Friday, November 9, 2012

What Might've Been: The Amazing Spider-Man (1977)

While we're celebrating Spider-Man's 50th anniversary this year, let's take a look back at what happened when the web-spinner marked his 15th.

CBS, which already had Wonder Woman on their roster, soon added The Amazing Spider-Man & The Incredible Hulk to their primetime schedule. In fact, ol' Greenskin joined the Amazing Amazon on Friday nights, but Spidey wound up on Wednesdays. As we've seen in recent years, Wednesdays aren't exactly the best nights for superhero shows, although CW's freshman adventure series, Arrow, is hoping to change that.

The Amazing Spider-Man began with a pilot movie in 1977, but despite the primetime series berth, it wasn't kept on the schedule full-time, despite excellent ratings. A handful of episodes aired during season 2 in 1978, and the series ended with a TV-movie in the spring of '79. For a while, movie compilations of episodes were shown on cable, but that hasn't happened in a while. Nicholas Hammond, whose only other major credit was appearing in "The Sound of Music" several years earlier, was cast as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. In the pilot, David White (ex-Bewitched) was cast as J. Jonah Jameson, but was replaced by character actor Robert F. Simon in the series. None of Spider-Man's familiar enemies appeared in the series, similar to the Adventures of Superman in the 50's, but while Superman fought mostly gangsters, Spidey dealt with the usual assortment of wackjobs looking to take over the world, none of whom were worthy of appearing in the comics.

Biib Tone uploaded the season 2 open:

So what killed the show? CBS didn't want to be pigeonholed as a "superhero network". They cancelled Wonder Woman along with Spidey, but the Hulk hung around for another 3 years, centering a Friday block with Dukes of Hazzard & Dallas. For once, Hulk was living the high life better than he was in the comics. Par for the course for Spidey, don't ya think?

No rating. Never saw the show.

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