Manimal (TV Series 1983) Poster


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I like Manimal a whole lot
mrule318 January 2005
In a day in age where little in the way of imagination can be found in most TV shows, the lord gave us Manimal about twenty years ago, and nobody watched it. And so the lord took Manimal away from us. Now we have no Manimal, and honestly, I don't see anything to fill the void left by the cancellation of probably the single most creative show ever. Oh, why can't we be given quality television programing and appreciate it as well. If these are fighting words, I will be at Jimmy's Pub and Grill on Market St. until six, bring it on Manimal-hater!!! PS-Please lord give us back Manimal on a two disc, complete series, DVD special edition. Please...
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Not to be confused with "Garanimals."
Is there, in the whole English language, a better word than "Manimal"? I think not. And should you be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this show, you'll never be the same again.

Putting the "high" in "high concept," Glen Larson's crime-fighting shape-shifter was a man who could turn into ANY ANIMAL. Any animal at all. As long as that animal is a panther. OK, in a pinch, he can do a hawk, but can we stick with the panther please? It's not so much that special effects technology didn't exist in 1983, it's just that network TV could not afford them. Production costs were high for all that Manimalization, and when low ratings did not quickly morph into Neilsen success, Manimal was hastily euthanized.

Simon MacCorkindale does fine work as the Manimal, but to modern eyes this show plays more like an extended Saturday Night Live skit, when the promise of a man who can be any animal turns into the reality of a guy being swapped out for the same piece of stock panther transformation footage week after week. Still, I sincerely hope Manimal is reissued, because for all its faults, it's a priceless slice of ridiculous 80s fun.
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Maybe I was young and an animal lover
Bill C.10 January 2006
OK I'd have to see these again as an adult to give a better opinion. But the show lasted only a few episodes. The special effects were cool , but they did have to reuse some footage. I'm not sure if it was budget or time. Those change sequences must have been a pain to do. And using latex I think is better than CG even though you can do a lot more with CG

From what I remember I liked the show, but it might have been just the fact that a guy could turn into any animal he wanted (although he only got to do a few of of them). That would capture the imagination of any 8 year old. I remember wishing I could do that!
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Pretty Good Larson effort.
Nick Zbu2 May 2004
A lot of people rag on Manimal for the premise but compared to all the other efforts at the same time (Automan, Knight Rider, Street Hawk, etc)it was better than the rest by a fair margin. A crimefighter fighting against the bad guys using a special skill (first line in the Glen Larson template)--in this case shapeshifting anthropomorph--destroys crime. Yeah, it's more of the usual but always interesting on some level. Simon MacCorkindale gives it a bit more energy as a regal sort and the show's worth watching on a purely fun level.

Even more interesting that Manimal was brought back to life fifteen years later in yet another Larson effort, NightMan. Still, a fantastic show to enjoy and sadly short-lived.
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Wicked Show!
adsum_obiit8 August 2002
Yeah Dave, I definitely agree with you. I was just watching something on TV and saw the guy from Manimal and had to do a search on it. Not many of my friends remember it so when I saw your post I had to reply. Manimal was a fantastic series and I think someone should petition for a remake, lol.
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Great show.
bccscoot4 October 2000
I loved this show. It was so fascinating for me when I was a kid. I loved animals, and thought it would be beyond cool to be able to change into one. I wish a movie studio would pick up the concept and do a feature film on it. But, it is apparent that the rest of the world did not agree with me, since it didn't last a full season. But, it still goes down in history as one of the coolest shows ever.
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Really miss this show
SteveM-117 March 2007
I remember when this show came on and I thought it was the greatest thing. Yes, some of it seemed very hokey, but it was a lot of fun.

After growing up a bit and seeing it again on Sci-Fi, I can see in some ways why it didn't continue. I think the biggest flaw was that the story writers didn't take advantage of the Man into Animal aspect. They stuck the main character basically with routine Cops and Robbers plots. Most (if not all) of the story lines could be transplanted to any other Police / Crime show and be solved by an ordinary person with no animal powers. Sure, there were some instances where Dr. Chase would find himself in a predicament where only changing into an animal would save him (like falling out of a plane and changing into a hawk), but for the most part the cases were pretty mediocre.

Another problem was leaving Dr. Chase's past too enigmatic. I'm sure it was meant to add to the mystery, but most people just had no idea where this character came from or why he could do what he could do. There was the cryptic opening sequence where the young Jonathan Chase is standing by his dying father's bedside, but no other explanation is ever given about him. Knowing almost nothing about the character, you couldn't really develop too much sympathy for him. They also never delved into any complications that may come with being able to turn into any animal. Did he have their instincts as well? Did he have any limitations? Could he transform into Fish, Amphibians or Insects, or just air breathing animals? He did transform into a reptile once (python), but the rest were warm blooded air breathers like mammals and birds.

I watched on Sci-Fi Channel when they had interviews with Stan Winston, the creator of the Transformation sequences. I could see with the TV show budget, they could only do two or three sequences (Panther and Hawk were the main ones, but the Python was one exception and used only once), but those sequences were great. All done with prosthetic make-up and mechanical effects and all done in real time. Pretty impressive for the day. If the series had been produced today, it would have been much easier to do a multitude of sequences and most likely done with CGI Morphing. Once, the Dr. Chase / Manimal character made a guest appearance on "Night Man", but we were robbed because the transformation sequences were reduced to an instantaneous transformation with a flash of light. What's up with that??

Like I said, this series is greatly missed and I hope that someday the entire series comes out on DVD. I will certainly be first in line to buy it.
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Panther and Hawk? Anyone remember the pilot?
Mitaka23 September 2002
First off, I loved this series as a kid! I wish they would have continued with it. But, then again, this was the era where networks were keeping the garbage and chucking the stuff with some potential.

Second, if anyone remembers the pilot to this show, his girlfriend (I THINK that was here relationship. It HAS been almost 20 years!) found out about his abilities when he turned into a cobra to pull her out of some quicksand. I also recall him becoming a mule to kick open a locked door so he and his friend could escape. Sure, the panther and hawk were used the most, but they did make him more versatile than that.
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I was nine ... and *loved* it.
tomtomwww23 November 2002
Panther and hawk only?? Don't be silly. I think I got a jumpstart into puberty when he turned into a kitten and nuzzled up against some beautiful woman under her bathrobe.

Granted, it was no "Misfits of Science", but still, quality television all the way! (At least for a nine-year-old ...)
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Great show
dave-2969 November 1998
I used to love this show when I was a kid - I wish it lasted more than 8 episodes. The sci-fi tech was fantastic for that age. Anyone else agree?
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I Finally Got Manimal on DVD
peterninja200016 November 2004

well like many postes here, i also spoke about this TV show when friends are around talking about the 80s TV. Very few remember Manimal but the fact that some do is really something.

it only ran for 8 EPs and that Includes the pilot. and I'm talking from London England, so some TV people here payed money to air it here. like i say it ran for Just 8 eps and we still remember it to this day so i must have made some sort ot impact. Shame there wasn't more.

well i looked into it and it was never released on DVD so god knows where this came from. ahhhh memory's

all i need now is Auto-Man, StreetHawk on DVD
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Daianeira21 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I was 7 when this show was out and myself and other friends of mine still remember watching this. He was a new super hero to me that was right up there with the Hulk and Wonder Woman shows. I would love to see the old episodes come onto DVD because my son is now 7 and I think he would love the show as much as I did and I would love to be able to share it with him. Up until I was in my teens my favorite animal was a black panther, that's how much I loved that show. I think the show needed another chance, they should have kept it on and maybe I don't know change the day or time of the week they maybe should have played with it a little before canceling it, most people I talk to never heard of it and if it was something people hated they would have remembered it so it is more likely they never saw it and if so many people never saw it, maybe if they would have it may have been more of a hit.
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Ben Affleck...Brittany Murphy...Mekhi Phifer..."Manimal." Coming when hell freezes over to a theatre near you.
Victor Field20 January 2003
Short-lived and watchable (well, it was when I was a teen) but pretty embarrassing to remember, Glen A. Larson and Donald R. Boyle's "Manimal" cast Simon MacCorkindale as a criminologist with the ability to tranform into any animal he chose; his assistant and his girlfriend were the only ones who knew, and if only more people - as in viewers - had known, it might have gone to a full season.

Due to a) budgetary concerns and b) this being before morphing, viewers only ever saw him change into THREE animals - usually a panther or a hawk (both realised quite well by Stan Winston), but for the episode "Scrimshaw" we saw him turn into a snake to rescue Brooke (the show's token female) from a sinkhole. This repetition and the need to hide other changes as a result (in the show where he became a horse we had to make do with sound effects) must have bored viewers, though the actual scripts can't have helped... safe to say we won't be seeing a movie version of this one.

This is, however, not as painful to watch as some of Glen Larson's other shows after leaving Universal. Or would you really rather see "NightMan" than this? Thought not.
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Great Viewing During a Cable Outage
MCL115019 October 2006
I have a habit of archiving short lived TV series that will probably never be seen again. One of them was "Manimal". I finally pulled it out and watched the lone episode I had saved for posterity. My cable was out and I was running my VCR on a small generator and decided to dip into my collection. The episode was titled "Illusion" and centered around a Seigfried & Roy like duo and a murder supposedly committed by their prized tiger. All in all, certainly not the greatest TV show ever but it was kind of fun watching a "B" show from the early 1980's. When I taped this 23 years ago it was a completely unwatchable show. After 23 years of aging though and, along with the original commercials and NBC promos for other series, I found it fascinating. A real time capsule. I'm glad I finally watched it, but it'll most likely be another 23 years before I might watch it again. I HATE reruns!
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gives a whole new meaning to 'bringing out the animal inside you'
augustus-823 November 1999
Like the previous two commentators,I remember watching this series when I was a kid and I absolutely enjoyed it.Glen Larson who I understand was the exec producer of this show also the driving force behind Knight Rider and also went ballistic with Automan and perhaps other sitcoms with unusual style of fighting crime. Getting back to the show,the casting was perfect esp Simon McCorkindale as the charming,slick Prof JC who at least is in control of his metamorphosis unlike the Incredible Hulk where Bill Bixby transforms in a green troll even if he stubs his toe on the coffee table!The plots were mildly intriguing.Sure it was cheesy and sometimes downright ridiculous but hey it was the 80's,what do expect in retrospect?I can think of worse shows that hit the jackpot.Also what was irritating was the requisite chemistry between prof and his pretty police associate.But whats important is that they are not trying to redo Kafka!This was a lot of fun and did not deserve to die so quickly.
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Pretty Good (from what I remember)
jasonm-37 September 1999
I remember watching this show as a kid late Friday night. I absolutely loved it.

The coolest part was when Jonathan Chase started transforming into an animal - the veins in his hands would swell up as if his andrenaline was going through the roof.

I am sure if I watched it today I would think it was cheesy though..
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Enjoyed this show about a shape shifting man when I was a kid.
Aaron137520 July 2010
I am not going to score this show, as it has been forever since I have seen this one. I can say that I enjoyed it when I was a kid as did most of the kids I went to school with. Of course, it was canceled rather quickly leading me to believe it was a CBS show and they being one of the less intelligent networks ever. It is the network that purged all the farm shows of the 60's because they did not want to be known as the country type show network, and again had a purge in the 70's with he superhero shows they did not want to be associated with. Both blocks were highly successful, drawing younger viewers a block that any network would love to have these days. This one had a bit of a superhero type feel to it as it featured a man who could change into just about any animal (I think he even turned into a shark) to get he and his friends out of terrible jams. Like most shows that run an hour and are focused on action though, it did have a relatively short run on television. Even the really successful hour long action shows never made it to 100 episodes like A-Team. Still this one had us imitated it at school and such. It was fun to watch back then, though my guess is, if I watched it now it would be quite terrible.
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Abysmal TV Series, thankfully cancelled after a few episodes!
ShaneofPg1 August 2002
Manimal was absolute rubbish! It should have been called "MINIMAL!" because he only ever changed into a panther or a hawk! Simon McCorkindale is not a bad actor so why did he agree to star in this sad show (money perhaps?!)? A very bad show with absolutely nothing going for it-watching paint dry on a wall is more exciting than this!
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Good show (for the '80's)
Riker-312 August 2002
Hey, I liked the show too !! I do agree the theme of "any animal" was FAR fetched unless you can only count to two. BUT, the idea was great. I guess the budget couldn't account for more effects but if it was done NOW, I know it would be MUCH better. Who knows, since TV and Movies are reaching in the past to make movies (cartoons, old series, and even old movies) they just might do some dust cleaning and stumble upon some old reels and read the faded writing and make out the words "Manimal" and then go "Hey !! I remember this now !! Hey Charlie, take a look at what I found .....".
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Matt-33712 February 2000
everyone thinks i'm crazy when i talk about this show, because they don't remember it and they think i am delusional. but now i have proof! i used to love this show when i was 3... i really do remember it. -mm
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What were the executives at NBC in the 80's were thinking?
raysond19 October 2002
What mindconcept NBC executives were thinking? This wasn't the worst of several pathetical shows that were shown on the network. I can think of several that was made during the 1980's("Here's Boomer!","Father Murphy","Hello Larry","Voyagers","The Raymond Burr Show","The Master","She's The Sheriff","Casablanca" and etc.)but this one takes the cake as being one of the worst shows ever made. The concept was so silly that it went off the air after 8 episodes(count em' eight!). Come on here? There was one episode where our hero(Professor Chase played by Simon MacCorkindale who discovers the secrets that divide man from animal which he can changed into a beastly figure to fight evil doers)that was shown recently on the Sci-Fi channel where he changes into a venomous cobra to save a damsel from great danger.
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Manimal: R.I.P. (Thankfully...)
Paul Affleck5 March 2006
Sure, at age 8, I enjoyed this show. Thankfully, I managed, even at such a tender age, to escape any permanent damage to my aesthetic sensibilities despite my viewing of this first-class bone-yard turd of a "show". That I thought it pleasant viewing at the time just proves the clear-headedness of not allowing mere children to make important decisions. Would you REALLY trust a person who laid claim to Manimal as decent viewing material? If you would, I recommend to your kin that they seek your immediate involuntary committal to hospital, under your jurisdiction's relevant mental health legislation.

And I recommend an alternative ending to this misguided piece of tripe. The learned Professor, during one misguided hawkish fly-by of some crime-infested borough, mistakenly flies over a licensed hunting ground, and is unceremoniously felled by one thankfully eagle-eyed hunter. Forthwith, Benji, who due to his long-unemployed status is doubling as a hunting pooch, proceeds to de-feather and ingest the hapless hawk before he can morph back to a creature better able to defend himself.

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Holy Heck did this suck!
kal_el9127029 September 2001
NBC, I want those 60 minutes of my life back. What was I thinking? I was 12, so I my only excuse was that I wasn't thinking when I decided to watch the pilot for this steaming pile of drek. Simon McCorkindale as a guy who can morph himself into any animal he chooses? Sounded intriguing, except that they could only afford to show him as two different animals(typically a panther or a hawk) and only once or twice an episode at that. The rest of this boner is just soap opera schlock and not even well written schlock to boot. This has earned a place in television history as one of the worst shows ever and by all means that is a distinction that is well-deserved.
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Intriguing, but highly disturbing
jr-gary20 January 2015
he series featured the story of Dr. Jonathan Chase, a shape-shifter who could turn himself into any animal he chose, and used this ability to help fight crime. Only two people were aware of Jonathan's secret, his friend Ty Earl and Police Detective Brooke Mackenzie. Jonathan and Ty would assist Brooke with a case she was working on, with Jonathan transforming himself into an animal when it became useful. Manimal is not well regarded by most TV reviewers. John Javna's book The Best of Science Fiction TV included Manimal in its list of the "Worst Science Fiction Shows of All Time", along with Space: 1999, Lost in Space, Buck Rogers in the 25 Century, and The Starlost.[3] TV Guide also ranked Manimal number 15 on their list of the 50 Worst TV Shows of All Time in 2002. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Fantasy described Manimal thus: "Axed after seven regular episodes, the only surprise being that it ever got past the pilot stage".
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