The Immortal

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Post  BoG on Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:23 pm

Anyone remember.. THE IMMORTAL  Question  The Pilot made-for-TV film starred
CHRISTOPHER GEORGE,
CAROL LYNLEY, RALPH BELLAMY, JESSICA WALTER and BARRY SULLIVAN

___ The Immortal ImmortalTV5 ___ The Immortal ImmortalTV1
ABOVE: Christopher George, Don Knight, David Brian  Arrow  Chris George as Ben Richards

The Immortal pilot telefilm actually aired in late 1969; the TV series began airing in 1970 and lasted only 15 episodes. Christopher George played the title character, Ben Richards, a test car driver who is 43 years old but can pass for 30. It turns out that his blood (0 negative) contains all antibodies & immunities which result in giving him practical immortality; this prevents natural causes of death, but he can be killed by violent means, like any other person. However, some of his slight superhuman attributes were subtly revealed during the series: he does heal much faster than a normal human, is resistant to cold, doesn't get sick and has a bit more stamina than an average man.
___ The Immortal ImmortalTV3 __ The Immortal ImmortalTV6
In the pilot, Richards himself was unaware of his special nature until a doctor (Ralph Bellamy) in the employ of a sinister millionaire, Braddock (Barry Sullivan), found out after Richards donated blood to the elderly Braddock. Braddock himself figures it out after he feels MUCH better and even a bit more youthful after the blood transfusion. He ends up imprisoning Richards in secret living accomodations so that there will be a continual source of rejuvenating elixir, so to speak. This was pretty interesting; of course, if Richards stayed imprisoned, it would get kind of  boring...

I vaguely remember the pilot; not so for the TV series itself. It's too bad, as there has been no DVD release of either; but, you CAN watch the pilot on YouTube, in 8 parts:
THE IMMORTAL, Part 1

THE IMMORTAL,Part 2  Arrow  Arrow  THE IMMORTAL,Part 3  Arrow  Arrow  Arrow  THE IMMORTAL,Part 4
 THE IMMORTAL,Part 5  Arrow  Arrow  Arrow  THE IMMORTAL,Part 6  Arrow  Arrow  THE IMMORTAL,Part 7
Arrow  THE IMMORTAL,Part 8

The Immortal ImmortalTV2 The Immortal ImmortalTV4
In the TV series, actor David Brian replaced Sullivan as other creepy elderly millionaire Arthur Maitland, also after the special blood. Maitland appeared in only 2 episodes, being a sinister suggested presence for most of the series. The one doing the actual physical chasing was the mysterious Fletcher (Don Knight). This transpired to be a version of The Fugitive, downplaying any sci-fi aspects and stressing the thrill of the chase. There were no optical or other special FX, making this less a sci-fi series and also a precursor to other cost-saving series in the seventies which revolved around action, surrounding a sci-fi premise which was kept in the background mostly.

The only other motivating factor in The Immortal series was an unseen brother named Jason that Richards wanted to find - the brother may have the same type of blood and some answers. There were many behind-the-scenes problems, including rushed scripts and changes to personnel. Yet, this still has a solid rep, with good photography and the ever-changing locales.

There's no official DVD release of the series; one used to be able to obtain a version at special sites:
_________ The Immortal ImmortalTV

The concept was based on the novel The Immortals (1962) by James Gunn. In the book's plot, a drifter sells his blood to make some money; the doctors learn of his blood's special properties and the theme is how such rejuvenating blood may change society. To Gunn's chagrin, all this was jettisoned by the time the series began. The book had been a success, the pilot's ratings were strong, but not so for the series - as happens a lot in Hollywood, they managed to make a mess of it by the time of the series and it was suddenly canceled. Surprisingly, the ratings were better for the summer reruns and the network briefly considered returning it. But, fear of sci-fi doomed that notion.

This series was also a precursor to other immortal-themed properties, notably the Highlander films and series.  As I mentioned, I don't recall anything about the 15-episode series, so I don't have a personal opinion on it - I did like the pilot. The Sci-Fi Channel did air the episodes in the mid-nineties but I missed those. So, the only way for me right now to find out about the quality of the episodes is to buy that DVD set above or find something on E-Bay. I'm still considering it...
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