonathan Chase, the titular hero in the Manimal crossover episode.

In addition, Little Richard, Jerry Springer, and Donald Trump made special appearances as themselves in "Face to Face", "House of Soul", and "Whole Lotta Shakin'", respectively.

Episodes[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Recipient Episode
1999 Leo Awards Winner Best Musical Score in a Dramatic Series Graeme Coleman "Dust"

Comics version[edit]

Night Man
Publication information
Publisher Malibu Comics
First appearance The Strangers" #1 (as Johnny Domino); "The Night Man" # 1 (as Night Man)
Created by Steve Englehart
In-story information
Alter ego Johnny Domino (legally changed from Johnny Domingo)
Abilities Limited telepathy
Night vision
Mask granted infrared vision
Sleep independence

Published by Malibu Comics for its Ultraverse line, the comic book Night Man gained his powers from an accident. A piece of shrapnel became embedded in his head after his vehicle was struck by a cable car that had been hit by a burst of energy known as a "jumpstart". The energy is later found to originate from The Entity, an alien starship which had crashed on the Moon. Night Man jumpstarted, but the passengers of the cable car were also, some of which went on to form The Strangers. This version of Johnny Domino, while not unconditionally telepathic, could hear evil thoughts, could see in the dark and did not require sleep. His costume and equipment were merely makeshift items from hardware stores and the like, plus a kevlar vest his father lent him. His father was a former police officer turned security guard at a San Francisco Coney Island-type amusement park called "Playland", based upon the real-life Playland (San Francisco).

He used both a gun and a taser to fight crime, though the gun was only used as a last resort and even then, never used to kill. This version did not fly, but he used a grappling hook and rope to swing about the city, in addition to a used motorcycle he bought in the first issue as a means to transport himself quickly. A final difference, though minor, pertains to Johnny Domino's legal name. In the comic book, his name is Johnny Domingo (shortened to Domino as a catchy name to capitalize on his career as a saxophone musician) and his father's name was Edward Domingo (as opposed to the name his father was given on the television series).

During the series, Nightman meets and befriends the Freex, a group of super-powered teenagers on the run. In addition to dealing with his own problems, Nightman promises to watch out for them. Unfortunately he must deal with the death of one of the team, Plug, murdered by the Ultra-killer Rafferty.

Issue one was drawn by the character's designer and co-creator Darick Robertson.

Two Night Men?[edit]

In October 1994, Malibu Comics was purchased by Marvel Comics. In a drastic attempt to gain new readers, the Ultraverse was given edicts from their new owner, and various Marvel elements began popping up in the monthly Ultraverse titles.

Apart from this, Night Man becomes involved in corporate espionage, being caught between several opposing sides. He encounters the superhero team 'The Solution' and the haunted suit of super-armor, Teknight.[1]

One Marvel storyline centered around mainstay Marvel Universe villain Loki (brother of Thor) searching for the Infinity Gems which had been stolen (and lost) by the ancient intergalactic vampire known as Rune. One such gem, the Reality Gem was discovered by the Night Man who, through trickery from Loki, began creating various other Night Men, each one the result of a simple choice he made while wielding the gem. Eventually, what appeared to be the original Night Man used the gem to eliminate all of the doppelgangers, leaving only himself and one additional Night Man. When asked by Loki if they'd reached a decision upon surrendering the gem to him, the initial version surrendered his gem, while the double vowed to stop Loki and charged towards him... only to be destroyed (alongside the duplicated Reality Gem) by the God of Mischief. Loki then left in search of other Infinity Gems to collect, and the surviving Night Man went off on his own way (eventually taking time for himself as Johnny Domino).[2]

However, as the God Of Mischief, Loki resurrected the Night Man he'd killed, whom began to continue where the original left off. The double (not knowing he was not the original) found out that an "imposter" was living his life. Tracking the real Johnny Domino down (who was playing the saxophone at a nightclub), they engaged in a fight that was only stopped by the sudden reappearance of an old foe, Rhiannon. She offered power to both men, more specifically magick. Johnny Domino refused, but the other Night Man accepted Rhiannon's offer. Johnny tried to stop his double but was knocked out by Rhiannon. The pair made their escape to Stonehenge to prepare for the rituals that would grant this Night Man magick, while the original, recovered from being knocked out found himself in hot pursuit. The rituals were completed and the double did indeed gain the powers promised to him, but at a cost that Rhiannon had fueled her own life with: gaining and maintaining magick through cannibalism... a choice the double made willingly if it would help him defeat evil, and using the argument that "The Night Man has ALWAYS evolved when it comes to threats against the innocents".[3] His costume also transformed as a result, becoming more Celtic in style. His long hair was now worn in matching locks, and instead of a mask, he now sported a crescent-shaped tattoo on the left side of his face, along with a floating eyepiece similar to the original look of the Night Man, and his other eye was now red. The original Night Man arrived and tackled his now-magick-enhanced double, but due to the instantaneous reality-changing events unfolding elsewhere in the Ultraverse known as Black September, a portal opened up at Stonehenge, swallowing the original Night Man and transporting him to the Marvel Universe while the double resumed the original's life as both Johnny Domino and the Night Man. The original Night Man was stuck in the Marvel Universe, where he presumably continues today.

Steve Englehart has stated on his official website that he'd pitched the idea of writing two monthly Night Man comics, one centering on the magick Night Man taking place in the Ultraverse, with the other book taking place in the Marvel Universe and centering around the original Night Man as he tries to make his way in a world that's unfamiliar to him. Unfortunately, the higher-ups at Marvel were not interested and that was one of the deciding factors which led Englehart to leave what was left of Malibu Comics.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Solution #13 (Oct. 1, 1994)
  2. ^ Night Man #22 (July 1995)
  3. ^ "Night Man" 1 Vol. 2 (October 1995)

External links[edit]