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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 658 minutes
• English & French subtitles (not so special, but I felt bad leaving this blank)
A short-lived and sorely overlooked piece of ’70s sci-fi television history gets a lackluster DVD set from Warner Bros.
Based on the characters created by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, directed by Robert Day, Alexander Singer, and Michael Preece, written by William F. Nolan, Harlan Ellison, and David Gerrold, starring Gregory Harrison, Heather Menzies, Donald Moffat, and Randy Powell.
Based on the 1976 film of the same name, Logan’s Run is set in the nuclear-ravaged world of the 23rd century inside the Domed City, where citizens are “renewed” when they turned 30. Logan, a sandman whose job it is to hunt fugitives from renewal, begins to question the system. He breaks out of the city, accompanied by his fellow rebel and love interest Jessica. Joined by an invaluable android named REM, the trio search the outside world for “Sanctuary,” a legendary place where runners can live in peace.
In 1976, Michael York’s sci-fi stunner Logan’s Run roped in a cool $25 million. The movie, based on the 1967 novel of the same name, told the tale of a 23rd century post-nuclear domed utopia in which citizens are killed at age 30 because adults sucks! Citizens are told by the mayor who is a computer that they are being “renewed” or reborn. Some dissidents of the domed city believe renewal is simply an execution (spoiler alert: it is) and they make attempts to flee for their life. These brave people are known as “Runners.” Runners flee the city in hopes of finding “Sanctuary,” a legendary location in the outside world where Runners can live in peace long after they hit 30. People known as “Sandmen” hunt down Runners and help maintain a stable population.
The financial success of the film enticed the suits at CBS to green-light a TV spin-off of the show, with Charlie’s Angels creators Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts taking the production reigns. In the film, Logan 5 (Michael Harrison) is sent by the domed city’s computer to infiltrate the Runners and destroy Sanctuary. In the TV series, Logan 5 (Gregory Harrison) decides to become a Runner after years of blasting away fugitives becomes too much for him. With the help of Jessica 6 (Heather Menzies), Logan busts out the city and sets off on a 14 episode road trip in their hover van to the mythical Sanctuary! Hover van road trip!
During the feature length pilot (co-written by Logan’s Run novelist William F. Nolan), Logan and Jessica bust out of the domed city and shack up in the desecrated Capitol Building. On their heels is Francis (Randy Powell), a sandman and former best bud of Logan. After slipping through Francis’ fingers at the Capitol Building (in their hover van!) Logan and Jess hook up with REM (Donald Moffat), an invaluable android who acts as a guide to the outside world. REM follows an Asimov-like robot law that restricts him from harming humans. Over the course of 14 episodes (three of them unaired in the west), Logan, Jess, and REM travel the scorched earth in search of Sanctuary. Along the way they encounter tyrannical scumbags, time travelers, and even a satanic cult!
Unfortunately, Logan’s Run was cancelled during its first season – leaving our heroic trio in limbo. It’s a damn shame too. During its short run, the show managed to address some intelligent ideas about time travel, human nature, and android love. In “Man Out of Time,” written by Hugo and Nebula award winning author David Gerrold, a time traveler from before the nuclear holocaust comes to Logan’s present to prevent the holocaust from happening – saving 7 billion people in the process. But preventing the nuclear holocaust means no Logan, no domed city, no future as we know it – love it or hate it. In the Harlan Ellison penned “Crypt,” Logan and co. encounter six nuclear holocaust survivors who have been cryogenically preserved for 200 years. What seems at first like a friendly, forward-thinking gang of scientists quickly turns into a Clue-like whodunnit mixed with a gut-wrenching question of survival.
There are some entertaining filler episodes – at their best presenting thrilling sci-fi action, at their worst recycling footage from previous episodes in an attempt to create a plot. But at its best, Logan’s Run is an inspired sci-fi series filled with grand ideas and dependable characters. The sets and costumes are dripping with ’70s sci-fi aesthetics – tight shirts for the dudes and short skirts for the ladies. The sets are truly fantastic, especially the hallways. There’s something about ’70s sci-fi hallways..they always look incredibly…walkable.
Logan’s Run the TV show hit the small screen the same year Star Wars hit the big screen- changing everything and yadda yadda yadda. Kids and adults packed the theaters – breaking box office records and making sci-fi the hottest ticket in the galaxy. This was a sketchy time for sci-fi television. The Six Million Dollar Man was fizzling out while nostalgic shows like Happy Days reigned. The reason? The post-Vietnam public didn’t want heady sci-fi ideas. They wanted black and white. Logan’s Run was one of the casualties of this era; doing what good sci-fi sadly does best: go unnoticed.
Sadly, Warner Bros. included no special features. The show is presented in 1.33:1 full frame, with what seems like hardly any remastering effort. Scratches pop up frequently, but not to the point of annoyance.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars