- R.I.P. filmmaker Jonathan Demme, director of “Something Wild,” “Stop Making Sense” & other Night Flight faves
- Record Store Day, every day: You got it nicer at Licorice Pizza stores in the 70s and early 80s
- “TV Party”: Glenn O’Brien’s weekly late 70s public-access punk cocktail party TV show
- Zinelandia: Night Flight talks with Joe Biel about “$100 & a T-Shirt,” his documentary about zines
- In 1977, Prince appeared on “The Gong Show,” but no one has ever talked about the episode, until now
- The Wu Tang Collection: The weirdest “Ku Fung Theater”-style mostly-Asian action flicks you’ll ever see
- Bullseye! Arrow Films’ exploitation, Italian horror, spaghetti westerns, drive-in sleaze & more, now on Night Flight Plus!
- “Dynaman”: Night Flight’s popular series featured rubber monsters, good looking Japanese teens, silly jokes, and cool pop music!
- “All Dolled Up”: Night Flight’s exclusive interview with director Bob Gruen about his New York Dolls documentary
- “The Gumby Show”: America’s Favorite Clayboy is back again on Night Flight!
“Beyond Westworld”: This 1980 CBS series was a failed first attempt at bringing “Westworld” to TV
HBO’s mega-popular “Westworld“ series climaxed its first season with a mind-numbing 90-minute finale (“The Bicameral Mind”) a few weeks back, but the first time there was a TV show based on the 1973 Michael Crichton-penned movie — about a futuristic theme park populated by killer robots — it failed dramatically; only three of the five episodes produced for the mostly-forgotten 1980 CBS primetime series aired before “Beyond Westworld” was swiftly canceled.
“Beyond Westworld” — nominated for two Emmys (Outstanding Achievement In Makeup, and Outstanding Art Direction For A Series) — was actually a spinoff of both Westworld and its 1976 theatrical sequel, Futureworld.
Original writer-director Crichton wasn’t involved in the sequel’s production (which was distributed by American International Pictures instead of M-G-M, the company that produced the original film), and he also had nothing to do with the TV series either.
“Beyond Westworld” was developed and produced for television by producer Lou Shaw, the co-creator of “Quincy, M.E.,” who thought it would be better if the robots were being controlled by an evil scientist, named Simon Quaid (played by James Wainwright), who intends to use them to conquer the world or replace it with one of his own design (insert his evil mwahahaha laugh here).
In addition to having a villain, there’s a hero here too, of course — John Moore (played by Jim McMullan), Security Chief of the Delos Corporation, the company that created the killer robots seen in the films — who gets some help from fellow agent Pam Williams (played by foxy Connie Selleca, whose character was added to the show after the pilot was shot).
The five episodes that were filmed featured a pretty good list of guest stars, including Robert Alda, Rene Auberjonois, Denny Miller, Ronee Blakley, Christopher Connelly, Monte Markham, Michael Pataki and George Takei, among others.
“Beyond Westworld” began it’s run on CBS on Wednesday nights at 8pm, beginning March 5, 1980 with the pilot episode (“Westworld Destroyed”), and continued for the next two Wednesdays with two more episodes (“My Brother’s Keeper”and “Sound of Terror) before the network pulled the plug on the show, which was being crushed in the ratings by NBC’s “Real People” and ABC’s “Eight is Enough”.
The remaining two episodes remained unseen until Warner Archive released a DVD with all five “Beyond Westworld” episodes in 2014.
Recently, Adi Robertson of The Verge blog found this fun clip — with “trippy wireframe graphics and the synth remix of Westworld‘s opening theme” — that was posted to Youtube by artist and animator Tom Gosling (who goes by the screen name MessyPandas), complete with era-appropriate graphics, music, and typography.
Don’t expect the same level of quality from the 1980 CBS series, but since we’re going to have to wait until 2018 for the second season of HBO’s superior series “Westworld,” this may have to hold us for awhile.