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M.A.N.T.I.S.: The Complete Series


None February 24th, 2009

mantis

1994-1995

Before Blade, before Hancock, there was M.A.N.T.I.S.! Television's first series to star a black superhero, "M.A.N.T.I.S." was a one-season wonder for Fox, co-created by film director Sam Raimi in the same vein as his "Darkman."

A likable Carl Lumbly stars as Dr. Miles Hawkins, a brilliant scientist confined to a wheelchair ... until he suits up in the specially powered exoskeleton he has created, which operates via his mental powers, rather than his physical ones, so he can fight crime "” in his flying car, natch. Not that the crooks care, but M.A.N.T.I.S. stands for "Mechanically Augmented Neuro Transmitter Interactive System."

The feature-length pilot focuses on Hawkins' efforts to clean up the streets, while the media goes nuts over this M.A.N.T.I.S. character, not suspecting our handicapped protagonist as being capable of donning the duds. The resulting series "” 23 episodes, here on four discs "” jettisoned all the characters except Hawkins (so long, Marcia Cross; hello, Roger Rees!) and continued its urban feel.

Until midseason, when it got less gritty and more gimmicky, pitting M.A.N.T.I.S. against not gang bangers and corrupt corporate types, but spider people and a dinosaur "” yes, a dinosaur. I much prefer these later fantastic-leaning episodes, which are more fun to watch; the show's initial serious streak stifled the concept.

Image Entertainment has included nothing in the way of extras. Consider that the series is available at all a bonus in itself.

 "”Rod Lott

 
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