An eccentric scientific prodigy and his secretary investigate mysteries.
Reviews

Episodes

Seasons


Years



1   Unknown  
1988  

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Nightfall (1988)
Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.4/10 X  

Far across the cosmos from our world lies a planet bathed in perpetual daylight. Soon nightfall will come and bring with it tremendous destruction. Science struggles against superstition in... See full summary »

Director: Paul Mayersberg
Stars: David Birney, Sarah Douglas, Alexis Kanner
Nightfall (Video 2000)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.1/10 X  

When a distant planet's six suns slowly disappear, the population is overwhelmed with fear and superstition.

Director: Gwyneth Gibby
Stars: Jennifer Burns, Winsome Brown, Joseph Hodge
Search (1972–1973)
Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

"World Securities", an international high-tech private investigation company, employs field operatives who are aided by implanted audio receivers and who carry tiny cameras and telemetry ... See full summary »

Stars: Hugh O'Brian, Doug McClure, Anthony Franciosa
Robots (Video 1988)
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Directors: Doug Smith, Kim Takal
Stars: Valarie Pettiford, Stephen Rowe, Richard Levine
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Based on the novel by Isaac Asimov.The End of Eternity is a science fiction film with mystery and thriller elements on the subjects of time travel and social engineering.

Director: Andrei Yermash
Stars: Oleg Vavilov, Vera Sotnikova, Georgi Zhzhyonov
The Android Affair (TV Movie 1995)
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Karen Garrett, a promising young doctor, is assigned to perform a difficult operation on Teach, an advanced android who has never "blanked" (had his memory erased.) She soon realizes that ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Kletter
Stars: Harley Jane Kozak, Griffin Dunne, Ossie Davis
Out of the Unknown (1965–1971)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Features adaptations of stories by famous sci-fi authors such as Isaac Asimov, J.G. Ballard, Fredrik Pohl, John Wyndham and others.

Stars: Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Peter Copley, Geoffrey Palmer
Gandahar (1988)
Adventure | Sci-Fi | Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An evil force from a 1000 years in the future begins to destroy an idyllic paradise, where the citizens are in perfect harmony with nature.

Director: René Laloux
Stars: Glenn Close, Christopher Plummer, Pierre-Marie Escourrou
Probe (TV Movie 1972)
Crime | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

High-tech investigations company World Securities uses agents, called Probes, to solve various international cases, such as the retrieval of a famous diamond collection stolen by the Nazis during WW2.

Director: Russ Mayberry
Stars: Hugh O'Brian, Elke Sommer, Burgess Meredith
Avalon: Beyond the Abyss (TV Movie 1999)
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

An island blows up, and from its remains a black poison fills the ocean. A team of underwater specialists with high-tech gear have to stop the poison before it contaminates the earth, but ... See full summary »

Director: Philip Sgriccia
Stars: Parker Stevenson, Mehgan Heaney-Grier, Shelli Lether
Star Cops (TV Mini-Series 1987)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The adventures of the International Space Police Force, led by Nathan Spring. The Star Cops are made up of officers from all over the world, including Aussie Pal Lenzy, Russian Alexander, ... See full summary »

Stars: David Calder, Erick Ray Evans, Trevor Cooper
Formul-e Marg (TV Movie 2012)
Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Based on a book by Isac Asimov, "Formula of Death" tells the story of a deppressed university professor who finds the body of his dead student in the lab...

Director: Behdad Avand Amini
Stars: Bijan Emkanian, Toofan Mehrdadian, Rouhollah Haghgoo
Edit

Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 Austin James (7 episodes, 1988)
...
 Michelle Castle / ... (7 episodes, 1988)
...
 Howard Millhouse / ... (6 episodes, 1988)
...
 Graham McKinley (4 episodes, 1988)
Carol Weston ...
 Secretary / ... (2 episodes, 1988)
Edit

Storyline

Austin James, an eccentric scientific prodigy, and his somewhat scatterbrained secretary, Michelle Castle, investigate a variety of murders, all with a scientific basis, whether it be a locked-room mystery in a nuclear reactor, or homicides committed with holograms. Written by <scrow@chop.isca.uiowa.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Mystery | Sci-Fi

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 March 1988 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(7 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Quotes

[after her boss has another hyperactive burst of activity]
Michelle: I see now. You can't help yourself. This happens all the time. You can't stop.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Probe: Computer Logic (1988) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Austin James is no Columbo
12 June 2008 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

I remember being intrigued by this series before its premiere back in 1988. I also remember I quickly lost interest after a few episodes, although I couldn't remember why until now. Seeing this again, I can understand why I did. The show is rather like "Monk," with its eccentric, supposedly brilliant, antisocial, iconoclastic, grumpy lead character minus the OCD quirks, but still with the spunky female personal assistant and with worse writing. Austin James always sees tiny details that we the audience could not. To make it seem more intelligent, the writers peppered the scripts with scientific trivia and pseudo-scientific babble. The latter was especially embarrassing considering Isaac Asimov was listed as co-creator and scientific adviser. A supercomputer that can make neon signs explode and rupture gas lines at specific places? That has continuous speech recognition and natural language processing -- a goal that still eludes computer scientists today -- but not the much simpler speech synthesis? That can turn the dial on a cheap radio or an old TV set as if they came with motors installed on the knobs? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that most of the "science" in this show was nonsense.

Subsequent episodes were little better. The "smartest man in the world" keeps saying "nukular" and "nukulotides." He does burnouts when he has to get somewhere fast, instead of knowing that less smoking rubber means more traction and a faster start if you're not in a Top Fuel dragster. You can target a virus at a specific human by inserting that human's DNA into it??? Good grief. Some of the situations are painfully obvious and clichéd, like the hoary "videotape was substituted for live video but Austin noticed items on the tape didn't match." That was old when Mission: Impossible used to do it twenty years previous. Episodes mixed these shopworn plot devices with supposed scientific concepts but each time proved that the writers knew barely more than the names of those concepts. It was as if Asimov had no hand in the show after co-creating it.

The show seemed to rely mostly on the charisma of former "Hardy Boys" star Parker Stevenson, but that couldn't compensate for the contrived scripts. It wasn't even as good as an average Columbo episode from the original NBC run. Sometimes, information in the climax would just come out of the blue, rather than foreshadowed for the audience. The concept had promise, but was undercut by mediocre writing. But I guess scientific geniuses generally don't become television writers. What a waste. It could have been science fiction of the hardest kind, but instead turned out to be science fantasy folded into run of the mill murder mysteries.

If you want to see what TV mystery and suspense writers can really do with the science fiction genre if they really put their minds to it, watch "Earth II," the 1971 pilot movie from the writers/producers of "Mission: Impossible," or "Prototype," the 1983 TV movie from Michael Levinson & William Link, who created and wrote the classic "Columbo" and later "Murder, She Wrote." (Although inexplicably, Link served as executive story consultant for this series. I guess they took his advice only sparingly.)


3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?