Starman (TV series)
|Created by||Bruce A. Evans
|Developed by||Mike Gray
|Written by||Michael Marks
|Directed by||Bill Duke
Christopher Daniel Barnes
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Executive producer(s)||Michael Douglas
James S. Henerson
James G. Hirsch
|Running time||60 mins. (approx)|
|Production company(s)||Henerson/Hirsch Productions
Columbia Pictures Television
|Distributor||Columbia TriStar Television
Sony Pictures Television
|Original release||September 19, 1986– May 2, 1987|
and characters created by
Bruce A. Evans
Starman is an American science fiction television series, starring Robert Hays and Christopher Daniel Barnes and continuing the story from John Carpenter's 1984 film. The series ran on the ABC network from September 19, 1986 to May 2, 1987.
The series takes place fifteen years after the film's story and features the return of the alien as a clone of deceased photojournalist Paul Forrester (Robert Hays) to meet and guide his now-teenage son Scott Hayden, Jr (Christopher Daniel Barnes) as they try to avoid a U.S. government agent and find the missing Jenny Hayden.
Each episode of the series had the fugitive father and son moving from place to place meeting people that were in need of some assistance, while Scott tries to explain to his alien father what it means to be a human being and Starman must deal with fallout from Forrester's rather hedonistic past. Each has a small silvery sphere of alien material, about 3–4 cm in diameter, that allows a trained mind to project thoughts to carry out telekinesis or telepathy in some limited manner. Starman is adept, but Scott needs to learn how to focus; in one episode, "Blue Lights", Scott accidentally creates a picturesque image of a rotating ring of blue lights that is mistaken for a UFO. Both are also able to empathically connect with animals.
Starman and Scott are also trying to stay one step ahead of government UFO investigator George Fox (Michael Cavanaugh), who regards both father and son as a threat to humanity and will not tolerate Starman and Scott running free in society. In one episode, when Starman tells Fox that children are the world's hope for the future, Fox reacts with hostility to imply that Scott is some sort of mutant and therefore not acceptable. Starman, however, holds no malice toward Fox, and even treats a life-threatening injury before he and Scott make their escape.
In a two-part episode, "Starscape", Starman and Scott find Jenny Hayden (Erin Gray) living as an artist, under the name Karen Iseley, in Arizona. One more episode, "The Test", aired after the two-part episode, tried to pave the way for a second season, but the series was canceled.
Starman scored a critics' rating of 34 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 5 "generally unfavorable" reviews. These ranged from The Miami Herald calling it "warm and funny" to the Los Angeles Times stating, "Brother, is this a drag".
|No.||Title||Original air date|
|1||"The Return"||September 19, 1986|
|Following his foster parents' death, a grieving Scott Hayden (Christopher Daniel Barnes) uses a sphere and inadvertently contacts his alien father, the Starman (Robert Hays), back to Earth. Starman clones the body of the reckless photojournalist Paul Forrester, who was killed in a helicopter crash while trying to photograph an erupting volcano. George Fox (Michael Cavanaugh), already investigating Scott, learns of the alien's return through Liz Baynes (Mimi Kuzyk), an investigative reporter who often worked with the real Paul and was one of his many lovers. Scott, forced to believe his father's identity when he hears a tape from Jenny Hayden, his biological mother, sets out to find her. Starman, as Paul, accompanies him to protect them both from government agents. Liz offers to help Paul find work as a photographer.|
|2||"Like Father, Like Son"||September 26, 1986|
|Scott has trouble accepting his father's origins and what that means for his own life. Rather than hitchhiking on their journey, they instead decide to buy a used car. Afterward, they pick up a stressed-out woman (Candy Clark) and her daughter (Robyn Lively). After taking the car to a garage and staying the night at a hotel, Scott and Paul learn the police are after the mother for kidnapping. Meanwhile, Fox is trying to rally the government for the support he needs.|
|3||"Fatal Flaw"||October 3, 1986|
|Scott and Paul hide out at an airfield, where they meet a pilot (Patricia McPherson) who had been designing a new plane with her father until he suffered a stroke that left him unable to speak. Seeing her failing financial situation, Paul uses his sphere to communicate with her father, who points out some flaws in the plane's design. Scott begins to appreciate his father's abilities.|
|4||"Blue Lights"||October 10, 1986|
|Scott erroneously uses his sphere to cause blue lights to appear in the sky. Father and son end up in a jail cell, while the sheriff tries to convince everyone of the story. However, only the government and Fox are interested.|
|5||"Best Buddies"||October 24, 1986|
|Starman finds it difficult to resume Paul's life when he meets a couple, Paul's Vietnam veteran buddy and his wife, who declares she still loves Paul and wishes to resume their affair.|
|6||"Secrets"||October 31, 1986|
|Paul and Scott hear a news report that someone named Jennifer Hayden has escaped from a nearby mental hospital, a ruse arranged by Fox. They enlist the aid of an actress (Lisa Blount), who is more interested in Paul than in finding Jenny whom she says she knows. Meanwhile, another false news report leads Scott into a trap.|
|7||"One for the Road"||November 7, 1986|
|Becoming tired of being on the lam, Paul and Scott stays in a town for a while. Scott joins the school's track team and falls in love with schoolmate Kelly Jordan (Ami Dolenz). When Paul suggests that it is time for them to leave town, Scott rebels.|
|8||"Peregrine"||November 14, 1986|
|Paul sees both sides of the captive breeding program for endangered species when he heals the broken wing of a peregrine falcon he calls Waldo. He also makes his first intentional joke and learns an important lesson about being human.|
|9||"Society's Pet"||November 28, 1986|
|Antonia Weyburn (Janet Leigh), the very wealthy sister of Scott's foster father, uses a $10,000 insurance policy to lure Paul and Scott to her farm. Willing even to strike a bargain with Fox, she wants to remove Scott from what she considers Paul's bad influence and properly raise him. When he sees how much Scott savors the luxury offered him, Paul wonders if his son might not prefer such an arrangement.|
|10||"Fever"||December 5, 1986|
|A common cold endangers Starman's life, leaving him vulnerable to Fox, who has been relieved of duty for not finding tangible proof of the alien's existence. Scott realizes how important his father has become.|
|11||"The Gift"||December 12, 1986|
|Accepting an invitation to spend Christmas with the real Paul Forrester's mother, Paul and Scott find she didn't invite them and doesn't want to see her son. After learning she is dying, Starman tries to explain his own view of death to Scott and to heal the wounds between Paul and his mother before it is too late.|
|12||"The System"||January 9, 1987|
Starman gets arrested on a bench warrant for Paul, who refused to violate the confidence of a fugitive from justice he had photographed. Fox eventually learns of this and tries to get Paul but the police stonewall him. Then, a mistake gets Paul released and he thinks he can find the location in the photograph.
Note: Story based on the Stephen Bingham case.
|13||"Appearances"||January 16, 1987|
|Starman heals the acid-burned hand of a sheltered blind girl (Nadine Van der Velde), who then believes him to be a healer and cannot understand why he will not also heal her eyes.|
|14||"The Probe"||January 30, 1987|
|Paul falls in love with a beautiful widowed astronomer (Kay Lenz), who is struggling with the issue of military funding for scientific research.|
|15||"Dusty"||February 6, 1987|
|A compulsive gambler steals Paul and Scott's car, stranding them in Reno with an $8,000 debt and without their belongings.|
|16||"Barriers"||February 13, 1987|
|Knocked unconscious, Paul gets taken to Mexico, separated from Scott, and imprisoned by the father of Tonita, a pregnant aristrocat. Paul must escape, cross the border with other "illegal aliens", and protect Tonita from bandits as she goes into labor on the way to find her baby's father.|
|17||"Grifters"||March 13, 1987|
|Two con men try to scam Paul and Scott, who ultimately find themselves in the clutches of Fox. Starman learns the extent of Fox's hatred, paranoia and plans for Scott.|
|18||"The Wedding"||March 21, 1987|
|The owner (Al Ruscio) of a fishing fleet and cannery asks Paul to photograph his daughter Anna's (Christine Healy) wedding, but her father actually hopes being reminded of a past love affair with Paul will make Anna change her mind about marriage and leaving home.|
|19||"Fathers and Sons"||March 28, 1987|
|A 15-year-old boy who believes Paul Forrester was his biological father wants to escape his current life and go on the road with Paul. Scott, feeling irritated in his own father-son relationship, is indifferent with the boy. Meanwhile, Paul has been hired by a magazine publisher to expose some former activists who might have sold out.|
|20||"Starscape, Part 1"||April 4, 1987|
|Paul recognizes his home star in a painting, and he and Scott search for the artist, Jenny Hayden (Erin Gray). Separated in New Mexico, they both head for Arizona, where Paul finds his lost love but is not quite sure how to reveal his identity. Meanwhile, Scott's involved in a truck crash in an isolated area and saves the driver, not realizing the man is his uncle.|
|21||"Starscape, Part 2"||April 11, 1987|
|Jenny initially finds it difficult to believe the identity of her new love, but they reaffirm their bond and focus on finding Scott. Fox captures both father and son, but Jenny's brother aids in their escape from the Air Force lab. Fox has a heart attack and Starman ponders the perfect solution for a life with the family he loves, which is to let Fox die.|
|22||"The Test"||May 2, 1987|
|Scott faces a trio of bullies in school, while Paul presents two people with the opportunity to change their lives, a disillusioned teacher and a man who has yet to face his illiteracy.|
Awards and nominations
Starman was nominated twice in 1987 for the Young Artist Award. The series received a nomination for Best Family Television Drama, and its co-star Christopher Daniel Barnes received a nomination for Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Drama Series.
The entire series was released on DVD in at least Region 1 format, on April 16, 2012.
- "Hays ready to assume role of 'Starman' for television". Bowling Green, KY: Park City Daily News. Associated Press. August 15, 1986. p. TV4. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
- "Starman: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- Ninth Annual Youth in Film Awards 1986-1987