Thursday, January 7, 2016

What Might've Been: Black Scorpion (2001)

More than 20 years ago, maverick filmmaker Roger Corman, who'd been contracted by the pay-cable network Showtime to revive the B-movie, "The Wasp Woman", among others, jumped into the superhero business.

Black Scorpion appeared in 2 movies on Showtime, both starring Joan Severance in the title role. Nothing came of it, right? Wrong.

Four years later, the Scorpion, now played by Michelle Lintel, returned, moving to basic cable, with a weekly series airing on the Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy).

Scorpion operates out of Angel City, whose mayor (Robert Pine, ex-CHiPs) is corrupt, and had a hand in creating the various villains that plague the city. Detective Darcy Walker (Lintel) carries a badge by day, but at night, aided by some high tech gadgets, morphs into Black Scorpion. Corman, I think, had Batman in mind when developing the series, so much so that he was able to get Adam West to play a villain, Breathtaker, who appeared in three episodes. Likewise, Emmy winner Frank Gorshin joined the fun. Funny thing was, West & Gorshin's initial episodes appeared on back-to-back weeks! The series ended with a 2-part finale with many of the villains assembled under a screwball ex-psychic played by, of all people, Soupy Sales!

Ah, but Black Scorpion was not for kids, unlike Batman. In the opener, "Armed & Dangerous", Scorpion must also evade capture by a cop obsessed with exposing her true identity. Scott Valentine (ex-Family Ties) co-stars.

Black Scorpion tried to meld together the camp comedy-adventure of Batman with the harder crime drama of Green Hornet. Maybe Corman was paying homage to William Dozier or something?

Rating: C.

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