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The Amazing Spider-Man (1977 TV series)

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SpideyTitle
The Amazing Spider-Man
Genre(s): Action/Adventure

Rating:

NR
Created by: Stan Lee (Comic Book)
Steve Ditko (Comic Book)
Alvin Boretz (Writer)
Robert Janes (Writer)
Michael Michaelian (Writer)

Voices of:

Nicholas Hammond, Michael Pataki, Robert F. Simon, Ellen Bry, Chip Fields, Irene Tedrow

No. of seasons:

2

No. of episodes:

13

Running time:

60 minutes

Original run:

1977-1979

Network(s):

CBS

The Amazing Spider-Man is the first live-action TV series based on the popular comic book The Amazing Spider-Man.

It was shown in the USA between 1977-1979. It consisted of 13 episodes, which included a pilot movie in the fall of 1977; five one-hour episodes in the spring of 1978; six one hour episodes aired in the fall of 1978 and winter of 1979; and then a final two-hour episode in the summer of 1979.

Series run and criticism

The series first aired as a two-hour film known simply as "Spider-Man". In it, University student Peter Parker gains super powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider and uses his new super powers to get a job at the Daily Bugle and stop a con man who is using mind control. It is noted that in the pilot J. Jonah Jameson was played by actor David White and subsequently replaced with Robert F. Simon for the weekly series.

The Amazing Spider-Man series had solid ratings throughout its run, but CBS was leery about being labeled the "superhero network" and fans were highly critical of the series for the changes made to the comic book storyline and the lack of any real "supervillains".

To add insult to injury, Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee disliked the show, and was vocal about his dissatisfaction with it; he once said in an interview that he felt the series was "too juvenile" - a controversial statement given his credit as script consultant on each episode. Spider-Man and the Twin Towers. Despite criticism of the series as far removed from the source material, the show has so far featured the only live-action appearance of Peter Parker's spider-tracer tracking devices, which are prominently featured in several episodes throughout the series.

Cancelled

As previously mentioned, contrary to popular belief, The Amazing Spider-Man was not canceled because of low ratings. During its first season, "The Amazing Spider-Man" was a top 20 show, coming in 19th for the season. In fact, the series performed well in the ratings, but the series was expensive to produce and the CBS executives wanted to shed the network's image as "The Superhero Network," so they canceled the show, in addition to Wonder Woman. However, The Incredible Hulk remained at the network until 1982, with budget cuts, due to it having a broad demographic appeal.

Revival attempts

In the mid-1980s and early 1990s, two attempts were reportedly made to recreate an Amazing Spider-Man live-action television series. The first one would have had the original cast team-up with the cast from The Incredible Hulk television series.

This was part of a plan to have several television movies featuring the Incredible Hulk and various Marvel Comics characters (three had already been aired, the first with Thor, the second with Daredevil, while the announced She-Hulk did not appear in the third).

Reportedly, this attempt finally fell through when Bill Bixby died of cancer in 1993. A second attempt would have been an entirely new series that died in pre-production because the networks wanted to make Spider-Man into a mutant.

Trivia

  • Despite the series being set in New York, the series was actually filmed in Los Angeles.

Notes

  • Despite being produced by Columbia Pictures Television, (and the modern Spider-Man movies being produced by Columbia Pictures), none of the episodes are available on DVD but almost all of them have been released on VHS.

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