The Immortal (TV series)
Christopher George, Ross Martin and Mitch Vogel, 1970.
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of episodes||15 + pilot|
|Running time||60 minutes (including commercials)|
|Production company(s)||Paramount Network Television|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original release||September 24, 1970– January 14, 1971|
The Immortal is an American television series, starring Christopher George as a man whose blood chemistry and resistance to almost all diseases (including old age) makes him both almost immortal and a target of a rich elderly man who would basically use him as a personal blood bank, aired on ABC from September 1970 to January 1971. The series is based on a pilot movie of the same name, which aired in September 1969 as an ABC Movie of the Week. The pilot is based on the science fiction novel The Immortals, by James Gunn. Although the series was canceled at midseason, episodes were rerun by ABC in the summer of 1971. It was later shown in reruns on the Sci Fi Channel.
This man has a singular advantage over other men. Ben Richards is immune to every known disease, including old age. Periodic transfusions of his blood can give other men a second, a third lifetime, perhaps more.
Voice #1: Find Ben Richards!
Voice #2: The effects of the transfusion are only temporary. I must therefore control Ben Richards's life permanently.
Voice #3: He's the most valuable man in the world, but he's no good to me dead.
Voice #4: His brother may have the same kind of blood. We've got to find him before Richards does!
Voice #5: If you had million dollar blood, where would you hide?
Ben Richards: I didn't ask for this. I was a test driver. I liked the job. One day, the doctor told me I had some kind of...special blood. I don't understand it, but I know this. Everything they're offering...I don't want. I gotta live free!
Ben Richards will live longer than anyone has ever lived, but a transfusion to the wrong man could make him a prisoner for all time. And so he runs from the hunters, the human hounds who would cage him.
Ben Richards is a test car driver for a large corporation. He's 42 years old, but looks young enough to pass for 25—and he's never been sick a day in his life. Ben's life changes when he donates a pint of blood. When a dying billionaire is given a transfusion of his donated blood, and is brought back from the brink of death, Ben's physician determines that his O-negative blood contains all known antibodies and immunities. This gives Ben immunity to every known disease and an estimated lifespan five to ten times that of other humans, making him, in the doctor's words, "virtually immortal". The billionaire decides that he has to control Richards' life so he can access his life-saving blood.
When Richards rejects all of the billionaire's offers to remain with him, the billionaire has him imprisoned, but he ultimately escapes. Richards is now on the run because although the billionaire dies, he is now being pursued by one of the billionaire's former employees, Fletcher, who is now employed by another billionaire, Arthur Maitland, who also wants access to Richards' blood.
The series' dramatic tension is based on the idea that Richards would probably never lose his life if he were to live quietly, since he would never succumb to any known diseases. But his flight from Fletcher puts his life at great risk, constantly engaging in dangerous efforts to avoid capture, and his "immortal" blood did not make him immune from losing his life from trauma.
The series primarily focuses on Richards' journeys and the people he meets while trying to avoid Fletcher. A secondary plot involved Richards' search for a brother he has never known, with the implication that that brother may share his gift and thus be at risk from the billionaire as well.
The plotline of The Immortal is quite different from that of the book on which it is based. Instead, The Immortal bears more than a superficial resemblance to the then-recent, very popular TV series, The Fugitive, which still aired in syndicated reruns. That series had ended its four-season run three years beforeThe Immortal began.